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Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Dolours or Puthen Pally in Thrissur- A Must See Christian Church in Kerala, South India
Thrissur can easily be identified as the religious hub of Kerala in South India. Both Hindus and Christians have their prominent shrines here. You will find plenty of temples and churches lined together in Thrissur, a place known as 'the Cultural Capital of Kerala'. Its neighbouring districts are Ernakulam (Kochi), Palakkad and Malappuram.
Though a Hindu-dominated region, what makes Thrissur a different land is its rich presence of beautiful Churches and notable Christian establishments in and around the town. This also marks the religious tolerance and harmony of Kerala.
The Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Dolours or locally known as “Puthen Pally” (in Malayalam Puthen Pally means the new church) is the most beautiful and archaeological wonder of the district. This is a minor Basilica of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church and is the third tallest Church in Asia. A visit to this holy site, I am sure, will calm your spirit and give you some spiritual solace. Let’s take a stroll through this engineering marvel of olden times.
- Christianity in Kerala
In India Christianity is believed to be started from Kerala. It spread to other regions of India from Kerala. Christians have done tremendous work in the field of education, healthcare and helped Kerala to reach a high level standard as we see now.
Video on the Church
The foundation stone of the Church was laid on December 21, 1929. That time India was under the British raj. It took nearly 11 years to complete its first stage of construction. The Church is so blessed by the visit of the Pope, John Paul, II. His visit is described as a historic event. The Pope uplifted this shrine as a Basilica. The construction took nearly 77 years to complete. The newly built "Bible Tower" was opened on December 3, 2006.
The Basilica has some unique features, which is listed below.
The Basilica is built in Gothic art. It has an area of 25,000 ft. The most attractive and visited establishment here is the newly constructed Bible Tower. The Basilica is spread over an area of 25,000 soft. The whole building structures painted in pure white is a treat to our eyes and a true symbol of serenity.
The tower is 260 ft tall and is built elegantly behind two towers of 140 ft height. This is the highest Church Tower in India. The tower offers a breath taking view of 15 km radius of Thrissur town. There is a cross on the top of the tower built in steel. It is of 15 feet height and is a delight to eyes in the night when the lights are on thanks to the thousands of LED bulbs planted on it. There a are a lot of paintings and carvings on the walls with features as noted below.
- Childhood of Jesus is carved in wood
- Healing of Jesus depicted in stained glass.
- Miracles of Jesus in brass.
- Suffering of Jesus Christ in oil paints.
- Beautiful paintings of Apostles in terra cotta.
- Mural prints of the life history of St. Thomas (who established Christianity in Kerala).
- The glorious resurrection of Jesus depicted in canvas.
There is lift facility to reach the top point. It is approximately at a height of a 20-floor building. When you press the lift switch for the 5th floor, you are actually taken to the 20th floor, an information the lift operator passed. After observing all the spectacular scenes around, please use the staircase to climb down for it will help you to inspect and study the paintings/carvings described above. Or else, you will miss it all.
When you reach the 260 ft top of the Bible Tower, take a look through the pigeon halls or windows. You will be excited on the enchanting surrounding panorama. What a fascinating scenery around! It is a breathtaking view of about 15 km radius of the Thrissur town. The typical greenery of Kerala, tall Church buildings, temples, ancient and modern building, moving vehicles and so on. The scenes are endless and sure to capture your heart instantly.
How to reach
The Church is in the heart centre of Thrissur town. There are plenty of buses and trains to Thrissur. Ample parking facilities available in front of the tower (Tower Square).
Bus Stop: Swapna/Hospital Junction/Municipal Bus Stand (depends on the direction you come from).
Tuesday to Friday: 10 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 6 pm (Lunch break 1 pm to 2 pm).
Saturday & Sunday: 10 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 7.30 pm)
Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Dolours
Thrissur-680 001, Kerala
© 2014 Sunil Kumar Kunnoth