FOOTSTEPS OF ST THOMAS

AN 18 DAY PILGRIMAGE TO INDIA

Upon arrival at Kochi International Airport, we will be welcomed and transferred to the hotel.

 

Overnight stay in Kochi

We begin our pilgrimage with a visit to the first church in India established by St. Thomas around AD 52 in North Paravur. Continue to Kodungallur to visit and celebrate Holy Mass at the Marthoma Pontifical Shrine where St. Thomas first landed in India.

 

Later in the afternoon continue to St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Palayur, one of the oldest churches established by St. Thomas that has a continuous history of two millennia and stands on the same spot where the Apostle first established it.

 

Overnight stay in Kochi (B D)

After an early breakfast, we will proceed to Malayattoor, one among the eight international shrines dedicated to St. Thomas. The shrine is located on the banks of the Periyar River where St. Thomas is said to have remained in prayer and that he left his foot prints in one of the rocks.

 

On the way back stop at St. Thomas Christian Museum that is situated in Kakkanad to explore the rich collection of historical and cultural documents, and artistic and liturgical objects of St. Thomas Christians. We will have time for quiet reflection followed by a lecture on the spirituality and traditions of St. Thomas Christians.

 

Overnight stay in Kochi (B D)

This morning we be gin with a guided tour of Fort Kochi to visit the Jewish Synagogue, Santa Cruz Basilica, Mattancherry Palace, St. Francis Church and the unique Chinese fishing nets near the mouth of the Arabian Sea. Visit the Indo- Portuguese Museum which houses precious artefacts collected from colonisation periods.

 

Later in the afternoon we journey to Bharananganam, known as “Lisieux of India”, Shrine of St. Alphonsa, the first female saint of India. We will also visit the Shrine of St. Kuriakose Elias Chavara, the founder of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate and the Congregation of the Mother of Carmel. We continue our journey to Kumarakom, popularly known as the “Venice of the East” for an overnight stay.

 

Overnight stay in Kumarakom (B D)

We will enjoy the day with activities of our choice such as village walks, fishing, pottery, weaving and evening shows of Kerala’s traditional dance, drama and music. In the evening, enjoy a sunset cruise or relax near Venbanad Lake.

 

Overnight stay in Kumarakom (B D)

This morning we will visit St. Thomas Apostolic Seminary which was formally established by the Congregation for the Oriental Churches. This is the largest oriental seminary, primarily intended for the education and formation of the seminarians of the Syro-Malabar dioceses. Celebrate Holy Mass in Syro-Malabar tradition along with the congregation. We continue our journey to Alleppey to check-in to the houseboat.

 

Enjoy the rest of the day with a cruise on the backwaters on Vembanad Lake and through the canals of Alleppey.

 

Overnight stay in Alleppey (B D)

We travel out this morning to Kokkamangalam, another centre of the missionary activities of St. Thomas. It is believed that the Apostle spent one year at Kokkamangalam and baptized one thousand six hundred persons to Christianity. We proceed to another church, St. Marys Orthodox Church, that was founded by St. Thomas in AD 54. Later in the evening participate in family prayer with a Christian family, to be followed by a traditional ‘Syrian Christian’ dinner.

 

Overnight stay in Alleppey (B D)

This morning we journey to visit the first ecumenical church in the world. St. Thomas Nilackal Ecumenical Church has been dedicated by all the denominations as an example of heritage by St. Thomas. The church is situated inside a 777km2 green forest which is a part of Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, one of the famous Tiger reserves in India.

 

Later in the afternoon we travel to Thekkady, India’s largest wildlife sanctuary with its bountiful treasures of tropical flora and fauna. It is the ultimate habitat of many endangered species and a rich tribal culture. After checking in to the hotel, we proceed to a Spice Plantation to see the most abundant spices like pepper, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, ginger, turmeric and curry that grow on the beautiful hills of Thekkady.

 

Overnight stay in Thekkady (B D)

After an early breakfast, go on a cruise on Periyar Lake. We will be able to see a large variety of wildlife, which include elephants, monkeys, deer, wild bears, and an abundant array of unique birds. Enjoy the rest of the day with activities of your choice like trekking, a tribal village visit, bamboo crafts or an elephant ride, etc.

 

Overnight stay in Thekkady (B D)

This morning we journey to Madurai to visit Sri Meenakshi Temple, a popular tourist site. Then visit Thirumalai Nayak Palace, considered as a wonder of South India with its blend of Dravidian and Islamic styles of architecture. The palace is one of the grandest in the city.

 

Overnight stay in Madurai (B D)

We travel to Trichy this morning to visit Lord Robert Clive’s house and Rock Fort, a 83m high rock said to be 2300 million years old. The top of the rocky outcrop is a temple from where one can enjoy a panoramic view of Trichy. Later in the afternoon we will journey to visit Saccidananda Ashram (Shantivanam), a Benedictine monastery on the banks of the River Kavery. We will have time for quiet reflection followed by a lecture on the theology of God in Christianity and Hinduism. Celebrate Holy Mass in the Indian tradition at the ashram and then drive to Thanjavur for an overnight stay.

 

Overnight stay in Thanjavur (B D)

This morning we embark on a sightseeing tour of Thanjavur to visit the most prized architectural marvels which is the part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Chola Temples testify to the brilliant achievements in architecture, sculpture, painting and bronze casting.

 

Overnight stay in Thanjavur (B D)

Today we will travel to Velankanni, popularly known as the ‘Lourdes of the East’, a shrine to Our Lady located on the Coromandel Coast. The church here is dedicated to Our Lady of Health, popularly called ‘Sacred Arockia Madha Church’, and people of all faiths and religions visit from all over the country. Celebrate Holy Mass at the Shrine of Velankanni. Then drive to Pondicherry for an overnight stay.

 

Overnight stay in Pondicherry (B D)

In the morning we will visit Sri Aurobindo Ashram, a spiritual community, and visit the library and the crafts centre that make everything from perfumes to Ayurveda medicines. Visit the reminders of the colonial days: the grand French Consulate and Museum that displays artifact from the Vijayanagara, Nayak, and Chola dynasties. The rest of the evening is free for shopping and cultural events with an Indian or French Dinner.

 

Overnight stay in Pondicherry (B D)

This morning we journey to Mahabalipuram, the World Heritage Site on the Coromandel Coast. It has extraordinary 10th century granite rocks which are considered to be the architectural precursors of South Indian Temples. Later in the afternoon we view the fragile Shore Temple and continue north to the coastal city of Chennai.

 

Overnight stay in Chennai (B D)

Today we will visit Santhome Cathedral and St. Thomas’ tomb. St. Thomas came to Kerala and then here to Tamil Nadu preaching the Gospel. He was martyred at St. Thomas Mount and the Church here was built to mark the site of his martyrdom. Today, St Thomas Mount is home to a Portuguese church dating back to 1551, as well as a small altar to St Thomas in the rocky cave opening. After celebration of Holy Mass at St Thomas Mount we will visit the Fort Museum and St Mary’s church.

 

Overnight stay in Chennai (B D)

After an early breakfast we will check out from the hotel. We will be transfered to the Chennai International airport and fly home with beautiful memories. (B)

Route Map

TourMap Footsteps of St.Thomas
  • Return economy class airfares
  • 4* Hotel accommodation
  • Meals specified on itinerary
  • Transfers on fully air conditioned coach
  • English tour guides, as required
  • Entrance fees to the relevant sites
  • Tours led by Tour Manager or a Priest Chaplain

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