Brief History:

  • Freemasonry traces its origin from King Solomon’s time, but its real origin is lost in antiquity.
  • Freemasonry in its present for originated in England in 1717; it came to India in 1729 at Calcutta
  • Freemasonry exists in over 190 countries in the World
  • There are over 5 million Freemasons in the world; in India we have about 20,000 freemasons
  • There are 362 Lodges in 140 locations all over India, which are the basic units for membership.
  • Prominent Indian Freemasons include : Swami Vivekananda, Moti Lal Nehra, C.Rajagopalachary, Fakhrudhin Ali Ahmed, Actor Ashok Kumar, Madhav Rao Scindhia, Nawab Khan Pataudi etc…

Freemasonry encourages:

  • Charity as the predominant Characteristic of every Freemason’s heart
  • The moral virtues of Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence and Justice
  • Extending the hand of fellowship and providing relief to those in distress

Freemasonry is:

  • Not a religion; it teaches secularism and respect and tolerance for all religions and a belief in a Supreme Being, without reference to any religion
  • Not a Political Party or organisation
  • Not a secret society; however, the mode of recognition amongst Freemasons, are kept secret, like the Passwords etc. prevalent among internet and credit card users, to prevent fraud and misue
  • Not a social club; its membership consists of a cross section of society drawn from all walks of life, who meet on an equal footing; it also involves family members on social occasions

How to Join Freemasonry:

  • Freemasonry does not solicit or canvass for membership
  • Those above 21 years of age and who believe in God, as a Supreme Being can join
  • One has to be proposed and seconded by a Freemason

What is Freemasonry ?

Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest secular fraternal societies. It is a world-wide organisation based on the principle of the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of man. It is a society of men concerned with moral and spiritual values. Its members are taught its precepts by series of ritual which follow ancient forms and use stone masons’ customs and tools and allegorical guides. It seeks to make good men better and there by make the world a better place in which to live.Freemasonry has been in existence in the present form for nearly 280 years in the world and for over 250 years in India. There are more than 150 Grand Lodges functioning all over the world. The Grand Lodge of India was consecrated as a Sovereign Grand Lodge with full Masonic jurisdiction over the territories of the Republic of India in November 1961. The primary unit organisation of Freemasonry is a Lodge. We have as of now 320 Lodges and over 200 other Masonic bodies located in different parts of the country with a total membership of about 15,000 Freemasons.Masonic organisations throughout the world are engaged in many philanthropic and charitable projects. In India too the Masonic Fraternity is involved in several charitable projects, all over the country. The General Williams Masonic Polyclinic and a Masonic Public School in Delhi, as also a Masonic Medical care center for children in Coimbatore, the adoption of an entire village located in backward area, for all round development in Health, Sanitation, Education & Housing in Visakhapatnam Distt. & Construction of Sheds for cyclone victims in Andhra Pradesh, many Scholarships and Bursaries awarded to deserving students, helping institutions for the handicapped and the aged and holding of periodical Blood donation camps, Eye camps and other Health Camps etc., are examples of some of the socially relevant activities of Masonic organisations all over the country.Freemasonry is best explained through answers to some specific questions as ndicated below:–

What is the object of Masonry?

Motto of Freemasonry is Brotherly Love, Relief & Truth.

  • Freemasonry seeks to make good men better. It encourages the practice of the moral virtues of Temperance, Fortitude, prudence and Justice.
  • It inculcates obedience to God & observance of the Laws of the country.
  • It is committed to extend the hand of fellowship & provide Relief to those in distress.

What Freemasonry is not?

It is not a Religion However, it emphasises secularism by teaching respect for and tolerance towards all religions.

It is not a political party or organisation.

It reminds them of the filial affection one should always have for the Land of their birth, to remain loyal to the laws of the land which, for the time being, may be the place of their residence, or afford them protection.

It is not a secret society

  • There is nothing secret or secretive about Freemasonry. Freemasonry does not conceal the time and place of its meeting nor does a member hide the fact of his membership.
  • Like many other Societies it regards some of its internal affairs as private matters of concern only for its members.
  • There is no secret about its aims & principles. Copies of its Constitutions and Rules can be obtained by interested members of the public from its offices.

