CategoryTravel

St. Thomas comes to Chennai! (Little Mount & St. Thomas Mount)

Location: Little Mount & Saint Thomas Mount, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

It’s good to be back home for the holidays. I laze around for the first couple of days thinking what to do next. So I decide to make a small trip to Little Mount and Saint Thomas along with my Grandmother’s Sunday school.


A little on Saint Thomas background. St. Thomas AKA ‘The twin’ or was one of Jesus’ 12 disciples. His most significant moment in the bible was when all the disciples had seen he didn’t believe that Jesus had risen from the grave and he only would if he touched Jesus’ wound and ended up doing exactly as said. Hence also the name ‘Doubting Thomas’. And then Jesus sent his disciples to different parts to world to tell them about the good news. And Thomas was sent to India. And everything after that is just a blur. With evidence we are able to tell tiny bits of the story but other than that every one is just in the dark about what really went down in India. It’s been told that he came to North India and went to Kerela where he established some churches but that is irrelevant to this post as I’m only focusing on what happens after he meets the Tamils. I’m tamil and I feel honoured to know that one of the disciples were sent to my hometown to talk about the word and all and we err….. killed him. It was an honour to kill Thomas too (Sarcasm isn’t very evident in script form). If you didn’t know, Saint Thomas died in India. So let’s move over to our first location.

LITTLE MOUNT


So I made my way up an small flight a stairs into the area which is supposed to be the place where Saint Thomas hid for some time from his escape from the natives. The place is now all neat and tidy which in a way was a little upsetting.

The floors were cemented, there were two churches and statue depicting apparently great saints. I’m a Christian and it isn’t in the habit (or atleast mine) of worshipping saints. The reason for my mood was because this was supposed to be the wilderness and a place where he hid and now it’s all cleaned up and nice. Now no one will know what it meant to be hiding in the wild little mount.

We enter the church and by the side of the altar is the small entrance to the cave where he hid for a while.

We squeezed ourselves through. The sealing was very low and I started feeling a bit clautrophobic. The cave was lit by a few tube and in the front was a statue of God and a few writings (obviously not apart of the original cave). Then there is this small barred window through which St. Thomas apparently squeezed himself out to save himself from the people. There is a large rock on the floor with the Hand print of Saint Thomas.

Coming out there is this big, well you cant say pillar with a stone in the middle which where you can see a foot print of St. Thomas. To the left is a small house inside which is the interesting stuff. When you enter, the first thing you will see is the ‘bleeding cross’. This cross was carved by Thomas and the magical thing about this croos is that a few times in the past, blood had seemed to ooze out of the cross. To the right of the bleeding cross was the ‘Fountain’. The story behind this fountain is that when Thomas was thirsty, he striked the rock and it created this fountain. It was a deep well and on top was board which claimed that it was the fountain which cured all diseases. The little children around all rushed to get a sip of this God given water. There is a small cup attached to a chain which served us well. Excited I was too to taste this holy water, I take the cup and practically bathed myself in it. The water, it felt……….like…….like……water?. Well it is water after all. Not that I was expecting anything. I walk out of the house to a sight of an uneven terrain filled with statue. This area is supposed to be the holy area. Though I think it has no significance to Thomas himself. It contained statues of Jesus in his different stages of carrying the cross.

Saint Thomas Mount:


This area is where you’d probably be able to see an entire summary of Chennai. Good tourist spot too. This is supposed to be the place where after Thomas was stabbed by a lance, ran all the way to this mount. There are 2 ways to get to this mount, One is by foot which is the most preferable way to get up. It’s a trek worth taking. Not recommended if your old and can’t walk much. I remember as a kid I would climb the mountain with my family every Sunday just so we could do a 5 min prayer sight see a bit and head back down.

The other way would be by transport up a gradual ascend. As we climb the mountain by bus, all the kids in the back started cheering and clapping and the beautiful sight. One of the little girls in the back shouted “Ulagamay theriyidu inga irindhu!” (I can see the whole world from here). What the kid said may not be accurate, obviously you can’t see the whole world. But that moment it felt like you were on top of the world, or atleast Chennai. The nice thing about this places that you have a beautiful view of the airport. You could spend hours watching planes take off and land.

With the church in the middle, you’d want to go in and check out the finger bone and toe bone of Thomas . Outside we have this sort of platform that over looks the city and this was supposed to be the place where the Pope blessed the multitude of people gathered at the feet of the mountain. This place has a big statue of the crucifix and a giant bowl with holy water.

We sat under the banyan tree and waited for the sun to set so we could see the city lights but didnt as it became too late. There’s also a Holy Convent which runs an orphanage. Kind of a mind changing sight from the beautiful view. Making you realise how blesses we all are for loving parents, a home and a beautiful life.

Santhome Basalica:
The only significance of this area is that it was the place were Thomas was buried. Though we didn’t go that day, I asked my Grandmother what exactly was there, she said that there was a big hole infront of the church when was the grave. The grave was dug up and his body was moved to Rome.

It’s good to know that India was one of the places which experienced Christ from his very own disciples. This place is the perfect place of blend of Religion and History.

Threading the ancient streets of Jinli!

Location: Jinli street, Chengdu, Sichuan, China.

