Experience the spiritual tranquility of St. Thomas Mount National Shrine. Admire displays of religious art, see the shrine of a revered saint and enjoy panoramic views of Chennai city. St. Thomas Mount National Shrine is a church on top of a hill called St. Thomas Mount. First erected in the 16thcentury, the church stands on the site of where tradition states that St. Thomas the Apostle was killed.
Start your visit by walking up a pedestrian-only path and staircase leading from the base of St. Thomas Mount. Pause to study the portrayals of the 14 Stations of the Cross that line the route.
The church’s architecture resembles Armenian and Syrian ecclesiastical landmarks. Above the main doorway is an inscription that reads “My Lord My God.” Note bronze plaques depicting biblical scenes such as The Last Supper. See a statue of Pope John Paul II and a stone-carved cross, thought to have been chiseled by St. Thomas himself. The courtyard surrounding the church presents views of some of Chennai’s bustling commercial areas, tightly packed residential districts and green spaces.
Watch as people of all faiths, including Christians, Hindus and Muslims, arrive at the church. Step inside to discover ancient artworks and relics. A major highlight is a painting of Mary and Jesus by St. Luke the Apostle. See 115 relics of apostles and saints, including the toe bone of St. Thomas. The altar is located on the supposed spot of the death of St. Thomas.
Located west of the Guindy neighborhood, the church is about a 30-minute drive from Chennai’s city center. Get here by catching a train from Chennai Egmore station to Guindy station and take an auto-rickshaw from there.
St. Thomas Mount National Shrine is open daily and admission is free. Attend one of the services that take place in various languages up to three times each day.