Despite consensus among historians to the contrary, many Syrian Christians of India trace the origin of their church to St. Thomas the Apostle, believed to have attained martyrdom here in Chennai according to local myth. From the 17th century, this part of Chennai was populated predominantly by Anglo-Indians.
A shrine dedicated to "Our Lady of Expectation" (Mother Mary) was built in 1523 on top of the mount. It is believed that the altar of this shrine was built on the spot where St.Thomas' death is believed to have occurred according to popular myth. At the northern foot of the mount, is a gateway of four impressive arches surmounted by a cross bearing the inscribed date 1547. A flight of 160 steps leads up to the summit of the mount. There are fourteen stations of the cross erected on the way to the summit.
A panoramic view of the city of Chennai as seen from the top of St. Thomas Mount.