According to legend, St Thomas, a disciple of Christ, lived out the remainder of his days in a rocky cave, known as Little Mount (Chinnamalai). A small opening near the cave is supposedly the tunnel exit that St Thomas escaped from when fleeing from his assailants. He fled to St Thomas Mount (Parangi Malai), just under 2 miles (3 kilometers) away from Little Mount, where he was later martyred while praying on top of the hill in 72 AD.
Today, Little Mount is home to a Portuguese church dating back to 1551, as well as a small alter to St Thomas in the rocky cave opening and a palm print believed by some to be left by Thomas himself as he fled. Reaching the Church of Our Lady of Expectation, built in 1523 on St Thomas Mount, requires climbing 135 steps with the Stations of the Cross along the way. A stone cross that was excavated by the Portuguese in 1547 was inlaid into the wall of the church’s altar.