Situated about 47 km from Kochi, Malayattoor is famous for the Catholic Church, located on top of the Malayattoor hill, at a height of 609 m. Dedicated to St. Thomas the apostle of Jesus Christ, thousands of pilgrims gather here for the annual festival of 'Malayatoor Perunnal', held during the months of March /April.
Sailing in an Arab merchant vessel, St. Thomas is believed to have landed at Kodungalloor port in Kerala, in AD 52. It is believed that St. Thomas took the initiative for establishing a Christian community at Malayattoor. In his journey through the length and breadth of the land, St. Thomas founded churches in Kodungalloor, Quilon, Niranam, Nilakkal, Kokkamangalam, Kottakavu and Paalayoor.
Blessed by natural bounties Malayattoor offers ideal environs for those seeking spiritual happiness. Nowadays, the hill shrine at Malayattoor has emerged as the largest pilgrim centre in the name of St. Thomas in India. Here, the big and auspicious occasion is the feast of St. Thomas, which is observed on the first Sunday after Easter, when thousands throng the shrine for his blessings.
Those interested in the architecture of the church would find it highly interesting. It has a combination 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 find the carvings, designs and paintings, which include the five joyful mysteries of Jesus Christ. The church has separate facilities for confession and adoration. The ancient baptismal pond and the traditional pulpit are of historical relevance.
From the hill side, one can watch the soothing sight of the smooth flowing Periyar river, which itself would make the minds of pilgrims calm and serene. The church provides facilities for bathing in the river. According to a custom observed here, pilgrims shave their hair and beard before bathing in the river
Devotees arriving at the shrine make several types of offerings. Some climb the hill carrying cross in their shoulders; women folk would carry long brooms with them with prayers for prosperity. Some pilgrims carry stones on their heads, an offering that is meant to remove burdens from their lives. There are various religious rituals in the parish church and at the top of the mount. Some of the services include high mass, ordinary mass, Novena, Adima, Vedi Litany etc.