St. Thomas Mount National Shrine

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The iconic St. Thomas Mount Church is a revered place of worship that commands an impressive presence atop St. Thomas Mount. St. Thomas Mount, also known as Perai Malai, which translates to 'Big Mount' in Tamil, is frequently frequented by people of many different religious beliefs, including Christians, Muslims, and Hindus. 

Pilgrims must ascend around 134 steps built of granite to access the world-famous Church. Scarification and acts of penance are common reasons adherents make this promise themselves.


• Learn about the history of the site:

The Church first stood as a lighthouse assisting Portuguese and Armenian ships and vessels in Bay of Bengal after it was constructed.

It is commonly held that before embarking on their expedition, sailors would pray to the Lord and offer up their thanksgivings.

This holy shrine, dedicated to Our Lady of Expectation, also known as Mother Mary, was constructed on the site where Saint Thomas was executed and beheaded. 

• The magnificent wall paintings and other works of art that adorn the site are sure to captivate the attention of guests:

The Saint Thomas Mount Shrine is a legitimate example of architectural brilliance; visitors can gawk at the ornate figurines and murals that extend all the way, and exquisite inscriptions can be found there. It is a treasure trove consisting of decorated arches, interesting frescoes, and a great cross that is said to have been chiseled by St. Thomas.

• Witness more than one hundred relics of saints, including those of Saint Joseph, Mother Mary, and each of Jesus' Apostles.

The charming shrine is situated where Saint Thomas was beheaded and contains an altar dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

The magnificent Madonna painting, also referred to as the Scapular of St. Thomas, can be located above the altar, and this painting is a prominent feature.

Inscriptions depicting biblical events, such as 'The Last Supper,' can be found throughout the holy site.

The Golden Pillar, which has a cross at its summit, is one of the most notable features of the Church.

The statue of Mother Teresa is a more recent addition to what was already atop St. Thomas Mount.

Outside the Church is a miniature bell tower constructed out of black and white marble. In addition, the statue of Pope John Paul II can be found here.

• Participate in The Annual Feast Day held on the 18th of December and is commemorated with a lot of devotion:

The event does not officially start until after a ceremony to raise the flag, which marks the occasion. At that time, the church has magnificent decorations consisting of multicolored lights and illuminations. During the days of the celebration, there w religious speeches and special prayers take place.  

Every year, thousands of devout individuals make their way to this celebration. 

• When you reach the area directly above the shrine, receive your first look at the beautiful vista:

Above the shrine are a banyan tree and several rocks that tourists can climb to get a panoramic view of the vibrant city below them.

You get a bird's-eye view of the entire city and can take in how wonderfully verdant a good portion of it is.

Because of how close you are to the airport, there is a good chance that you can watch a couple of airplanes pass directly overhead.

You'll want to make your way over to St. Thomas Mount to get those photographs worthy of being posted on Instagram.

Even if you don't come for that particular reason, a trip to this location will help you get some mental clutter out of the way and allow you to enjoy the peace and quiet it provides. 

• Local Points of Interest:

In addition to going to the cathedral, you should spend some time exploring the other sights in the area, such as the Anjaneyar Temple and the Madras War Cemetery.

  • imageDuration Required
    2 hours

Address of St. Thomas Mount National Shrine

Parangi Malai St Thomas Mt Chennai, Chennai (Madras) India

Opening & Closing time of St. Thomas Mount National Shrine

  • Monday
  • Tuesday
  • Wednesday
  • Thursday
  • Friday
  • Saturday
  • Sunday
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St. Thomas Mount National Shrine

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