Malayattoor is a small but scenic town in the district of Ernakulum in Kerala. Malayattoor is situated between Western Ghats and Periyar River. The name “Malayattoor” is a combination of three small Malayalam words: ‘Mala’ which means ‘mountain’, “Arr‟ means ‘river’ and “Oore” means ‘place’. In other words Malayattoor is a place where mountain, river and land meet. The chief attraction of Malayattoor town is the well-known ancient Catholic Church dedicated to apostle st.Thomas. The church, which is perched on the 609-meter-high Malayattoor Hill, attracts devotees from all over the world. Malayattoor’s St Thomas Syro Malabar Catholic International Shrine (or Malayatoor Church) is one of the world’s eight international shrines. Malayattoor is renowned for being a Christian pilgrimage centre as well as for its scenic beauty. There are a few other churches in the area, including the Church of Mary Immaculate and the St. Sebastian Church. Another religious spot is Durga Devi. On the way to Malayattoor, you can stop by places like Moolamkuzhy and Mahagani Thottam.
Many interested in the architecture of the church in Malayattoor’s pilgrimage centre will find it fascinating. Its architecture is a mix of Greco-Roman and Roman Catholic, with the altar constructed in a traditional Greek style and the front portion of the church built in a Roman Catholic style. Carvings, designs, and paintings depicting Jesus Christ’s five joyful mysteries can be found behind the central altar.
The hill shrine at Malayattoor is now India’s most important pilgrimage site in the name of St. Thomas. The feast of St. Thomas, which is celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter, is a major and fortunate event in this town, with thousands of people flocking to the shrine to seek his blessings.
The food served in Malayattoor has a distinct Kerala flavour. This area is known for its small eateries and coffee shops. Temporary food stalls are put up for the convenience of tourists during the festival season, when the town is busy with activity.
Taluk : Aluva
District : Ernakulam
Country : India
Tourist destinations nearby: Vazhachal falls in Athirappilly, international shrine of Malayattoor, Kalady (birthplace of Adi Shankaracharya), Mahogany Thottam, Abhayaranyam (elephants are trained) and many more.
Malayattoor, a meeting point of mountain and river, rose to prominence after being blessed by St. Thomas the apostle of Jesus Christ’s missionary work. In AD 52, he is said to have arrived in Kodungalloor and founded the famous seven churches. He stopped in Malayattoor on his way to Mylapore. He had spent days in the adobe of god as he was forced to flee, according to Ramban Paattu. According to legend, St. Thomas prayed to the Lord in deep sorrow and pain, and when he touched the rock, blood sprung forth. This place was chosen by him as the location for prayer and worship in AD 52. His devotion to the Lord took him to Mylapore, where he was martyred in AD 72. The locals who went to mountain for hunting came across this hard rock which was emanating a divine light and founded a golden cross when they searched for the source.
Later, this Great Saint‟s footprint was discovered and this news reached the people and they started to visit and offer prayers at Malayattoor.
Kurisumudi (where cross is found) is 1269 feet above sea level. It is believed that the locals light an oil lamp as soon the golden cross was seen. Whenever the lights went out due to wind, a herd of goat would come down wailing and people would climb and light the lamp again. Also today, pilgrims who climb the mountain bring sesame seeds to feed the goats, despite the fact that goats are a rare sight.
The chief festival is held on the first Sunday after Easter. St. Thomas is said to have made the sign of the cross on the rock and kissed it and prayed at kurisumudi. According to legend, at that exact spot, a miraculous golden cross appeared. Pilgrims chant continually as they climb up the hill as “Ponnum Kurishu Muthappo, Ponmala Kayattom”, this means that “O Patriarch of the Golden Cross! Climb we shall, this golden hill!” Another ancient church established in 900 in the name of St. Thomas on the banks of Periyar River in Malayattoor now serves as the parish church. This church’s annual festival is known as ‘Malayatoor Perunal,’ and it takes place in the months of March and April.
The Best Time to Visit Malayattoor
The best time to visit Malayattoor is winter season because the temperature is pleasant. Pilgrims and tourists visit Malayattoor all year because of the church and activities related to it. However, visitors can avoid visiting during the rainy season because sightseeing is obstructed due to heavy rain.
How to Reach Malayattoor?
By air: Cochin International Airport is the nearest airport which is 15 kilometres from the city of Malayattoor. Those who are arriving by plane can take taxis or cabs to Malayattor from the airport.
By train: Angamaly is the nearest railway station to Malayattoor. But it has only limited stops.
Aluva railway station is the major stop.
Another Station is Ernakulum railway station which has trains to all of India’s major cities. Trains run frequently to and from this station, linking it to the rest of Kerala. Malayattoor can be reached by taxi or bus for those arriving by train.
By road: The road system in Malayattoor is excellent. Malayattoor is accessible by bus from Kochi Bus Station on a regular basis. By road, Kochi is linked to
the rest of Kerala as well as some major South Indian cities. The Kerala State Transport Corporation (KSRTC) operates buses to this small town, and tickets are affordable.