It is not a social club

However, it provides the means of socialising among its members, which consists of a cross section of society drawn from all walks of life who meet on an equal · footing. It also involves the families of members on such social occasions.

How does Masonry get its membership?

Freemasonry does not canvass for members. The person must seek for membership of a Masonic Lodge of his own free will and accord. He would however, be provided all information he wishes to know.

Who is eligible to become a Mason?

No atheist can become a Mason. Anyone who is of good moral character and believes in the existence of Almighty God and a belief in the Supreme Being, no matter by what name He is called, or what faith the person professes, is eligible.What does Freemasonry expect from one who joins it?

  • There is nothing secret or secretive about Freemasonry. Freemasonry does not conceal the time and place of its meeting nor does a member hide the fact of his membership.
  • He must understand and appreciate its high ideals and objectives and put to actual practice its motto of “Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth”.
  • Patriotism & Loyalty to one’s own country and the Fraternity at all times is a bounden duty.
  • It expects that a Freemason should do unto others, as he would wish others would do unto him.
  • Charity is the predominant characteristic of a Freemason’s heart. He is always expected to “give” to Freemasonry rather than expect to “receive” anything from it for personal benefit.
  • That he will practice outside the Lodge those duties & virtues that he is taught inside the Lodge.

Freemasonry Teaches

  • Kindness in the home,
  • love for one another,
  • courtesy in society,
  • resistance towards evil,
  • help for the weak,
  • pity and concern for the unfortunate,
  • forgiveness for the penitent,
  • fairness in work,
  • honesty in business,

and above all, reverence and love for God. In fact Freemasonry is a Way of Life

Indian Order of Freemasons

The Indian Order of Freemasons has, as its head, its Grand Master, who is elected for a term of three years. M.W. Bro. Maj. Gen. Dr. Sir Syed Raza Ali Khan, the Nawab of Rampur, was the first Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of India: The present Grand Master who-is 13th on the line since the time the Grand Lodge of India was formed is M.Wor Bro Justice Devinder Gupta., O.S.M. Some of the prominent Indians who have been Freemasons are Swami Vivekananda, Shri C. Rajagopalachari, Shri Moti Lal Nehru, Shri Fakhuridin Ali Ahmed, as also several serving and retired judges of Supreme Court and High Courts, serving and retired Defence Personnel and Civilian Officers besides many Industrialists, Business men, Business Executives and other Professionals.

Applications for membership

There is no canvassing of membership. Candidates for membership are expected to dome of their own free will and accord. Whatever information is required will be furnished. Applications duly proposed and Second by members are entertained by the Lodges and are scrutinised and balloted in the Lodge. Thereafter, the candidates are initiated into Freemasonry according to ancient custom and receive various degree. Regional and Grand Lodge ranks are conferred on their attaining sufficient proficiency, based on merit and seniority.

  • The Clock of Life
  • The clock of life is wound but once,
  • And no man has the power
  • To know just when the hands will stop,
  • At late or early hour,
  • Now is the only time you have,
  • Live, love and toil with a will,
  • Put no faith’ in tomorrow,
  • For the clock may then he still.



In 1717 A.D. when an era of comparative peace and harmony dawned on the European scene, the United Grand Lodge of England and Scotland took shape at a meeting of the local Lodges of London, to elect a Grand Master. A United constitution was drawn up and recognized by all the Lodges. A democratic tradition in the election of the Worshipful Master of a Lodge was prescribed. The Worshipful Master was authorized to appoint his team of officers. It is therefore of interest that within 12 years of the constitution of the Grand Lodge of England, constituted for the purpose of exercising supervision over the lodges in London, and its neighbouring areas, a petition was sent by a few Brethren in India to constitute a Provincial Grand Lodge in Calcutta. The Petition having been granted, a Provincial Grand Master was appointed to supervise Masonic activity in India and the Far East in 1728 A.D. Full details regarding how the First Lodge was constituted in India, are preserved in the Minutes of the Grand Lodge in London. First a petition was presented on December 28, 1728 and at the end of the minutes of that meeting, the text of the “Deputation” from the Grand Master: “to Empower and Authorize our well beloved Brother Pomfret…. that he do, in our place and stead, constitute a regular Lodge, in due form at Fort William in Bengal in the East Indies….” This was signed and sealed “the 6th day of February 1728/9 and in the year of Masonry 5732 (which shows that Grand Lodge used Usher’s Chronology in dating the Masonic era – as the Grand Lodge of Scotland still do).

