According to the local mythological references that Santhome came to India in 52 AD, was martyred in 72 AD at St. Thomas Mount in the city, which was interred in Mylapore. A church was built over his supposed tomb and today is known as the San Thome Basilica.
San Thome Basilica
San Thome Basilica is one of many churches that assert to have been built over the tomb of St. Thomas. This Church is commonly known as Santhome Church. The International Shrine of St. Thomas Basilica has an underground tomb-chapel where pilgrims can pray in front of the crypt of St. Thomas. The superstitious people believe that sand taken from the tomb has miraculous healing powers. Marco Polo the great Venetian traveller visited the tomb in 1292 and made a record of his visit in his travel diaries. The pilgrims have had to wait many years to get a little sand from the tomb, as it is only opened infrequently, at intervals of a few hundred years.
First Carnatic War
During the First Carnatic War, after the French East Indian Company captured Fort St George from the British East India Company, the Nawab of the Carnatic, Anwaruddin Muhammed Khan, expected the town to be handed over to him as overlord. Anwaruddin responded by sending a 10,000 man army under Mahfuz Kahn, his son, to take the fort from Dupleix, the French General by force.
Tension between French and Sultan
When Khan's forces approached the walls however, the garrison's gunnery compelled them to retire. French Governor-General Joseph François Dupleix sent a relief force from Pondicherry (Puducherry) that met Khan's army at the Adyar River. Although the army of French East India Company had only 300 troops, in the Battle of Adyar they executed a bold attack that drove the Nawab Anwaruddin Muhammed Khans forces into the town. The French East India Company expelled them and forced them to retreat towards Arcot. By this action the French ceased being suppliants to the local ruler.
Tourism in Santhome
Now, after independence of India from British Empire, Santhome became the place of historical monuments of medieval and ancient era. This beach served as the weekend gateway in Chennai.
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