Jinli is one of the biggest streets in Chengdu. If you’re ever in town, you have to check this place out. Its the perfect blend of all things Chengdu. If you’re a big foodie (Like moi), then it is mandatory you go to this place.
IMG_0795

IMG_0796

 

 

I went twice to this place, once in the morning and again once in the night. If you’re trying to decide what time to go, night time is the best, It was good solid half an hour before we reached the place and my legs were already killing (My legs don’t hold up for very long, kinda like Hazel and her lungs that suck at being lungs). Bad choice, if you ever want to get to the place and your not big on walking, its better to take a cab because there’s a whole lot of walking inside the place as well.
IMG_0810

The entrance was lit up so brilliantly with the beautiful red lanterns and a big sign at the entrance. It was hard trying to take a photo at this time because there were so many people and it felt so tight that everywhere you turned, you were photo-bombing someone’s photo. We spent a good 15 minutes at the entrance taking pictures which is a good thing because I think the entrance is the most picturesque part of the whole street. Getting lost inside the place is inevitable. Even on the second time to the place we got a little lost. There are small bars located along the whole way with someone playing a good tune. You’ll find shops along the whole way and it is a place where you can taste authentic chinese cusine. Original chinese food isn’t like the chinese food you have back at home.
IMG_0813

Real Chinese takes a lot more getting used to, especially the Sichuan pepper. The Sichuan pepper ladies and gentlemen is the most out of the world of experience. You won’t realise it’s happening until the very end. It’s a whole new level of spicy. It’s starts with a light tingling sensation of the tongue then gradually increases till it reaches the point of total numbing effect of your entire mouth. My friends, I come from a country which lives on spices but this was one of the most weirdest spice I ever tasted. I go up to the lady and told her I was going to take on the Spicy Beef Noodles. Lady puts extra pepper in mine.
IMG_0812
MISTAKE! *Cue dreadful music*. That didn’t go down well. But when you put the right amount and start having it on a regular bases, you kinda start liking it. I had been in Beijing a couple of months before and never got the chance to try the famous Beijing roasted duck and as the chinese say
IMG_0818
Bu chi kaoya, hui yihan” (You dont try the duck, you’ll regret it). So I decided to try the mini roasted quail (close enough) to put my regret at ease. The duck looked a bit groteque with the head and eyes but Hey! this girls done scorpions (In thailand). So I go ahead with the 10 yuan Quail. Its was good but I just wish the quail had more flesh on it.

If you ever get tired of the chinese food, there’s always a Dico’s (Chinese version of Mc’D). The Squid is one of my favorites and the Chinese’s take on BBQ squid is really good. The Chinese’s take on anything BBQ is really good.
IMG_0814

There’s this place where you could wear traditional Chinese costume and take pictures all over the street for a 100 yuan.
IMG_0854
IMG_0880
If your big on the whole thing then you should most definately try it. In the tea house there’s a display of making tea show kinda thingy. I guess they make the tea using Taichi moves or something. There most likely this girl laying some really soothing tune on the Guzheng which contributes to the relaxing feel which makes the tea house a good place to chill out.
IMG_0882
You should try out the Ear Cleanse if you feel ok with sticking stuff into your ear to get the tingly sensation. One of my favorite attraction was the cartoon artist. 200 is a little too much but the her drawing are truly amazing. Near her is the clay sculpting artist who is equally good.

If your into knick knack, gifts and jewelry this place is loaded.

I’d have to say that China have extremely open people, they are more upfront about their curiosity in foreigners. They come right up to you and ask where your from etc. There are times where random people come up to you and take selfies or photos with you like they’ve known you all their life. I guess it’s because of the history our countries share with each other. And me being extremely not ok with other people taking pictures of me was put into the this-is-awkward zone. It felt like an obligation as tourist to be all touristy and be ok with it but still felt uncomfortable, but that’s just me.

Overall the experience was one of a kind. Truly delightful. A must visit spot in Chengdu.
IMG_0885

Climbing Mount Qingcheng!

Location: Mount Qingcheng, Chengdu, Sichuan, China.

I consider myself a fairly good trekker, having conquered the Great Wall and all, I was feeling extremely optimistic about Qingcheng Mountain which happened to be one of the famous Taoist mountains in China.

 

Scenic view

So we started out from Chengdu and made our way to the place by bus, which was a 2 hour drive. Started at 11:00 or so in the morning. Reached the first temple fairly quickly, assuming that we were almost at the top we made our way up to the next temple, But little did we know that we still had a long way to go.

20140512_114735

The first temple area was more of shops with all kinds of knick knacks. The second temple area was a little higher than the first temple area, so the view gets higher and prettier.

351

By the third temple I lost track of the number of temple area we had completed partly because of fatigue. This is where most of the others decide to turn around and start making their way backwards. This is where all those years of trekking comes into play. It was the heart burn that you got from over exerting oneself that was hard to bare. The step were small but steep and there would be stretches that didn’t have any stops in the way, you had to make it completely up or else you would be holding up traffic.

20140512_120900

As you make it to the top most temple, the sight is just breath-taking. The temple itself is a sight to see. With a big statue inside it with big scented sticks. The way down is a little simpler.

20140512_133329

You can choose to walk down the same way you came up or you could take the cable cart. The cable cart would take you to the lake around which you would have to walk to make it to the exit. The cart would cost 35yuan per adult.

20140512_144326

The shops were another sight, there were statues and stones with the 12 zodiac signs imprinted on them. All along the way were farmers cottage which is where the food was to be found. There even small stall along the trek selling spicy potatoes, cucumbers, tofu and water.

20140512_145219

The shops even had these really light shoes which are very fashionable and comfortable even for the climb. Probably should pick up one while your there. Then it was a long walk to the eating place across the parking lot. It was a big feast with so many different kind of options.

IMG_4923

It wasn’t the best I ‘ve tasted in China but it was good enough to fill my hungry stomach after the long trek. We reached the restaurant by 4:30.

IMG_4955

Then after we left and it was a long trip back on the bus. Everyone asleep on the bus aware that tomorrow the pain would finally set into our legs and attending class would be impossible, even though I did go to class the next day.

The little group

The little group

349

© 2018 Anna Philips

Theme by Anders NorénUp ↑