The Lodge at Fort William — that is, Calcutta — appears in the Engraved List of 1730, as No. 72. It was to meet at Fort William in Calcutta. The coat of Arms was adopted from the East India Company a golden lion, rampant guardant, supporting between the forepaws a regal crown. In 1729, Captain Ralph Farwinter was appointed “Provisional Grand Master for East India in Bengal” and also James Dawson as “Provincial Grand Master” for East Indies.

The Provincial Grand Lodge of Madras was formed in 1752 and The Provincial Grand Lodge of Bombay was created in 1758. Although it appeared in the Roll of Grand Lodge there is no record of how it came into being.

The Lodge at Fort William — that is, Calcutta — appears in the Engraved List of 1730, as No. 72. It was to meet at Fort William in Calcutta. The coat of Arms was adopted from the East India Company a golden lion, rampant guardant, supporting between the forepaws a regal crown. In 1729, Captain Ralph Farwinter was appointed “Provisional Grand Master for East India in Bengal” and also James Dawson as “Provincial Grand Master” for East Indies.

The first Indian Mason was Omdat-ul-Omrah, Nawab Carnatic initiated in 1775. The doors to Hindu Masonry was flung wide-open might one say, by the unstoppable determination of one Mr. P.C. Dutt of Calcutta to become a member of the craft. After much opposition from the Provincial Grand Master (Hugh Sanderman) and nine years after he was proposed for initiation Mr. Dutt became Bro. Dutt in Anchor and Hope, No. 234, in 1872. Twenty-three years later, he was Deputy District Grand Master.

It was towards the end of October 1959 that the Most W. Grand Masters of England, Ireland and the Immediate Past Grand Master Mason of Scotland met in London to discuss the future of Freemasonry in India. The three Grand Masters considered that “an independent Grand Lodge of India is desirable and that its establishment should be gradually but actively pursued.” A representative Steering Committee was set up consisting exclusively of Indian Brethren in proportion to the number of Lodges under each of the three Constitutions, with R.W. Bro Lt. Gen. Sir Harold Williams, K.B.E., C.B., as Chairman, with the aim of establishing an independent Grand Lodge of India on the best possible foundations. The Steering Committee met at important centres of Masonic activities in the North, East, South and West of India and its report was unanimously signed early October 1960. On December 1, the three Grand Masters issued “Notes on the proposed Grand Lodge of India for the information and guidance of Lodges in India.” Therein they reiterated their declared attitude towards an independent Grand Lodge of India, but left it to Lodges in India to decide whether to opt for or against joining such a body, adding that if the Brethren in India decided in favour of an independent Grand Lodge, they would accept the decision and establish with it the closest fraternal relations and that Lodges not wishing to participate would continue to enjoy the existing rights under their respective Grand Lodges. Out of a total of 277 individual Lodges in India (excluding Pakistan, Ceylon and Aden, which were excluded for the poll) 145 opted for the new Grand Lodge of India. This represented a little over 52 per cent.

The Grand Lodge of India was officially constituted at ten minutes to six o’clock on Friday the 24th November 1961 in the Ashoka Hotel, New Delhi. There were three delegations from the Grand Lodge of Scotland, Ireland and England in that order.

After the three delegations were received and greeted, the Grand Master Mason of Scotland proceeded with the Consecration. Thereafter, The Deputy Grand Master of Ireland officially constituted the new Grand Lodge saying “in the name of the Grand Lodges of England, Ireland and Scotland and by the command of their Grand Master, I constitute and form you, my good Brethren into the Sovereign Grand Lodge of India, you are empowered henceforth to exercise all the rights and privileges of a Grand Lodge according to the ancient usages and landmarks of the Craft. May the Grand Architect of the Universe prosper, direct and counsel you in all your proceedings.”

