Situated about 47 km from Kochi on the slopes of Western Ghats, Malayattoor literally means a place where plains, mountains, and rivers meet. Malayattoor is popular for the Catholic Church which is situated between the natural forests. Legend has it that St. Thomas had to face hostile reception when he visited India because of which he took refuge on top of a mountain, where the church is present today. It is this hillock where thousands of pilgrims gather for the annual festival 'Malayatoor Perunnal', during the months March/April. Rich in natural beauty, Malayattoor offers ideal environs for those looking for spiritual happiness. In fact, the hill shrine at Malayattoor has emerged as the largest pilgrimage for Christians in Kerala and even for people across India.
The biggest and most auspicious occasion here is the feast of St. Thomas, which is observed on the first Sunday after Easter, when thousands of followers throng the shrine for his blessings. The height of the hill from foot to the top of Kurishumudi is 1269 feet, with the climb being around 2.5km-3km, which takes about 1-1 hours to cover the entire distance. Though the trek is excruciating, but the uphill track has 14 stations where one can stop during his journey to reflect and pray at the crosses present here. The climb is a pilgrimage which is undertaken in the name of St Thomas Church.
The church is an amalgamation of Greco-Roman architecture with the altar designed in traditional Greek style and the front portion of the church following the traditional Roman Catholic Church architecture. Behind the central altar, one can view the carvings, designs, and paintings, which include five joyful mysteries of Jesus Christ. The church also has separate facilities for confession and adoration. Devotees who arrive at the shrine make several types of offerings. While some climb the hill carrying the cross on their shoulders, which is a literal metaphor for the pain taken by Christ to purge mankind of its sins, others carry long brooms offering prayers for prosperity. Besides, there are some pilgrims who carry stones on their heads as a gesture to remove burdens from their lives. Apart from being a sacred place and a pilgrimage spot, Malayattoor has abundant natural beauty surrounded all around until the top of Kurishumudi Hill, which itself is a mesmerizing experience.
Malayatoor is best known for the Catholic Church, which is dedicated to St. Thomas.