An old, beautiful Anglican church in the lap of Himalays

Tripoto
16th Dec 2014
Photo of An old, beautiful Anglican church in the lap of Himalays 1/14 by Manoo J.

Church of St. John In The Wilderness is an old, beautiful Anglican church that was built in Neo-Gothic style in 1852 by the Britishers - dedicated to John The Baptist.

“John The Baptist was a major religious figure.He is revered in many faiths like Christianity, Islam, Bahá'í & Mandaeism.He traveled from place to place in order to preach. He was the one who foretold the coming of the Jesus.”

In a car, the place is just 5 minutes away from McLeodganj, in Forsyth Gunj. And if you plan to walk, it will hardly take 12-15 minutes to get there. The road to this church is extremely beautiful so even those who don’t like to walk won’t feel the pain ;). It is located on the way to Dal Lake & Tibetan Children’s Village.

We chose to go by car because it was my first time there; my husband doesn’t like to walk & so, I didn’t choose to walk alone with my 5 year old girl. And, I know I missed so much. Next time when I go there, I WILL WALK.

Photo of An old, beautiful Anglican church in the lap of Himalays 2/14 by Manoo J.

We reached there in no time. And it felt majestic. It is nestled among tall & green Devdar (देवदार; Deodar; Indian Cedar) trees with their branches spread out like they are waiting to embrace us. Nature is so powerful yet so humble.

Photo of An old, beautiful Anglican church in the lap of Himalays 3/14 by Manoo J.

The path leading to the main Church building is made with stones. Yellow leaves – fallen from the trees on both sides – cover the walkway as if Mother Nature has laid a beautiful carpet for Her children to walk on. And, the connection keeps getting stronger as you move forward.

Photo of An old, beautiful Anglican church in the lap of Himalays 4/14 by Manoo J.

It is not a big church. Built in black stones – it is highly noticeable due to its colorful backdrop rendered by the trees.

One comes across a sign board – at the Church entrance – that says, “Please take off your shoes.” It is a common practice seen at Hindu, Sikh & Muslim religious sites but for a Church it was unique. I have never been to a Church where people are asked to take off their shoes before they enter. But that’s okay; it was strange but not wrong.

Photo of An old, beautiful Anglican church in the lap of Himalays 5/14 by Manoo J.

Its interiors are very simple. There is nothing much to see there in terms of the design & decorations except the beautiful stained glass windows that are made in Belgian style & were donated by Lady Elgin. However, some time spent in silence would definitely fill your heart with God’s joy.

“Lady Elgin - Her actual name was Mary Louisa Bruce (née Lambton). She was the Countess of Elgin and Kincardine (circa 1819-1898),Second wife of 8th Earl of Elgin & daughter of 1st Earl of Durham.”

Photo of An old, beautiful Anglican church in the lap of Himalays 6/14 by Manoo J.

Just behind the Church building – you can see the grave memorial of James Bruce – also called Lord Elgin (died on November 20, 1863 at the age of 52), 8th Earl of Elgin & 23rd Viceroy of India – which was erected by his wife we spoke about in this blog – Mary Louisa. People say that it was his last wish to be buried in this place.

“James Bruce - became Viceroy of India in 1862. He was the first Viceroyto use Peterhoff, Shimla as his official residence. He died in 1863 of a heartattack while crossing a suspension bridge (rope & wood) built on the riverChadly (couldn’t find the exact name on Google), somewhere between Kullu and Lahaul.”

Photo of An old, beautiful Anglican church in the lap of Himalays 7/14 by Manoo J.
Photo of An old, beautiful Anglican church in the lap of Himalays 8/14 by Manoo J.
Photo of An old, beautiful Anglican church in the lap of Himalays 9/14 by Manoo J.
Photo of An old, beautiful Anglican church in the lap of Himalays 10/14 by Manoo J.

The cemetery around the grave memorial contains the graves of many victims of the 1905 Kangra Earthquake too.

“An extremely violent earthquake – happened on April 4, 1905 –was measured 7.8 & had killed more than 20,000 people."

Photo of An old, beautiful Anglican church in the lap of Himalays 11/14 by Manoo J.
Photo of An old, beautiful Anglican church in the lap of Himalays 12/14 by Manoo J.

This church withstood the test – and – by God’s grace – stood firmly on its grounds, however, the bell tower was destroyed. It was later cast in England in 1915 by Mears and Stainbank, brought to India & installed outside the church compound.

“Mears and Stainbank – it is said that this company holds the honor of beingassociated with the old & famous ‘Whitechapel Bell Foundry’ – a bell foundry in Whitechapel, London that dates back to 1570 and is the oldest manufacturing companyin Great Britain. It is highly regarded for creating the Liberty Bell (1752) & Big Ben (1858).”

Photo of An old, beautiful Anglican church in the lap of Himalays 13/14 by Manoo J.

‘St. John In The Wilderness’ is a quiet place where one can sit for hours & feel God’s presence. We visited this place on a Tuesday morning, and it was open. There were very few people and those too were there to just be at a tourist spot, look around, take some family & self-pictures and move to another location – to do exactly what they just did at this spot. :)

Photo of An old, beautiful Anglican church in the lap of Himalays 14/14 by Manoo J.

Well, we all see and live life differently, hence, act accordingly. That was their way & this is mine – to share my journey with you. 

Let me if you like my blog and keep coming by.

Joy to you!

1 Comment(s)
Sort by:
photography
Wed 11 01 17, 20:55 · Reply · Report
Related to this article
Things to Do in Vanadzor,Weekend Getaways from Vanadzor,Places to Visit in Vanadzor,Places to Stay in Vanadzor,Vanadzor Travel Guide,Things to Do in Lori,Places to Visit in Lori,Places to Stay in Lori,Lori Travel Guide,Weekend Getaways from Armenia,Things to Do in Armenia,Places to Visit in Armenia,Places to Stay in Armenia,Armenia Travel Guide,Armenia Travel Guide,Places to Stay in Armenia,Places to Visit in Armenia,Weekend Getaways from Dharamshala,Places to Visit in Dharamshala,Places to Stay in Dharamshala,Things to Do in Dharamshala,Dharamshala Travel Guide,Weekend Getaways from Kangra,Places to Visit in Kangra,Places to Stay in Kangra,Things to Do in Kangra,Kangra Travel Guide,Places to Visit in Himachal pradesh,Places to Stay in Himachal pradesh,Things to Do in Himachal pradesh,Himachal pradesh Travel Guide,Things to Do in India,Places to Stay in India,Places to Visit in India,India Travel Guide,Places to Visit in California,Places to Stay in California,Things to Do in California,California Travel Guide,Places to Visit in United states,Things to Do in United states,United states Travel Guide,Things to Do in India,Places to Stay in India,Places to Visit in India,India Travel Guide,St john Travel Guide,Things to Do in St john,Weekend Getaways from Himalayas,Places to Stay in Himalayas,Places to Visit in Himalayas,Things to Do in Himalayas,Himalayas Travel Guide,Places to Visit in Himachal pradesh,Places to Stay in Himachal pradesh,Things to Do in Himachal pradesh,Himachal pradesh Travel Guide,