St. Thomas Church, Thumpoly


Thumpoly St. Thomas Church Marian Pilgrimage Shrine is a church in Thumpoly, Kerala, India, and is a well-known Christian Marian pilgrimage shrine of Kerala. Although commonly known as Saint Thomas Church, the fame of Thumpoly actually stems from its association with the Mother of God, Holy Immaculate Conception (Amalolbhava Mata), and her annual festival. The statue of the Holy Virgin Mary was first enshrined here between 1580 and 1600, marking a significant event in Indian religious history. Today, Thumpoly Church continues to uphold traditional rituals passed down through generations. In 1585, the Confraternity-Visionary Community was established within its walls. Also referred to as “Thumpoly Pally,” this church falls under the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Alleppey. It holds the distinction of being the second most important church in the diocese and is poised to be recognized as the second ‘Minor Basilica.’ The Christian presence in Thumpoly dates back to the 6th century AD when a small thatched church, known as “Thomapally,” was founded. Situated 6 kilometers from Alappuzha city, Thumpoly is easily accessible from various neighboring towns and cities, serving as a significant Christian pilgrimage site in Kerala’s Alappuzha district. Constructed with stone and wood by the Portuguese in the 1600s, this ancient church stands as a testament to its rich heritage. Protected by the Department of Archaeology, Thumpoly Church remains a cherished cultural and religious landmark in the region.

Since the 6th century AD, Thumpoly has been home to a small Christian community, marking the beginning of its Christian tradition. The establishment of the initial church, named “Thomaa Pally,” dates back to this period. In AD 820, during their journey from Manakodam to Kollam, bishops Mar Sapor and Mar Proth visited Thumpoli, where a cross was erected, later known as “Muthappan Kurish.” The present Thumpoly Church was founded in the 1600s, initially as a modest structure made of thatched materials. Between 1580 and the 1600s, a ship from Paris (Portugal or Italy) lost control in the Arabian Sea due to adverse weather, delivering a statue to be enshrined in Thumpoly Church. The establishment of the “Confraternity Culture” in 1585 marked another milestone. In the 1700s, the current grand church was constructed by the Portuguese, who built 23 churches in Kerala, making it the first of its kind. Despite earlier attempts to build a larger church being thwarted by wars and financial constraints, construction resumed in 1664, culminating in the completion of the present church in 1730. Thumpoly Church, adorned with the statue of the Mother of God, earned recognition as the first church in India to incorporate such rituals. This revered figure, also known as “Kappalottakaari Amma” or “sailors’ mother,” arrived between AD 1580 and the 1600s. The Confraternity festival celebrating the Immaculate Conception at Thumpoly Church holds significant historical importance. Additionally, Thumpoly Church and Poomkavu Church, situated close to each other in Alappuzha district, are vital Christian pilgrimage sites, with the latter being renowned for its Holy Week pilgrimage.

The construction of Saint Thomas’s Church in Thumpoly is notable not only for its large size but also for its unique design, thanks to Giacomo Fenicio, who led the project. Appointed in 1584 to head Saint Andrew’s Mission, where the church is located, Fenicio was a former professor of mathematics and astronomy at the King of Kozhikode’s court. His expertise contributed to the design of several churches in the region, as mentioned in letters from Jesuits of that era. The church’s construction began in 1602, after the King of Cochin allowed the old church to be replaced with a new stone and mortar building. This event was celebrated with grand ceremonies attended by the king.

The church features a distinctive facade divided into five sections, including two towers that enhance its design and provide access to the two-story side galleries made of stone. These galleries, with their barrel vaults and second-floor verandas supported by thick columns, draw inspiration from two-story cloisters in civil architecture, showcasing Fenicio’s innovative approach. Although the towers’ tops have been modified and no longer stand out as much, they remain unique among the Indo-Portuguese churches in southern India.

Inside, the church has a wide nave focusing on the high altar, framed by a triumphal arch and flanked by two altars with alter pieces. The interior walls feature a decorative plaster scheme that adds to the architectural beauty of the space. Despite changes over time to the doors and windows, the original design’s geometric precision and the relationship between the nave, galleries, and facade have been preserved. The back of the facade’s towers retains the old windows with circular lintels and a classic frontispiece topped by cannonball finials, indicative of Portuguese architecture and providing insight into the church’s original 17th-century design.

Saint Thomas’s Church in Thumpoly, with its unique facade and side galleries, marks an important milestone in the study of Indo-Portuguese church architecture, especially within the context of the “mountain Christian” community. Its design and construction reflect a significant period in the architectural history of the region.

Annual Feast Day

Feast Day : November 27 to December 15

The annual feast day of St. Thomas Church, Thumpoly, is celebrated from November 27 to December 15 every year at Thumpoly Church.

Mass Timing

Weekly Masses :

Monday to Friday : 6:30 am, 5:30 pm

Weekend Masses :

Saturday :  6:30 am 11:00 am (2nd Saturday), 4:30 pm

Sundays : 6:00 am, 8:30 am, 5:30 pm

Church Visiting Hours

  • Monday to Sunday  : 5 am–8 pm

Contact Info


Phone No.

Phone: 0477-2244959




The nearest major airport to the St. Thomas Church, Thumpoly is  Kochi International Airport. which is 80 km away from the Shrine.


The nearest Railway to the St. Thomas Church, Thumpoly is Alappuzha Railway Station,. which is 4.8 km away from the Shrine.

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