The Karnal Cantonment Church Tower was a part of St. James church in the cantonment built by the British government, in the year 1805, to meet the challenge of the rising military power of the Sikhs in the region.
Since an epidemic of malaria broke out in the area, the British abandoned the cantonment and shifted it to Ambala in 1843 AD. They dismantled the church to take away its material, but allowed the tower to stay as it had been built out of the subscriptions of the public who objected to its dismantlement.
The massive 35-metre-tall tower is located between the then infantry parade ground and the race course. Topped with an ornamental cross, the tower is an excellent example of the British architecture and is visible as far away as seven miles around it. It has four storeys.
While its first storey is covered with Etruscan plaster, the top storey is plastered with lime. It features semicircular arches in Roman style architecture and a superb panelling artwork. The tower also houses the tablets removed from the church. It is one of the major tourist landmarks in the city.