St. George Syro-Malabar Catholic Forane Church, is one of the most popular pilgrimage centres in South India. Also known as, Edappally Mar Geevarghese Sahada Palli or Edapally Palli, the popular tourist and religious centre is located at Edappally, Cochin( Kochi), Kerala. The nearest airport is Cochin International Airport, and Ernakulam North and South railway stations within the travel limits make Edappally Church a destination with good connectivity. One can reach the airport by travelling just 22 km from the Church. The Kochi Metro runs in front of the church.
The travellers who visit Kochi can definitely include Edappally St. George church in their priority list along with popular spots like Marine Drive, Fort Kochi, Vallarpadam Church, and Jew Street. Belonging to the list of India’s oldest churches, Edappally Mar Geevarghese Sahada Palli was built in 594 AD (some historians say it was in 593 AD). Experts say that the Church was primarily dedicated to the Virgin Mary. From the very beginning itself, the Church was an evident sign of secularism and religious harmony as it was built on a plot of land allotted by the Elangalloor Swaroopam, the Raja of Edappally. The old church was found incapable to accommodate the inflow of visitors and the new church was built in A.D. 1080 in the present location.
On 1 January 2001, the foundation stone was laid for the third Church by Pope John Paul II. The present church was consecrated in April 201, and it’s known for its architectural structure which is a combination of European and Keralite features. The new church has a built in the area of over 88000 square feet, and the main chapel is of 19500 square feet. The main chapel can accommodate 5000 worshipers at a time.
The statue of St. George is positioned in a small shrine in front of the church for reverence, and there’s a popular custom of bringing a number of vehicles from all over Kerala here to have St. George’s blessings.
The popular offerings at this pilgrimage centre are chicken and eggs. Edapalli Palli is also popular among all religions. And what’s more special about this Church? Every year, the Church conducts a nine-day festival in the month of April-May, which draws the attention of big crowds. No doubt, Edappally Mar Geevarghese Sahada Palli is one of the must-see spots when you ask yourself why you visit Kochi.