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India: Footsteps of St. Thomas & Early Christianity


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15 Days / 13 Nights, Cochin, Malayatoor, Kodungallur, Kottayam, Kumarakom, Periyar, Madurai, Trichy, Vailankani, Tanjore, Mahabalipuram, Chennai


Mount Mary Church, Bandra, Mumbai


DAY BY DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: USA


Depart today for our overnight flight to India. DAY 2: COCHIN


Upon arrival in Cochin you will be greeted and escorted by your Homeric Tours representative to your hotel. After relaxing and freshening up, your tour focuses on Cochin, a city still influenced by the medieval presence of Portugal, Holland and England. The tour includes the Jewish City with the Synagogue (built in 1568), the St. Francis Church, Mattancherry Palace (“Dutch Palace”), and the unique Chinese fishing nets near the mouth of the Arabian Sea. After, we visit the Bishop House in Fort Cochin Dom Jos Gomes Ferreira, the 27th Bishop of the Diocese of Kochi. Also we visit the Indo-Portuguese Museum which houses precious artifacts collected from various churches under the Cochin diocese. This evening, attend the colorful Kathakali Dance Drama at a local theatre. Dinner and overnight at the hotel. (D)


DAY 3: COCHIN / MALAYATOOR / COCHIN After breakfast we take an excursion trip to Malayatoor, famous for the Catholic Church, located on top of the Malayattoor hill and dedicat- ed to St. Thomas the Apostle of Jesus. 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 Kodungal- loor port in Kerala, in AD 52. It is believed that St. Thomas took the initiative for establishing a Christian community at Malayattoor. After your visit, return to Cochin. Dinner and overnight at the Hotel. (B,D)


DAY 4: THE ARRIVAL OF ST. THOMAS After breakfast visit Kodungallur and the Mar Thoma Church. This Orthodox Church features the blending of Protestant Reformation ideas with Eastern forms. Continue to St. Thomas Church which is believed to be found by its namesake. Afterwards visit the Muringoor Divine Retreat Center and experience insight into the strong Christian traditions that have grown to more than 30 million believers in India today. Dinner and overnight in the hotel. (B,D)


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DAY 5: COCHIN / KOTTAYAM / KUMARAKOM After breakfast, drive to Kottayam. It is one of the oldest orders of the Catholic Christian Church in India. In the vicinity are the shrines of: St. Kuriakose Elias Chavara, the founder of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate and of a similar one for women, the Congregation of the Mother of Carmel. Also visit St. Thomas Apostolic seminary Vadavathoor. Transfer to the jetty and enjoy a short cruise through the backwaters and then continue the drive to Kumarakom. Upon arrival check-in and overnight at the hotel. (B,D)


DAY 6: KUMARAKOM / PERIYAR WILDLIFE PARK After breakfast drive to Periyar. Visit with Sister St. Alfonsa in Bharananganam. Bharananganam is a name which is synonymous with St. Alphonsa, the first saint of India. This town is 5 kilometers away from Palai, which has become an important pilgrim center in Kerala. Later drive to Periyar, and its National Park. Rest of the day is at leisure. Dinner and overnight accommodations in Periyar. (B,D)


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