After the Consecration and Constitution, the Deputy Grand Master of England assumed the Throne and installed Major General Dr. Sir Syed Raza Ali Khan, G.C.I.E., D.Litt. LL.D., His Highness The Nawab of Rampur, as the first Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of India. The Aprons, Collars, Gauntlets etc. for the new Lodge were provided jointly by the three parent Grand Lodges.

In addition to the three parent Grand Lodges the M.W. Grand Master of the Grand Lodges of the State of Israel, the M.W. Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Alberta (Canada) and about 1,491 Brethren from all over India were present at this historic event.


Q). When did Freemasonry come to India?

A). The honor of receiving Freemasonry in India goes to Calcutta. In 1730 officers of the East Indian Company held their meetings in Fort William, Calcutta. The number given to the Lodge was 72.

Q). What was the first Lodge in Madras?

A). No. 222 EC, in 1752, and it does not appear to have received a name.

Q). What was the first Lodge in Bombay?

A). Bombay Lodge No. 234 EC in 1758.

Q). What was the first Lodge in Punjab?

A). Lodge No. 489 EC, in 1786.

Q). What effect did the existence of two competing Grand Lodges in England [Ancients and Moderns] have on Freemasonry in India?

A). In as much as numerous Lodges had been constituted in India by the Moderns while others had come into existence Ancient auspices, quite naturally much of the Ritualistic differences established themselves into the respective Lodges. This situation was complicated somewhat by the fact that there were also Lodges in India of Irish & Scottish origins. However, it was in India, where both the warring groups joined together in harmony long before the formation of the Union of England. In 1785, the Atholl Lodge at Madras surrounded its powers and accepted the United Provincial Grand Lodge. The old Atholl Lodge was recorded as lodge of Perfect Unanimity [later numbered as No. 150]. Madras had thus stolen a march of 27 years over the United Grand Lodge of England, which was formed in 1813.

Q). Who was the first Indian Mason?

A). Omdat-ul-Omrah, the Nawab of Carnatic. The second Indian Mason was M. Bandeh Ali Khan, initiated in Marine Lodge, Calcutta in 1812.

Q). Who was the first Hindu to be admitted into Freemasonry?

A). Bro. Ranganath Sastry in Lodge Perfect Unanimity No. 233, Madras in 1857.

Q). The earliest Sikh to be made a Mason?

A). Bro. Duleep Singh in Lodge Star in the East in 1861.

Q). Which Province had segregation preventing Indians from being admitted into Freemasonry?

A). In Bengal, where the bye-law No. 55 of the PGL (EC) prevented Indians from being admitted into Freemasonry. Ultimately the first Hindu to be admitted in Bengal was Bro. P C Dutt in 1872, that too after very many “black – balling” and nine years of persistent appeals.

Q). What were the foreign Constitutions whose Lodges functioned in India?

A). Dutch Constitution – Lodge Solomon was founded on April 7, 1758 at Tandelga near Chinsurah in Bengal by the commander of the merchant fleet of the Netherlands East India Company, Bro. Jacob Larwood Van Chevichaven.
French Constitution – Lodge Sincere Amite, Pondicherry was chartered in 1787. There were quite a few Naval Lodges. Though Naval Lodges were not recognized by the Grand Lodge of France, the members of the Naval Lodge in due course found their way to get affiliated to and remain under the protection of a stationary Lodge.
Scottish Constitution – Into the sub-continent the first Lodge under the Scottish Constitution was consecrated in 1801 in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). One Lodge Hope No. 334 SC, Karachi was charted in 1767; in 1770 it was shifted to New Castle and in 1782 to New York. The date of its arrival in India cannot at present be stated. Lodge Hope was charted by the PGM of Western India on April 25, 1842.
Danish Constitution – Introduced in Tranquebar (near Nagapattinam, Tamil Nadu) in 1805. The Danish colony at Tranquebar was fairly numerously populated by Danes. Due to the efforts of one Bro. Ewald a warrant was granted for a Lodge at Tranquebar in 1807 by the National Grand Lodge of Denmark. The name of the Lodge was “De L’amour Fraternelle” (to Brotherly Love).
Irish Constitution – The Light of the North No. 357 at Kurnaul [now Karnal] in 1835. This Lodge survived for three years only. The next was Lodge Duke of Abercon No. 382 IC, in Calcutta in 1905.

