St. Thomas Mount
This 300 foot high hill is believed to be the place where St. Thomas was martyred. St Thomas was the first Christian to set foot on Indian shores. One of Christ`s apostles (the famous Doubting Thomas), he arrived in India within a couple of decades of the crucifixion. Having landed on the Kerala coast, St. Thomas moved to what is now Chennai and is believed to have lived in a tiny cave atop this hill. Today a simple church built by the Portuguese in the 16th century forms the entrance to the cave which houses a large image of St. Thomas. The other church atop the mount was built much later to commemorate the martyrdom of St. Thomas. His remains are preserved in the San Thome Cathedral located near the southern end of the Marina Beach. Among the interesting relics in the church is an old stone cross that the apostle is said to have clutched in his hand while dying. The blood-like stains on the cross have given it the name Bleeding Cross and the mystic stains on it have to this day been found to be too deep to be removed. On the wall above the altar is an oil painting of the Madonna that was brought to India by St. Thomas and is believed to be one of the seven that were painted by St. Luke.