LORD ELGIN'S MEMORIAL

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Location: Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh
Built In: 1860
Unique Feature: Memorial is situated inside St. John's Church in the Wilderness


After the honors of 1857, India's First War of independence, Queen Victoria assumed the title of Empress of India. Her Prime Minister, Lord Canning made the proclamation and the Governor General's title was raised to that of Viceroy of India.

Though Shimla was the official capital of Imperial Delhi other beauty spots also got full quota of unofficial patronage and schools sprung up in the hills of Himachal Pradesh, such as Dagshai, Sanawar, Shimla, etc. Along with the schools came graceful Gothic Cathedrals with stained glass windows depicting episodes from the life of Jesus Christ and the Old Testament. Reproducing the famous religious architecture of Sir Christopher Wren who built St. Pauls in London and others, some were worthy copies.

One such is the elegant Church of St. John in the wilderness 8-km from town, containing some of the most priceless stained glass windows. One panel portrays Christ, the other St. John, the Beptist. It was in Dharamsala that Lord Elgin, the Scottish working-peer, and eighth viceroy, who succeeded Lord Lansdowne, in 1896, took his vacations from official Shimla.

The Lord loved the manifold charms of the area with its lakes and mountains, it reminded him of his native home in Scotland--rugged, wild and beautiful. He did not finish his four- year term, however, and died in Dharamsala, the town that he loved so much. Before he died, in 1862, he left instructions to be buried in the Church of St. John, dedicated to the patron saint of Scotland, and built in 1860. In the church is the monument to the viceroy who came to rule but chose to remain, even in death.



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