Famous Churches in Chennai

Famous Churches in Chennai

Chennai, a city steeped in history and culture, is home to a myriad of stunning churches. Each of these churches is a testament to the city's rich heritage, reflecting the influence of the Portuguese, French, Dutch, and British who left their architectural imprint during their time in India. If you've visited a few churches in Chennai and thought you've seen them all, think again. The city's ecclesiastical landscape is far more diverse and expansive than one might imagine. From towering cathedrals to quaint chapels, each church has its own story to tell, and its charm to reveal.

For architecture enthusiasts, these churches are more than just places of worship. They are architectural marvels that offer a glimpse into the city's past, its colonial influences, and its spiritual traditions. So, if you're looking to explore Chennai's architectural diversity, here's a list of some of the most popular churches that should be on your bucket list. Each one is unique, each one is beautiful, and each one is waiting to be discovered. So, embark on this spiritual and architectural journey and witness the grandeur of Chennai's churches.

San Thome Basilica

San Thome Basilica, a Roman Catholic minor basilica in Chennai, is one of only three churches in the world built over the tomb of an apostle. The current structure was built by the Portuguese in 1523 AD and later renovated in the neo-Gothic style in 1896. The church has a rich history, with missionaries from Goa and Bombay-Bassein rebuilding the shrine over the tomb of Thomas the Apostle in 1521. Pope Paul V made the church a cathedral in 1606, and it continues to be a place of worship and pilgrimage today, attracting devotees from around the world. The Basilica stands as a testament to enduring faith and architectural grandeur, representing the rich cultural heritage of Chennai. It’s a must-visit for anyone interested in history, architecture, or spirituality. Indeed, it is regarded as one of the most famous historical sites in Chennai.

Location : Mylapore

Address : 38, Santhome High Rd, Dummingkuppam, Mylapore, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600004

Establishes in : 1523

Timings : 6 AM to 9 PM

Denomination : RC

Annai Velankanni Shrine

Velankanni Church, also known as the Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health, is a cherished sanctuary in Chennai. Constructed by Portuguese missionaries in the 16th century, it is a testament to enduring faith and devotion. The church, fondly referred to as 'Annai Vailankanni Shrine', showcases a unique blend of traditional Indian and Gothic architectural styles. Open daily, Holy Mass is conducted in multiple languages. Located on the sandy shores of Besant Nagar, the church offers a peaceful environment amidst the hustle and bustle of Chennai. Its proximity to Elliot’s beach makes it a popular destination for spiritual seekers and beach lovers alike. With its rich history, architectural splendor, and serene environment, Velankanni Church continues to be a beacon of faith and a symbol of divine grace in Chennai.

Location : Besant Nagar

Address : 4, Annai Velankanni Road, Odaimanagar, Besant Nagar, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600090

Establishes in : 1962

Timings : 5 AM to 9 PM

Denomination : RC

St. George’s Cathedral

St. George’s Cathedral is a Church of South India cathedral with a rich history dating back to 1815. Known for its architectural grandeur. It’s not just a place of worship but also a historical monument, marking the inauguration of the Church of South India on September 27, 1947, an event that symbolized the breaking down of ecclesiastical barriers between Protestants of various traditions. Today, the cathedral stands as a beacon of faith and a testament to Chennai’s rich cultural and religious heritage, attracting devotees from around the world.

Location : Gopalapuram

Address : St. George’s Cathedral CSI Church, Cathedral Rd, Gopalapuram, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600086

Establishes in : 1815

Timings : 7:30 AM to 6 PM

Denomination : CSI

St. Thomas Mount Church

St. Thomas Mount Church, also known as Parangimalai, is a revered religious site in Chennai. Built-in 1523 on a hillock, the church is dedicated to "Our Lady of Expectation" and was once used as a lighthouse for Portuguese and Armenian ships in the Bay of Bengal. The church is associated with St. Thomas, an apostle of Jesus Christ, who is believed to have been martyred at this location. The church, accessible by climbing around 134 granite steps, has fifteen Stations of the Cross along the sides of the steps leading to the shrine. It is visited by people of different faiths and remains a significant symbol of the rich history and culture of Tamil Nadu.

