Thursday, November 20, 2014

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Malayattoor Kurisumudy and Church


Christianity in Kerala is also one of the major and third most religions practiced by the Keralean people.
The origin of Christians in Kerala dates back to the early 52 AD, it is the time of arrival of St. Thomas, the twelve disciple of the Lord Jesus. St. Thomas was the first to preach Gospel in the state Kerala and turned about twelve dozens of Brahmin families into Christians. Later, Christianity in Kerala was rehabilitated by the Portuguese in 16th and 19th centuries and the main location to spread their religion were the coastal areas of the state. In today, Kerala holds numbers of churches and each of them plays a vital role in the state’s tourism. In India it is also the state that holds a record for existing peacefully together among diverse religions like Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Buddhism, Jains and Sikhs. All these religions live as a brotherhood in here which is the main reason for being peace and adorable. Saint Thomas Sryo-Malabar Catholic Church in Malayattoor is the major pilgrimage centers of the state. 



Malayattoor is a small hamlet located in the north eastern region in Eranakulam district. The village name “Malayattoor” is a blend of three words “Mala”, “Arr” and “Oore” meaning “Mountain”, “River” and “Place”. Malayattoor is a small settlement in the middle of river, mountain and land. The St. Thomas Sryo-Malabar Church is the major tourist attraction and a popular pilgrimage center in here. The church is built at an altitude of 600 meters above the sea level at the hilltop of Kurisumudy, a mountain in at Malayattoor. 
The pilgrimage to Malayattoor traces back its origin to the visit of the Saint to Kerala in the AD 52 and thus it is believed that it was St. Thomas who brought Christianity to Kerala. According to the legends, if the saint aboriginal came to Malayatoor he had to face an actual adverse accession and was affected to abscond to the top of the mountain. There he prayed acutely for day’s calm authoritative assurance of the cross on the rock. It is believed that Mother Mary appeared to animate and strengthen him. Later at this spot on the rock, a golden cross was found. Thus the hillock came to be accepted as 'Ponnin Kurishumudi' (hill of the aureate cross). Nearby the saints passageway and marks of his knees were as well found on the rock. 
Kurishumudi is amid 2 km south from Malayattoor St. Thomas Parish Church or Thazathe Palli. The Church on top of Kurishumudi was built in 1893 over the golden cross, at 1269 feet aloft sea level and can be accomplished alone on foot. 
Near the Golden cross, a little beneath there are the aisle (Kaalpadam) of the abundant saint anchored in the harder rock. The footprints are covered in a glass encasing. Pilgrims adjure actuality to accept favors and phenomenon cures from the saint. Towards the east the charcoal (a bank) of an age-old church (Aana Kuthiya Palli) still remains, but one can acquisition the bearings of the tuskers who approved to annihilate it if the abode acclimated to be amidst by blubbery jungle.
Christians not only from the state but from all over India and from abroad as well make their visit to St. Thomas Church. It is believed that a visit to this church is well known among all over the world and also remains to be the largest Thomas Shrine in India. Huge number of both domestic and international tourists makes their visit to have the gratifying look of the church. The first Sunday after Easter thousands of devotees throng to have holy blessings. It is a popular tourist attraction in Malayattoor. There is other nearby attractions like ancient pond, churches, village, carvings etc.

The mass timings for Saint Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Malayattoor are as follows :–

§  Sunday:– 6.00 AM, 7.30 AM, 9.30 AM
§  Every Days:- 6.00 AM, 5.15 PM (Adorations at 5.30 AM before the Mass)
§  Novena to St.Thomas on Thursdays after the Holy Masses


Puthunjayar Feast

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.



§  Main Feast:- Puthunjayar on the 1st Sunday after Easter
§  Bible Convention:- Bible Convention from Thursday to Sunday in the week before Easter.
§  Dukhrana Thirunal:- July 3rd Dukhrana Thirunal

Places to visit at Malayattoor Kurishumudi (St. Thomas Mount)


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 20 years of St Thomas's missionary works in south India.

SANNIDHI

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 ANCIENT CHAPEL STRUCK BY THE ELEPHANTS

An ancient chapel at Kurishumudi, it was attacked by tuskers in the past when it used to be surrounded by thick jungle. Deep tusk marks can still be found on the back wall of the chapel. An ancient chapel at Kurishumudi, it was attacked by tuskers in the past when it used to be surrounded by thick jungle. Deep tusk marks can still be found on the back wall of the chapel.

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.


How to Reach Saint Thomas Syro-Malabar Church, Malayattoor


By Air:-
§  Cochin International Airport Cochin International Airport is at a distance of 15 kilometers (30 mins) from here. Kochi airport is well connected with all the major cities of India like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Hydedabad, Trivandrum, Calicut, Coimbatore, Ahmedabad, Nagpur, Goa, etc. and the countries abroad like Abu Dhabi, Dammam, Bahrain, Doha, Dubai, Muscat, Kuwait, Sharjah, Al Ain, Jeddah, Riyadh, Kuala Lumpur, Colombo, etc. one can either rent a cab or board a state transport bus both from nedumbassery for Malayattoor.
By Train:-
§  The Angamaly railway station is at a distance of 17 kilometers (25mins) from Malayattoor, but since most train do not stop at Angamaly you can get down at the next railway station Aluva (Alwaye distance of 24 kilometers (35mins) from Malayattoor) as every train halts here.
By Road:-
§  To reach in Malayatoor driving down on the NH47, one will have to take a diversion towards Kalady from Angamaly and drive all the way up to Kalady town which will take about 10 minutes. Then take a left towards Malayatoor. Folks driving down from Ernakulam / Cochin can drive up to Angamaly and take the same route or take the left towards Kalady after Cochin International Airport on the NH47. The latter route is shorter but the time taken will be a little long due to the small roads on will have to drive in. During the rest of the year, there are sufficient number of buses operating to Malayattoor from towns like Emakuiam, Aluva, Angamaly, Perumbavoor, and Kothamanagalam.
By Ship:-

§  Cochin, known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea, is 50 Km from Malayattoor.
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