The St. John in the Wilderness Church

The St. John in the Wilderness Church

The St. John in the Wilderness Church, also known as the Forsyth Ganj Church, is a historical Anglican church located near Mcleodganj, Himachal Pradesh, India. Here's a comprehensive guide to this captivating landmark:

History and Significance:

  • Built in 1852, this neo-Gothic church is one of the oldest structures in Dharamshala and holds historical significance as the final resting place of Lord Elgin, a former Viceroy of India.
  • The church is dedicated to John the Baptist and is named after its location amidst the deodar forests, earning the moniker "in the Wilderness."

Architectural Features:

  • The church boasts a distinctive neo-Gothic architectural style, featuring pointed arches, stained glass windows, and a bell tower.
  • The Belgian stained glass windows, donated by Lady Elgin, are particularly noteworthy for their intricate designs and vibrant colors.

Visiting the Church:

  • Location: The church is situated on the outskirts of Mcleodganj, near Forsyth Ganj, easily accessible by car, taxi, or rickshaw.
  • Timings: The church is generally open from 7:00 AM to 6:30 PM, except for Sundays when it opens at 9:00 AM for service.
  • Entry fee: No entry fee is required to visit the church.

Things to see and do:

  • Explore the church: Admire the architectural details, stained glass windows, and historical memorials within the church.
  • Pay your respects: Visit the graveyard where Lord Elgin and other British soldiers are buried.
  • Enjoy the surroundings: Take a walk around the peaceful churchyard and soak in the scenic beauty of the surrounding hills.

Additional Information:

  • Sunday service: If you visit on Sunday, you can attend the English service held at 10:00 AM or the Hindi service at 11:00 AM.
  • Dress code: While there's no strict dress code, respectful attire is recommended, especially if attending a service.

Responsible tourism:

  • Maintain silence and respect: Remember that the church is a place of worship for many, so behave respectfully and maintain silence while exploring the premises.
  • Photography: Photography is usually permitted, but be mindful of ongoing activities and avoid using flash when taking pictures inside the church.
  • Dispose of waste properly: Use designated bins to dispose of any trash and help preserve the cleanliness of the church and its surroundings.

A Historical and Cultural Gem:

The St. John in the Wilderness Church offers a unique blend of history, architecture, and cultural significance. Whether you're interested in exploring historical landmarks, appreciating architectural beauty, or seeking a moment of peace amidst nature, this captivating church is worth including in your Mcleodganj itinerary.

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Dharamkot Road

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700 Meters from Main Square

Mcleodganj, Himachal Pradesh


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