Located at 300 feet above sea level in the city of Chennai (near the Chennai Airport), the Shrine of St.Thomas is a small church visited by thousands of pilgrims every year. St.Thomas, one of the twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ stayed at this hill side for solitude and prayer. His body is entombed in the huge Basilica of St.Thomas at Santhome. This chapel was initially built at the place about five centuries ago which has been renovated and restored in recent times.
Vehicles are not allowed beyond a certain point on the mount. The visitors must necessarily climb the 134 odd steps to reach the shrine. Fifteen Stations of the Cross adorn the sides of the steps. Every year during Lent, devotees flock the hill to make their Stations of the Cross with the help of these depictions.
The history of the shrine dates back to 1523 A.D. when a Portuguese gentleman by the name of Diego Fernandes built a small oratory on the top of the hill. With the increased number of pilgrims visiting the site, a bigger church was built in March 1547 dedicated to Our Lady of Mount. This church displays the statue of Mother of Expectation and the annual feast of this church is held on 18th December every year.
The Shrine entombs a piece of the Bone of St.Thomas which is placed on the alter. People believe that by the intercession of this holy relic, miracles happen in their lives. There is an Adoration Chapel where devotees can pray in silence.
Outside the entrance to the Church, there is a huge crucifix placed with a tall black and white obelisk in the background depicting the scene of Calvary.
The huge Bell Tower outside the church provides a sight of grandeur. The top of the hill provides a birds eye view of whole city of Chennai on all sides including the Airport. The longest Marmalong Bridge over the Adyar River is an engineering marvel which can be seen from the hill top.
The Shrine displays 102 relics of various Saints including the Twelve Apostles.
Gold offerings by devotees for the favours received are placed on display.