Situated about 47 km from Kochi, Malayattoor village in Ernakulam District, is famous for the Catholic Church, located on top of the Malayattoor hill, at a height of 609 m. Dedicated to St. Thomas the apostle of Jesus Christ, thousands of pilgrims gather here for the annual festival. The church here has been designated by the Vatican as one among the eight International shrines in the world.

St. Thomas is believed to have landed in Kerala at Kodungallur (Cranganore) in AD 52. Oral tradition says that while travelling through Malayattor, faced with hostile natives, he fled to the hilltop where he said to have remained in prayer and that he left his footprint on one of the rocks. According to beliefs, during prayer, he touched a rock, upon which blood poured from it.

In his journey through the length and breadth of the land, St. Thomas founded churches in Kodungalloor, Quilon, Niranam, Nilakkal, Kokkamangalam, Kottakavu and Paalayoor.

The big and auspicious occasion is the feast of St. Thomas, which is observed on the first Sunday after Easter, when thousands throng the shrine for his blessings.

Devotees arriving at the shrine make several types of offerings. Some climb the hill carrying cross in their shoulders; women folk would carry long brooms with them with prayers for prosperity. Some pilgrims carry stones on their heads, an offering that is meant to remove burdens from their lives. There are various religious rituals in the parish church and at the top of the mount. Some of the services include high mass, ordinary mass, Novena, Adima, Vedi Litany etc.

Besides the main shrine, visitors to Malayattoor can also find interesting sites in and around the hill top.

Marthoma Mandapam 

A very elegant and attractive building with a blend of Greco-Indian architecture, it is here that the precious relics of St. Thomas are preserved. Located at the peak of the mount, the building is erected in such a way that the relic is placed twenty steps above the ground, symbolically representing the twenty years of St Thomas’s missionary works in south India.


Among the structures on top of Malayattoor hill, this one has modern architectural touch, and is situated at the Northern most part of the mount. Here, the main attraction is the Piyatha sculpture moulded at the top of the chapel. The Sannidhi is the most spacious place for worship on the mount.

Golden Cross 

Kurishumudi is where one can find the Golden Cross believed to have formed when St. Thomas knelt on a rock and signed a cross with his finger. He remained there praying for a long time, and ultimately a golden cross appeared on the spot.

Footprints of St Thomas 

One of the most curious sights at the mountain is the permanent footprint and the marks of knees of St. Thomas imprinted on the rock.

The miraculous water spring 

A well, situated near the ancient chapel at the top of the mount is believed to be the spot from where St. Thomas quenched his thirst during his time of prayer. Feeling thirsty, he struck the rock from which fresh water started flowing. Pilgrims consider the water in the well to possess divine power to heal ailments.

With its recent recognition by Vatican as an international pilgrim centre, this famous shrine at Malayattoor dedicated to St. Thomas would be extending its healing touch and spiritual bliss to more visitors and for those who come to enjoy its serenity.

This Shrine was promoted to Archdiocesan status by Major Archbishop Mar Varkey Cardinal Vithayathil on 4 September 1998. There is also a very ancient Church in the name of St Thomas (Estd. 900) at Malayattoor on the bank of Periyar River which serves as the parish Church at present. The annual festival of this church is known as ‘Malayatoor Perunal’ and it is celebrated in the months of March–April.



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