Location of Santhome Cathedral Basilica

Santhome Cathedral Basilica: Famous Roman Catholic Shrine in Chennai

Santhome Cathedral Basilica, also known as St Thomas Cathedral Basilica and National Shrine of Saint Thomas, is a Roman Catholic minor basilica in Chennai, India. It is built over the tomb of Saint Thomas, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ, who is believed to have preached and died in India. The basilica is one of the three churches in the world that are built over the tombs of apostles, the other two being St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City and Santiago de Compostela Cathedral in Spain.

The basilica is a prominent landmark and a pilgrimage centre for Christians in India and abroad. Visit during Chennai Local Sightseeing by cab

Location of Santhome Cathedral Basilica

Santhome Cathedral Basilica

Santhome Cathedral Basilica is located on San Thome High Road, Mylapore, Chennai. It is about 3 km from Chennai Central railway station and 20 km from Chennai International airport. It is easily accessible by public transport such as buses, trains, metro, and auto-rickshaws.

Timing / Entry Fees Santhome Cathedral Basilica

Santhome Cathedral Basilica

Santhome Cathedral Basilica is open from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm on all days of the week. There is no entry fee for visiting this basilica. However, devotees can offer donations and offerings to the basilica as per their wish.

How to Reach Santhome Cathedral Basilica

Santhome Cathedral Basilica can be reached by road from any part of the city. You can take a bus, taxi, or auto-rickshaw to reach the spot. You can also take a train to Tiruvallikeni railway station or a metro to Government Estate metro station, which are both close to the basilica.

Things to Do / Must See Santhome Cathedral Basilica

Santhome Cathedral Basilica

Santhome Cathedral Basilica offers various things to do and see for tourists and devotees of all ages and interests. You can enjoy a darshan of the main altar and the tomb of Saint Thomas, participate in the daily masses and prayers, admire the architecture and paintings, visit the museum and the library, etc. at the complex. You can also visit the nearby attractions such as Marina Beach, Kapaleeshwarar Temple, Santhome Basilica School, etc.

  • Darshan: The main altar of the basilica is a beautiful structure that depicts Jesus Christ on a cross with Saint Thomas kneeling at his feet. The altar also has statues of Saint Peter and Saint Paul on either side. The tomb of Saint Thomas is located below the main altar in an underground chapel. The tomb is covered with a marble slab that has an inscription in Latin that reads “Here lies buried St Thomas Apostle”. The tomb also has a relic of Saint Thomas that was brought from Ortona, Italy in 1953.
  • Masses and Prayers: The basilica conducts daily masses and prayers in Tamil and English for the faithful. The timings of the masses are as follows:
    • Weekdays: 6:00 am (Tamil), 6:45 am (English), 11:00 am (Tamil), 6:00 pm (Tamil)
    • Sundays: 6:00 am (Tamil), 7:15 am (English), 8:30 am (Tamil), 10:00 am (English), 11:15 am (Tamil), 6:00 pm (Tamil)
    The basilica also conducts special prayers such as novenas, rosaries, adorations, etc. on various occasions.
  • Architecture and Paintings: The basilica has a neo-Gothic style of architecture with a white facade and a spire that rises to a height of 155 feet. The interior of the basilica has stained glass windows, wooden carvings, marble statues, etc. that enhance its beauty and elegance. The basilica also has paintings that depict scenes from the life of Saint Thomas such as his arrival in India, his preaching, his martyrdom, etc.
  • Museum and Library: The basilica has a museum that displays various artifacts and exhibits related to the history and culture of Christianity in India such as coins, stamps, documents, photographs, paintings, etc. The museum also has a replica of the lance that was used to kill Saint Thomas. The basilica also has a library that has a collection of books and magazines on various topics such as theology, spirituality, history, etc.

Significance of Santhome Cathedral Basilica

Santhome Cathedral Basilica

Santhome Cathedral Basilica is a place of religious and historical significance. It is one of the three churches in the world that are built over the tombs of apostles and is revered by Christians as a holy site. It is also one of the oldest churches in India that dates back to the 16th century when it was built by the Portuguese over the tomb of Saint Thomas.

It is also a place of cultural significance as it showcases the influence of the Portuguese, the British, and the Indian traditions on the architecture and art of the basilica. It is also a place of educational significance as it provides an opportunity to learn about the life and teachings of Saint Thomas and his contribution to Christianity in India.

FAQ’s

Q: What is the best time to visit Santhome Cathedral Basilica?

A: The best time to visit Santhome Cathedral Basilica is from October to March when the weather is pleasant and cool.

Q: What are the facilities available at Santhome Cathedral Basilica?

A: There are basic facilities available at Santhome Cathedral Basilica such as parking, toilets, drinking water, cafeteria, souvenir shop, etc. There are also facilities for the differently abled such as ramps, wheelchairs, audio guides, etc.

Q: What are some tips for visiting Santhome Cathedral Basilica?

A: Some tips for visiting Santhome Cathedral Basilica are:
Wear comfortable shoes and clothes as you will have to walk a lot to explore the basilica.
Carry water, snacks and a camera to capture the views.
Be respectful while viewing the altar and the tomb and do not touch or damage them.
Do not litter or smoke at the basilica premises.
Respect the local culture and environment.

Conclusion

Santhome Cathedral Basilica, also known as St Thomas Cathedral Basilica and National Shrine of Saint Thomas, is a Roman Catholic minor basilica in Chennai, India. It is built over the tomb of Saint Thomas, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ, who is believed to have preached and died in India. The basilica is one of the three churches in the world that are built over the tombs of apostles, the other two being St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City and Santiago de Compostela Cathedral in Spain.

The basilica is a prominent landmark and a pilgrimage centre for Christians in India and abroad. It offers various things to do and see such as a darshan of the main altar and the tomb of Saint Thomas, a participation in the daily masses and prayers, an admiration of the architecture and paintings, a visit to the museum and the library, etc.

It also has a rich history and heritage that showcases the influence of the Portuguese, the British, and the Indian traditions on the architecture and art of the basilica. It is one of the most popular attractions of Chennai and a must-visit destination for religious and historical lovers.

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