Q). Name some of the prominent Indians who were Freemasons.

A). Swamy Vivekananda (initiated in 1884 under the name of Bro. Narendra Nath Dutt in Lodge Anchor & Hope, Calcutta). Motilal Nehru – Lodge Harmony, Kanpur (Father of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and grand father of Indhira Gandhi), C. Rajagopalachary (Governor General of India), Sir C P Ramaswamy Iyer (Divan of Travancore), Dr. P V Cheriy (Governor of Maharashtra), and Fakruddin Ali Ahmed (President of India).

Q). Which is the oldest building used as a Masonic Temple in India?

A). The Goshamahal Baradari, Hyderabad, built in 1682 by Sultan Abul Hassan Tanasha.

Q). The Goshamahal Baradari, Hyderabad, built in 1682 by Sultan Abul Hassan Tanasha.

A). November 24, 1961 in New Delhi.

Q). Name the parent Grand Lodges of Grand Lodge of India.

A). The Grand Lodges of England, Ireland and Scotland.

Q). Who were the principal officers at the consecration of the Grand Lodge of India?

A). Dy. GM of Grand Lodge of England, RW Bro Earl of Cadogon, Grand Master of Grand Lodge of Scotland, MW Bro. Archibald, and Dy. GM of Grand Lodge of Ireland, RW Bro George S Gamble.

Q). Who was the founder Grand Master of Grand Lodge of India?

A). MW Bro. H H Major General Syed Raza Ali Khan, Nawab of Rampur.

Q). How many Lodges opted to become the Founder Lodges of the Grand Lodge of India?

A). 145 Lodges with a total membership of 7466 opted to become the founder Lodges of the Grand Lodge of India.



1. Freemasonry is very, very strong in India and it is on the upward rise. As on date there are 347 lodges under the Grand Lodge of AF&AM of India. The degrees available are the Craft, Royal Arch Chapter, Mark Master Masonry and Royal Ark Mariner. Currently there are Lodges functioning under the English, Scottish and Irish constitutions. The relationship between the constitutions is very cordial and intervisitations are encouraged and practised.

2. In Indian Lodges the Altar is placed immediately in front of the Worshipful Master’s Pedestal, so that no one can pass between the Altar and the Pedestal.

3. Indian Lodges keep five Volumes of Sacred Law on the Altar, namely, The Holy Bible [Christianity], Bhagvad Gita [Hinduism], Holy Koran [Islam], Guru Granth Sahib [Sikhism] and the Zenda Avastha [Zorastrian] on the Altar. They are opened and placed separately and not piled up one upon the other. The Square and Compasses is ordinarily placed in position on that Book to which the Worshipful Master owes his allegiance, except on Installation Nights when they will be placed on that Book on which the Master Elect will take his Obligation. The candidates for Initiation, Passing and Raising take their Obligation on the Book of their faith.

There are four Regional Grand Lodges under the Grand Lodge of India, namely,

  • Regional Grand Lodge of Northern India, inaugurated on November 21, 1961.
  • Regional Grand Lodge of Eastern India, inaugurated on December 2, 1961.
  • Regional Grand Lodge of Western India, inaugurated on December 6, 1961.
  • Regional Grand Lodge of Southern India, inaugurated on December 9, 1961.

A Regional Grand Master appointed by the Grand Master rules each Regional Grand Lodge for a period of 3 years.
Due to the large number of Lodges and members in every Region and to facilitate better management and supervision each Regional Grand Lodge is further divided into topographical areas consisting of several lodges. An Assistant Regional Grand Master appointed by the Regional Grand Master every year at the Annual Investiture Meeting of the respective Regional Grand Lodge is in charge of each Area for that year.For further information Contact the Regional Grand Secretary.


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