Little Mount & St Thomas Mount (Chinnamalai & Parangi Malai)
The story goes that St. Thomas fled from the cave to St. Thomas Mount (Parangi Malai), just under two miles (three kilometers) away from Little Mount, where he was later martyred while praying in 72 AD. Today the hill is home to the Church of Our Lady of Expectations. Little Mount and St. Thomas Mount are popular stops on church tours of Chennai, and there are special St. Thomas-themed tours that visit both sights (along with the San Thome Cathedral).
Things to Know Before You Go
- These sights are a must-visit for pilgrims or anyone interested in Christian history.
- Dress modestly, with knees and shoulders covered, out of respect for local culture.
- Getting to the top of St. Thomas Mount requires climbing 135 steps.
How to Get There
Both sights are year-round attractions, although weather considerations may dictate when you visit. The best time to come is during the cooler, relatively drier winter months, while monsoon rains from June through September or even into October can put a literal damper on your experience. Despite the rain, you'll get the most crowds in early July, around the Feast of St. Thomas (on July 3).
When to Get There
The sights are located near the Velachery neighborhood of Chennai, about a half-an-hour-drive inland from Elliot’s Beach, and a 15-minute drive from the Chennai international airport. The St. Thomas Mount railway station is about a 15-minute taxi or auto-rickshaw ride from the shrine, while the Nanganallur Road and the Alandur metro stations are each about a 10-minute drive away (or 20 to 25 minutes on foot).
San Thome Cathedral
If you're interested in learning more about the life of St. Thomas while in Chennai, it's worth also visiting the San Thome Cathedral, built by the Portuguese in the 16th century. It's believed that St. Thomas is interred here, inside the Tomb Chapel. There's also a museum with artifacts related to the saint on the property.
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