Malayatoor Church Kerala
Malayatoor Church Kerala
History of Malayatoor Church Kerala
Malayatoor Church Kerala is Located 52 kms from Kochi, the Malayatoor Church is situated atop the 609 m high Malayatoor Hill. The church is dedicated to St. Thomas, who is believed to have prayed at this shrine. One of the most important Christian pilgrim centres in Kerala, this holy shrine attracts devotees in very large numbers not only from Kerala but also from the neighbouring states. This famous church is situated at Kurisumudi, a verdant hill in the Western Ghats girdled partially by the river Periyar. The Church has a life – size statue of St. Thomas and the imprint of the feet of the Apostle on a rock. This shrine has now been accorded an international pilgrimage station.
Malayattoor is a village in the North Eastern corner of Ernakulam District in the state of Kerala in South India. The name ‘Malayattoor’ is an amalgamation of three small words. Mala ( Mountain ) Arr ( River ) Oore ( Place ). This is to say, Malayattoor is a meeting place of mountain, river, and land.
St. Thomas and Malayattoor
Upon his visit to India St. Thomas visited Kurisumudy too. His missionary expeditions took him far and wide and while travelling through the famous caravan route from Kodugalioor to Madras St. Thomas came to Malayattoor. A hostile reception was in store and his life was in danger. He was forced to flee to the top of the mountain and he spent days together in prayer. According to the ‘Ramban Paattu’ , St. Thomas went up the mountain to converse with the Lord. In deep anguish and agony, St. Thomas prayed to the Lord and he made a sign of the cross on the rock . The Mother Of Our Lord, Blessed Mary, appeared to console and strengthen him. He descended from the top hill. His zeal for the Lord took him to Mylappoor in Chennai and later died a martyr’s death in AD 72. The locals began a practice of lighting an oil lamp and whenever the lamp gave in for the wind, a herd of goats came down wailing and people used to climb the mountain and light the lamp again. Pilgrims, who climb the mountain, even today carry with them seasamum seeds to feed the goats, even though goats are a rare sight.
St. Thomas and Thamizakam
The place of St. Thomas in the life of Tamil believers is something not to be overlooked. Anyone would be moved at the sight of an ardent but the simple faith of a Tamil pilgrim, a usual seen on the mountain. According to Rt. Rev. Dr. Soosa Pakiami the “Archbishop of Trivandrum, “Muthappan” the name by which the devotes invoke St. Thomas on the mountain, may have come from Tamizakam. A good number of pilgrims that visit Kurisumudy and seek Muthappan’s blessings is from Tamilnadu. The vital role played by the caravan rout that existed between Kodugalloor and Madras from time in memorial has certainly contributed to this spiritual and cultural bond that exists between Kerala and Tamilnadu. Later on the hunters went to the mountain for hunting.While they stayed in the night they saw a glittering sign of cross on the rock.Out of curiosity they struck there with their rude weapons. To their surprise blood gushed out. They ran to the valley and told the locals. They went to the mountain and while they prayed thre they got many miracles. This is the humble begining of Kurisumudy Pilgrimage.
Feast of Malayatoor Church Kerala
The Feast at Kurisumudy is on the first Sunday after Easter and the Octave on the following Sunday. People visit this pilgrim centre all through the year but they come in large groups during lenten season. The number of pilgrims go up during the holy week especially on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.A lot of devotees come to the shrine carrying crosses and walking hundereds of Kilometers. Some of the crosses weight more than 75 Kilograms. When the piligrims climb the mountain they chant “Ponnin Kurisu Mala Muthappo Ponmalakayattam” that has almost become a manthra of those who climb.
Rituals & Practices of Malayatoor Church Kerala
As reparation for their sins pilgrims climb the hill with prayers on their lips. To climb the hill is not an easy task. It is 1269 ft. high from the sea leavel. The climbing is done as a vow. They come after fasting and penance. As a part of their pilgrimage there are various rituals that a pilgrim can attend. Difference of religion, caste and creed are not a bar when they come to the rituals. This center is noted for inter-religious harmony and ecumenism.
Groups of pilgrims climb the hill praying the Way of the Cross with lighted candles in their hands. During the lenten season the whole atmosphere echos the songs and prayers of the Stations of the Cross.
There are women who carry brooms with them when they climb the hill. It is believed that by doing so they grow their hair long and thick. They pray for the abundance of physical and spiritual well being.
Pilgrims carrying stones on their heads as they climb the mountain, is a usual seen. They place it near the Fourteenth station at the completion of the Way of the Cross. It is done for the relief of their chronic headaches.
Tourist Attractions of Malayatoor Church Kerala
Kerala Style Food
Malayattoor is a small beautiful Village. You can experience the typical Kerala cuisine in any small village restaurants here.
