Salesian Publications :

The Cross on the Roof


About the Book

When did the Catholic Missionaries first come to Nepal? Who were they? What has happened to the Christian communities they built up? Why were the missionaries of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries so passionate to take the Gospel to Tibet? These and other questions are often asked about the Catholic faith in Nepal and Tibet, but seldom do we come across answers.

It may come as a surprise to many that the Christian missionaries had reached Tibet and Nepal long before Christian faith was preached in north and north eastern India.

The Mission in Tibet was established in 1703 by a Decree of the Propaganda Fide. As many as forty-nine Capuchin missionaries were sent out to the Tibetan Mission in ten different expeditions between 1704 and 1745. They were welcomed by the highest authorities of the land and people including the Dalai Lama held debates with the missionaries on religion. They even built a Church on the outskirts of Lhasa in 1726 dedicated to the Assumption of Our Lady. The Mission in Nepal was started as a stepping stone to Tibet. Between 1716 and 1769 twenty-nine missionaries laboured in four mission centers in Nepal, Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, Patan and Navakot. They too were welcomed by the Rajas and were given houses to stay and freedom to preach the Christian Law in their kingdoms.

Prior to the arrival of the Capuchins to Tibet, the Jesuits had tried more than once to enter Tibet. The exploration of Tibet and the origins of Tibetan Mission are linked with the ‘Jesuit Legation’ at the court of the Great Mughal, Akbar the Great.

‘The Cross on the Roof’ is a humble effort to revisit these forgotten pages of Church history and keep alive the memory of the pioneer missionaries and their persevering attempts to reach and preach the Christian faith on the ‘The Roof of the world.’

About the Author

George Thirumalachalil is a Catholic Priest since 1982. He was Professor of History in Salesian College Sonada, Darjeeling for over fifteen years. He has pioneered a number of mission stations in Sikkim and Nepal. He is the author of Raindrops on the Young Green and has contributed a number of articles for Catechetical Journals. Currently he is Rector of Nepal Don Bosco School, Kathmandu.






George Thirumalachalil








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Salesian College, Sonada was accredited by NAAC on 16 September 2004 and was given the Grade C++ (Institutional Score between 65-70%). On 26 February 2010 Salesian College has been conferred the status of a College with Potential for Excellence (CPE) by UGC, New Delhi, and into its 2nd Cycle from 1st April 2014. In March 2012, the College was re-accredited by NAAC with ‘A’ Grade (CGPA of 3.16 out of 4) to be the first College to receive such grade under the University of North Bengal.

The College retained its A Grade under the New stringent Format of Accreditation in May 2019 and it is valid till 2024.

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