Idaikattur is a small and peaceful village about 30 km from Madurai city. People visit here for two purposes. On is to visit the Navagraha Temple and the other is to visit the world famous church here, which is believed to be built by the angels. It is estimated to be more than a 100 years old. After our visit to the Government Museum, we went straight to Idaikattur to visit the Sacred Heart Church.
It was built in 1894 AD by Fr. Ferdinand Celle SJ, who was a French missionary. We were told that the church closely resembles Rheims Cathedral in France. Inside the church and around the church there are 153 depictions of angels, which add to the beauty of the church. There are also 40 saints depicted on four elliptical wooden bowls.
It is cool inside the church as it is built with hollow bricks and there is a gap between the inner and outer roof. On the wall are depicted the life of Jesus and how he was crucified. Statues and stucco figures of saint, angels, Jesus, Joseph and Mother Mary are seen I the church and marveled at their beauty. O the attained glass in the southern and northern entrance we saw works that depicted the conversion of Kattayadevan from Hinduism to Christianity by St. John de Britto. Kattayadevan is the son-in-law of King Kilavan Sethupathi. King Sethupathi in turn sentenced St. John de Britto to death. This is also shown on the stained glass work.
The main altar is very beautiful and the major attraction in the church. It is 45 feet high with stucco figures showing God holding crucified Jesus in his hand. The Holy Spirit from his chest is surrounded by angels and the bright and golden rays of the sun. There are beads, flowers and garlands decorating Gothic arches. The church was very beautifully decorated and the interior was very calm and quiet, allowing you to pray peacefully in front of the altar.
We spent some time in Idaikattur Church Madurai marveling at the beauty of the church and praying. Then we came out and went back to the hotel, taking with us the fond memories of the church and the visit.