During the festival season , many temporary restaurants are set up to cater for thousands of pilgrims and tourists. Many restaurants and cofee houses operate under the supervision of Malayattoor Church and various volunteering organizations, to meet the needs of the pilgrims properly and timely.
Malayattoor has got a couple of good hotels and lodges to host pilgrims and tourists. Rooms are available during non festival season without any advance booking. During January – May, it is advisable to book in advance.
Under the management of St. Thomas church Malayattoor, accommodation is provided with basic amenities..
Parking Areas :
During the festival Days parking plots are available near St. Thomas Parish Church and at the foot of Kurisumudy (Adivaram).
Proximity to Kalady, the birth place of Adi sankara. Malayattoor Kurishumudy is about 10 kms away from the birth place of Sankara, the world famous philosopher and founder of the principle of ‘Advaita’
Tourist spots like Mulankuzhi, Bhoothathankettu and Ezhaattumugham,Athirappilly and Kodanadu are famous for their naturai elegance. Just beneath the mountain there is a beautiful lake, which gives peace and solace to the pilgrims Govt. of Kerala, Department of Tourism has targeted wide variety of developments here.
The elephant Kraal ( training centre ) at Kodanadu.
It is one of the major tourist attraction as it offers a splendid sight of elephants caught from the forest. It is where the taming of wild elephants is done.
Dept. of Tourism’s Nature Study Centre
The Govt. of Kerala offers ample facilities for the development of Tourism and Nature Study Centre attached to the forest range office Malayattoor. The Tourist Bungalow at the lake is a convenient place.
The trigno – metrical centre of south India :
The British Government found Kurisumudy as a mountain sustainable for this purpose.
Attraction Places of Malayatoor Kerala
A bird’s eye view of Kurisumudy at Malayatoor
Undoubtedly it is a beautiful mountain with great spiritual atmosphere. To maintain this spirituality and tranquilithy there are some holy places in Kurisumudy, such as….
This is the most attractive building carved in accordance with the blending of Indian archaeological traditions. It is in this Mandapam the precious relic of St. Thomas is preserved for the pilgrims to offer their prayers. It is built at the highest point of the mount. The statue of St.Thomas is placed in point above 20 steps , symbolically representing the twenty years of St. Thomas’s missionary works in South India.
This is a chapel, which serves as a place of worship on the hill top. It provides enough space for meditation, prayers and Holy Eucharist.this is the place where the holy Eucharist is celibrated.Thousands of people can participate in the Eucharist.
The Ancient Chapel – Struck By The Elephants
This is the most ancient chapel at Kurisuinudi. Until 1968 Kurisumudi had been a thick forest. Those days wild animals used to move around there freely. It is believed that tuskers attacked this ancient chapel but couldnot cause a major damage.The marks of elephant attack on the back wall of the chapel is visible. Recently a new facade was built for the chapel and the part that elephant struck is glassed in.
The Miraculous Water Spring on The Mountain
There is a well near the ancient chapel at the top of the mount. This well is at the spot where St. Thomas is believed to have quenched his thirst, it is again believed that St. Thomas struck on this rock when he was thirsty and instantly fresh water gushed out. Thousands of believeis have been miraculously healed by using this water.
The Golden Cross
As mentioned early, it is believed that St. Thomas on his visit to Kurisumudi knelt on the rock and signed a cross with his finger on the ground, He prayed there for a long time. Later a golden cross appeared on this spot and the people belonging to the hilltribes were said to have been attracted by the splendor of the cross. To satisfy their curiosity they struck the spot with their weapons. To their surprise they saw blood oozing out of the cross. They were amazed by this miraculous occurrence. They reported the incident, to the people living at the foot of the mountain.They ran to the spot.Thus began the historic pilgrimage to Kurisumudi. This is the tradition behind the Golden Cross.
The Foot prints of St. Thomas on the Rock
People flock around the foot print of St. Thomas, inprinted and visible on this rock. There are also marks seen on the rock, which are said to have appeared once the saint knelt on the ground.
How to Reach Malayattoor Church Kerala
The nearest Railway station is Angamaly for kalady and is only 17 km from Malayattoor.
The new Cochin Internationali Airport ( Nedumbassery ) is just 15 km from Malayattoor. You may have to depend on a taxi to reach Kalady ( 5 km ), from where you may board bus or proceed in taxi to Malayattoor.
Kalady ( 10 Km ) and Angamaly are the nearest towns. Those coming from Kottayam take the direction from Kalady to Malayattoor. Those who come from Thrissur side eyther can take a division from Angamaly to Kurishumudy through Thuravoor and Manjapara or go to kalady and to malayattoor.
Contact Details for Malayattoor Church Kerala
St. Thomas International Shrine,
Kurisumudy, Malayattoor – 683787, Kerala.India
Phone No : Tel: +91 484 2468990, 22283450,
Cell : 9961805588
E – mail : email@example.com