St. John in the Wilderness is an Anglican church dedicated to John the Baptist built in 1852, located near Dharamshala, India on the way to McLeodGanj, at Forsyth Gunj.  St. John’s Church is the most ancient structure of the town and it is a gothic stone shrine amidst the forest in between Mcleodganj and Forsyth Ganj. It is an Anglican structure that is a tribute to John the Baptist. ‘St. John in the Wilderness’ is no more a hidden entity. Set amidst deodar forest, and built in neo-Gothic architecture, the church is known for its Belgian stained-glass windows donated by Lady Elgin (Mary Louisa Lambton), wife of Lord Elgin.

Though the church structure survived the 1905 Kangra earthquake, which killed close to 19,800 people, injured thousands in the Kangra area, and destroyed most buildings in Kangra, Mcleodganj and Dharamshala; its spire, Bell tower, was however destroyed. Later, a new bell, cast in 1915 by Mears and Stainbank, was brought from England and installed outside in the compound of the church. This is an anglic church in the McLeodganj. The church from the outside looks completely abandoned and covered with creepers all along. As you enter it you will find it extremely clean and maintained and thus fully active always. Made in the Gothic form of architecture, it was dedicated to st. John’s the Baptist and is a widely visited area here. It is an Anglican structure that is a tribute to John the Baptist. ‘St. John in the Wilderness’ is no more a hidden entity. it is also famous as ‘St. John in the Wilderness’. It looks like a hidden treasure and it has that element to turn the tourist in you into tireless traveller.

The church was built during British rule, in the year 1852. It is an Anglican church, complete with bell tower and spire. Scholars believe that Lord Jesus was a follower of John. The church is located amid serenity, in between thick deodar forests. 161 years of rain has created moss on its walls. It also has a memorial constructed as a dedication to Lord Elgin who was the Viceroy of the erstwhile India under imperial British rule. The Belgium tinted glass of the windows was donated to the church by Lady Elgin. The church was partly destroyed in the 1905 Kangra earthquake, but the destroyed spire and bell tower were brought again from England in 1915.

John’s church is a unique and a special place which should not be missed by anyone who is planning to visit Dharamshala. For the experience of a quite place in green mountains and strolling in the wilderness- St. John’s Church is a must visit! The church attracts many people from far and wide. The scenic pine and deodar forest, the serene environment and the architecture of the church are bound to leave unforgettable memories in the minds of visitors. This church is one of the must-visit places for tourists. There is church by the same name in Nainital as well, built in 1844.

The best time to pay a visit to Dharamshala is in between May and September. The winter is severe and there is snowfall that often results in the upper passes getting blocked. The popular tourist attractions suffer fewer crowds due to erratic weather conditions. When you walk down from Mcleodganj or Naddi to lower Dharamshala, it takes 10 to 15 minutes. You can hire a car on rent or catch a local bus that would take you to the place. A few steps into the woods and there the wonder is waiting for your lenses and your footprints. This church is situated within four or five kilometres from the Peace of Mind Spot of Mcleodganj.

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Posted in: Himachal Pradesh, India

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