Christianity came to India’s west coast in the first or second century AD. Syrian Christians in Kerala believe that it was St. Thomas himself, one of Jesus’s 12 apostles, “Doubting Thomas”, who arrived in the first century to start the early church. And it is also believed fervently by Tamilnadu Christians that he headed East across the peninsula and preached in Chennai, where he was martyred and buried. I’m staying in that part of the city, now called San Thome, and the San Thome Cathedral is nearby, a very holy place for Christian Indians.
The history is fascinating. Although India is barely 3% Christian ( in spite of many missionaries who came from Scotland, England, America, the Netherlands, and the Portuguese among others) over many centuries, Christianity has made a big mark on India, with schools, universities and hospitals founded by Christians.
San Thome is full of Catholic schools and folk. I will post more details after I visit the St. Thomas museum nearby, where some of his bones are reputed to lie.