From 16th Century To Now, The Past Still Lives On

Discover the beauty left behind by the Portuguese, the Dutch, the British, the Scottish, and the Irish in Tamil Nadu
Francis xavier
Francis xavier

When we think of Tamil Nadu, intricate and elaborate facades of temples come to mind. But in this Southern State, Christian traditions also impose a robust cultural hold. This part of Tamil Nadu&rsquos history began as early as 52 AD, when one of the twelve apostles, St Thomas, arrived. After that, during the colonial era, the Malabar Coast welcomed many Portuguese, Dutch, British and Italian Christians. 

As the State&rsquos Christian population increased, so did the presence of their places of worship. Presently, Tamil Nadu is home to over 1000 churches of different architectural styles, brought over by missionaries and disciples from different European regions. If you wish to dive deep into the State&rsquos cultural diversity, discovering these distinctly beautiful churches and their glorious past is the way to go 

The Portuguese Trail 

The Portuguese influence in Tamil Nadu goes back to before the British arrived. Unlike the British, the foremost reason why the Portuguese journeyed to the Coromandel Coast was in quest to find St Thomas, who was buried in Mylapore. Since then, the spot has been named Santhome, and grand churches have been built in his honour. Each one of them reflects uninhibited beauty and grandeur that can only be understood upon visiting them 

-Velankanni Church in Nagapattinam

-Lady of Glory in Pulicat

-Saint Thomas Cathedral Basilica and National Shrine of Saint Thomas in Chennai

-Pannimaya Matha Church in Thoothukudi

-Fort St. David in Cuddalore

-Holy Ghost Church in Manapad

-St. Xavier&rsquos Church in Tuticorin

The Dutch Trail

Stories of how the Dutch traded muslin cloth from the Coromandel coast is replete, but how it all began is still hardly known. As per lore, the Dutch chanced upon the coast when one ship stopped at Pulicat in 1602 CE, yearning for fresh drinking water. From then on, their influence reached far and wide across the State, as seen in the number of forts and churches they established. These are a few you can still walk through to understand the State&rsquos Dutch connection

Holy Trinity Church in Tuticorin

Fort Geldria in Pulicat

Saint Peter&rsquos Church in Nagapattinam

Our Lady of Immaculate Conception at Punnaikayal in Kanniyakumari

The British Trail 

The British influence in the State is a well-known fact, for this perfectly perched coastal State helped them establish lucrative trading centres at the beginning of the 19th century. As traders and missionaries flocked to the coast, they found their own institutions that continued to stand tall, reminding visitors and inhabitants of the thriving and dynamic culture of the city. To bask in the glorious past, visit the beautiful church and other monuments like 

-St George&rsquos Cathedral in Chennai

-Freemasons Hall

-Chepauk Palace

-Doveton House

-Connemara Public Library

The Scottish and Irish Trail 

When you look up Tamil Nadu, it&rsquos no surprise that many things the State is renowned for have been credited to the Scots and Irish men, who accompanied the British in their trading pursuits during the colonial era. From Dr Andrew Bell, the Scotsman who made the State&rsquos name stand out in the field of education, to Lord Connemara, the well-known Anglo-Irish Governor during the Colonial era&ndashthe Scottish and Irish influence has permeated deep and well. This can be well known through the many architectural wonders this State holds, especially these churches 

-St Andrew&rsquos Church in Chennai

-Anderson Church in Chennai 

-The Holy Trinity Church in Nagarcoil 

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