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Basilica Of Our Lady Of Graces

Among the list of the churches dedicated to Virgin Mary, Basilica of Our Lady of Graces holds equivalent significance. Begam Samru, a Muslim lady built this church. She was married to Walter Reinhardt Sombre, a European mercenary soldier. In 1781, Samru got converted to Roman Catholicism and acquired the name, Joanna Nobilis. She is looked up onto as the only Catholic ruler in India ruling the Principality of Sardhana in 18th and 19th century. In the entire North Indian province, Basilica of Our Lady of Graces is the largest church and has gained the honor of being known as the Basilica.


After the death of Begam Samru’s husband, she inherited the Jagir of Sardhana in 1778 following which, she decided to elevate a church at Sardhana in the dedication of Virgin Mary. The total expenditure that was disbursed on the church’s construction amounted to 4 lakh rupees,during that period. All the top-notch masons were waged at the equivalent of 25 p. per day while the laborers were paid shells. There are present two massive lakes near the church, which are a result of mud removal during the time of supply of building material to the Basilica. Often, two dates are understood as the church’s initiation- 1809 presented by the noted historian, Mr. K. M. Munshi and the other 1820 presented by Fr. Keegan while he carefully studied the Begum. Most of the people are inclined to follow the former date; the reason of which is a Latin inscription over the prime door of the church putting its dedication in 1822.


The Church is has its base clinging upon St. Peter's Basilica in Rome and has a touch of Palladio and few Indian architectural influences. Antinio Reghellini was the architect of the church. He hailed from Vicenza, Italy. The altar and its surrounding are made up of marble set with colored stones. Majority of the remaining interior is also made up in marble, and all of it is of the ultimate craftsmanship. The interior sees its illumination from an octagon set present in the dome. From here, the sun rays stream inside. Basilica’s main Altar, Reghellini finished the church in 11 years. The use of a Greek colonnaded veranda, semi precious stone work, an elevated altar with a stained glass dome and the two spires and three Roman domes add into the building's grandeur. A majestic 18 feet tall edifice is present over the Begum's tomb near the sanctuary. It was carved by Adamo Tadolini, an Italian sculptor and was shipped from Italy to Kolkata by boats and bullock carts. It depicts Begum Sumru on the throne, smoking a hookah with Indians and Europeans in audience. It also depicts her with a scroll from the great Emperor Shah Alam II bestowing upon her fiefdom of Sardhana post her husband's death, David Dyce Sombre, her adopted son and Rae Singh, her diwan who was Motilal Nehru’s great-grandfather.

How to Reach

By Air

Dr. Bheem Rao Ambedkar Domestic Airport, Meerut is just 33kms away from Sardhana.

By Rail

Approx 15kms away from Daurala Railway Station

By Road

Buses run after every half an hour Daurala Bus Station to Sardhana. The Meerut-Sardhana route, which is almost 22kms, has bus services after every hour.

By Self-Transport

Basilica of our Lady Graces located in Sardhana, Meerut could easily be reachd by private cabs or own vehicle. There are many options for tourists at affordable fares.


Travelers can have loads of experiences with hoards of exciting things to do in Sardhana. The joy of exploring the Basilica of our Lady of Graces is boundless and most of the tourists visiting Meerut  pay homage here.  With variety of options for where to stay, weather and what to eat in Sardhana, this place is seldom deserted.

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