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St. Thomas, the Apostle of Christ landed in AD 52 at Kodungalur, the first centuary west coast harbour of Kerala (Pliny’s Primum Emporium India) and went on to establish seven churches for the faithful he evangelised in Kerala. Only one of the seven churches could claim continuous existence in the same location from the time of the Apostle. The church at Palayur is unique in that the present church has a continuous history of two millennia and stands on the same spot where Apostle first established it. The first church founded by St. Thomas continued to exist for many centuries and we know that in 1607 the Italian Jesuit Fr. Permission from the ecclesiastical authorities, to construct a more convenient church around the existing old structure for the parish of Palayur.

The Thrissur Archdiocesan authorities are today wholeheartedly committed to the cause of developing Palayur into the focus of national and international pilgrim tourism in South India. The Palayur church was elevated as the first Archdiocesan pilgrim centre on 16th April 2000. The relic of St. Thomas conveyed from Ortona, Italy  was established in the main altar of the church. The 30 km long annual Lenten Mahatheerthadanam or great pilgrimage on foot from the Thrissur to Palayur has conducted in every year.

In true Kerala tradition the Palayur pilgrim complex together with the Guruvayur temple and Manathala Masjid form a sacred triangle of religious harmony and communal amity embrassing the Arabian sea and the Chettuvai Azhimugham with the elephant   resort at Guruvayur providing the incomparable site of source of domesticated elephant.


Historical Monuments at Palayur

  • The Ancient haven and monument at Bottukulam (Bottujetty) where the a Apostle landed on his arrival from Kodungallur.

  • The Thaliakulam (Tank) where he baptised many after performing the miracle with water and granite baptismal font on its bank.

  • Way of the cross around Thaliakulam

  • The place where he erected the cross

  • The underground remains of the primordial church

  • The ancient church itself.

  • The old Judan Bazar and Jew Hill monument

  • The Poojakinar or ritual well used in the first centuries.

  • The martyr monument modelled on the small mount or Chinnamalai of Madras Mylapore

  • St. Alphonsa Memorial

  • The Marthoma Patha (Walk-way) with 14 stations in rock scenes from the saint’s life.

  • St. Thomas sculpture which is the highest in the world (45 ft)

  • Indian Christian historical and cultural Museum

  • The jubilee door

  • The Adoration Centre at St. Thomas Convent, Palayur


The sights and memories constantly bring to Palayur all the year round, year in and year out, large numbers of pilgrims, tourists, scholars and researchers not only from Kerala and India but also from countries all over the world. Palayur is the first port of call for all those who wish to learn about the St. Thomas tradition.


To Reach Palayur

Buses ply regularly and frequently between Palayur/Chavakkad/Guruvayur/Thrissur and all major towns in Kerala and South India
From the North: Kuttippuram-Kunnamkulam-Chavakkad-Palayur
From the South: Kodungallur-Chettuva-Chavakkad-Palayur
From the East: Thrissur-Kanjani-Enamavu-Paravatty-Palayur; Thrissur-Parappur-Paravatty-Palayur; Thrissur-Choondal-Guruvayur-Chavakkad-Palayur