Pil­grim­age fol­lows in the steps of St. Thomas

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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.

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