Location : St.Thomas Mount

Address : St.Thomas Mount, Ramapuram, Parangi Malai, Chennai, St.Thomas Mount, Tamil Nadu 600016

Establishes in : 1523

Timings : 7 AM to 7PM

Denomination : RC

Little Mount Church

Little Mount Church, also known as 'Our Lady of Health'. This significant religious site is believed to have been constructed in 1551 by the Portuguese. The church is renowned for its grotto-like space, which is said to have been the hiding place of St. Thomas during his time in South India. This cave still bears what some believe to be Thomas' handprint, left when he escaped through a miraculous opening. Additionally, there are stairs behind the church leading to what is believed to be Thomas' footprint. The church is not just a place of worship but also a significant historical and cultural landmark, attracting both local and international visitors who come to pay their respects and learn about its history.

Location : Saidapet

Address : 66, Lourd Doss Grotto Rd, Little Mount, Saidapet, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600015

Establishes in : 1551

Timings : 4:30 AM to 9 PM

Denomination : RC

Christ The King Church

Christ The King Church, located in the heart of Chennai within the Loyola College campus, is a symbol of faith and architectural beauty. Built-in 1933 by an Indian mason under the guidance of French clergymen, the church's Gothic structure, marked by pointed arches and ribbed vaults, captivates visitors. A stairway of 157 steps leads to the cross atop the monument, offering a panoramic view of Chennai. The church hosts various festivals and carnivals, adding vibrancy throughout the year. Christ The King Church, with its rich history and architectural splendor, offers a serene retreat in the bustling city of Chennai.

Location : Nungambakkam

Address : Loyola College, Campus, Tank Bund Rd, Nungambakkam, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600034

Establishes in : 1933

Timings : 6 AM to 6:30 PM

Denomination : RC

St. Mary’s Church

St. Mary's Church, located at Fort St George in Chennai, is the oldest Anglican church East of Suez and the oldest British building in India. Founded in 1678 by Streynsham Master, the English East India Company's Agent at Madras, the church was completed in two years and consecrated in 1680. The church has a rich history, having been used as a barrack and granary during the Second Carnatic War and Hyder Ali's invasion. Today, it stands as a testament to the enduring faith and architectural grandeur of the past, attracting devotees from around the world.

Location : Parrys

Address : Shankar Rd, Rajaji Rd, Fort St George, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600009

Establishes in : 1680

Timings : 9 AM to 5 PM

Denomination : CSI

Armenian Church

The Armenian Church in Chennai, built-in 1712 by Armenian merchants, is a significant monument symbolizing cultural exchange and historical legacy. Its belfry, with six bells, chimes every Sunday at 9:30 AM. The church, with around 350 graves, serves as a memorial to the once-thriving Armenian community in Madras, including Reverend Haroutiun Shmavonian, the pioneer of the world's first Armenian periodical, 'Azdarar.' Despite the dispersion of the Armenian diaspora, their legacy endures in Chennai, embodied in this architectural gem at Parry’s Corner. The church stands as a timeless symbol of unity, faith, and cultural heritage as Chennai continues to evolve.

Location : Parrys

Address : 60/116, Armenian Street, near High Court, Parry's Corner, George Town, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600001

Establishes in : 1712

Timings : 9:30 AM to 2:30 PM

Denomination : CSI

St. Andrew’s Church

St. Andrew's Church, also known as "The Kirk", is a historical and architectural marvel located in Egmore. Built to serve the Scottish community in Chennai, the church was constructed between 1818 and 1821, making it one of the oldest churches in Madras. The church showcases prominent features of Neoclassical architecture, inspired by St Martin-in-the-Fields in London. St. Andrew's Church continues in the Scottish Presbyterian Tradition and its form of worship and system of governance continue to be truly Presbyterian.

Location : Egmore

Address : 37, Poonamallee High Rd, opposite Daily Thanthi, Egmore, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600008

Establishes in : 1821

Timings : 9 AM to 5 PM

Denomination : Presbyterian

Our Lady of Light Shrine

Our Lady of Light Shrine, also known as the Luz Church, is a historical Roman Catholic shrine situated in Mylapore. Built-in 1516 by Portuguese missionaries, it stands as one of the oldest European monuments in India. The name "Luz" originates from the Portuguese word for light, "Nossa Senhora da Luz", signifying the church's dedication to Our Lady of Light. The architecture of the church is a fusion of Gothic arches and Baroque ornamentation. The interior is adorned with stained glass windows that add a vibrant hue to the divine ambiance. The church also holds Sunday Mass at various timings in Tamil and English.

Location : Mylapore

Address : 156, Luz Church Rd, CIT Colony, Mylapore, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600004

Establishes in : 1516

Timings : 6 AM to 9 PM

Denomination : RC

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