St. John Church in Dharamshala is also referred to as St. John Church in Wilderness. It is an Anglican Church dedicated to Saint John who was the Baptist. The church is situated on the way to Mcleodganj and near Dharamshala. It is one of the most important churches in Himachal Pradesh. This church which is at the city of Forsyth Ganj was built in the year 1852. The construction of the church is in Neo-Gothic architectural style and the windows consist of Belgian stained-glass which were donated by Lady Elgin (Mary Louisa Lambton), the wife of Lord Elgin.
The construction of the church is so good that it even withstood the 1905 Kangra earthquake. In the earthquake, a total of 19,800 people died and destroyed most buildings in Kangra, Mcleodganj, and Dharamshala. But the bell tower on top of the church was destroyed by the earthquake. A new bell was installed by the Stain bank and Mears Company in 1915, which was imported from England.
This splendid church is constructed amidst the scenic valley of Mcleodganj and is situated at a distance of about 8 km from Dharamshala. The church is located in the thick forests between Mcleodganj and Forsyth Ganj. There is a memorial in the name of Lord Elgin, who was at that time one of the viceroys of India. He died at Chauntra (Mandi district) and was cremated here in 1863 A.D. This eccentric church, which has a Christian cemetery surrounding it, has beautiful windows made of glass and boosts the remarkable architectural design. It is perfectly located in the regal 'Deodar' forest in the wilderness.
The unusual church was constructed in the thick woods and that’s why this church is famously called the St. John in the wilderness. The St John’s church is the place where Lord Ergin was laid to rest. Lord Ergin was the governor-general and has also served as the viceroy of India during the British rule. There is also another church with the same name in Nainital, Uttarakhand.
Reaching the St. John’s Church.
The St. John’s church is located on the Mallital Road in Dharamshala. St John in the wilderness church can be reached without any hassles by hiring a cab or an autorickshaw. The drivers of the cab or the rickshaw will not deny dropping you to the destination. You can even reach the Church walking if you are staying near or at the Mall Road soaking in the mountain air.
The Pathankot Railway Station and the Gaggal Airport are easily accessible as they both are close to the church.
St. John’s Church, Dharamshala Timings: 7:00 A.M to 6:00 P.M
St. John’s Church, Dharamshala Entry Fees: Nil