Pilgrimage follows in the steps of St. Thomas
India may not necessarily spring to mind as a pilgrimage destination, especially for Christians. Most would maybe think of the Holy Land.
However, surprisingly, South India holds a strong Christian affinity. The Portuguese traders arrived in Kerala in the 1600s and were surprised to find thriving Christian communities, many dedicated to St Thomas, who we know as Doubting Thomas.
It was believed that he came on a known trade route from the Middle East and moved through the countryside preaching and teaching about Jesus.
Organised with SoulofIndia.com, and led by the Rev Canon Tony Fensome (pictured), A Pilgrimage
to South India entails a journey across South India from East to West, loosely ‘in the steps of St Thomas’ – beginning at Chennai (Madras) where he was martyred.
“Here we visit the Mount of St Thomas and Fort area,” said Mr Fensome. “We then move south, stopping at the world heritage site of Mahabalipurm and on to Velakkanni, the Catholic Shrine of Our Lady. “We continue to Madurai to see the magnificent Shree Meenakshi Temple.
“Then ascend the mountains of the Western Ghats, with their tea plantations and spice farms, ending our pilgrimage on the coast at Kochin, ” he said.
On this journey of discovery, travellers will experience India’s bustling cities, its climate and food, the devotion of believers of different faiths and a whole lot more. India is a rapidly developing land of contrasts and whilst the hotels on the pilgrimage are of excellent standard, (some with pools), you will observe the opposing poles of wealth and everpresent poverty.
Spiritually, pilgrims will be able to see the Christian church in a very different cultural setting and glimpse the heart of the Hindu scheme of things.
There will be opportunities for pause, reflection and relaxation, and the pilgrimage will also be great fun.
“I invite you to join with me to share in the experience of this unique journey,” says Mr Fensome. The tour is from September 18 to October 1. It is 13 nights and 14 days and costs £2,440.