Well, don’t let the ‘mount’ in the name throw you off. St. Thomas Mount is actually a tiny little hillock at the heart of Chennai, overlooking the airport on one side. There’s a suburban train station with the same name, but I wonder how many locals have actually tried to explore this quaint place!
Being the sunset freak that I am, my primary motivation to visit this place had been to capture decent sunset shots over the landscape. Well that and the fact that I do really admire churches and the kind of tranquility that prevails around them. With that in mind, I wouldn’t suggest anybody to visit this on a Sunday evening unless you don’t mind the prayers and hymns blasting through the speakers wherever you go.
Getting here is easy enough, one could either drive all the way up. Or better, take the 135 steps to the top! Easy-peasy and you get to enjoy the scenery as well. The entry to the hill is open from 6 AM to 8 PM, so if you can make it I would heartily suggest making the trip either early in the morning or just when the Sun is setting.
To give you a little history of the place, St. Thomas Mount is deemed to be a holy ground as this is where St. Thomas, one of the apostles, was martyred. They have some rare relics on display including a finger bone of the Saint himself. While the church itself is very unassuming, it is charming nevertheless and has some nice artwork. There’s a side chapel which has the Last Supper in bas-relief which I thought was pretty cool! I suppose the actual mass is undertaken outside in the pavilion as the church is indeed very small.
This place is something I would definitely suggest everybody to visit for a change of perspective. Chennai looks amazing from a height, and the vast plains of the airport runway to one side just sweeten the deal. The cherry on the cake is of course getting to catch the Sun like this. It’s like the sky is playing with a paint can, splashing these gorgeous swirls all around.