I described St Francis Church in Fort Cochin as plain and unspectacular. The Church of St mary’s in Champakulam is the opposite. The building are simple but very beautiful. The church was supposed to have been built by the Portuguese in 1579 on the site of one of the 7 churches founded by St Thomas the Apostle in the 5th century. Now a Syrian Christian church the interior is described by the Rough Guide as ’extravagantly decorated Rococo, dripping with gold leaf and elaborate murals – some fusing elements of Hindu and Christian iconography’. It is spectacularly located on the banks of the wide River Pampa and it is a stone’s throw from where the houseboats dock in Champakulam. On our second visit there was a service in progress and the music and singing were enchanting. The women all stood on the right side of the church, the men on the left. When what sounded like a sermon started everyone knelt on the matting.
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