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Velankanni Tourism

Velankanni is a Special Grade Panchayat Town in Nagapattinam district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It lies on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal, Velankanni is one of the most visited pilgrim centres in India. It is a town situated on the shores of Bay of Bengal. This renowned shrine Basilica of our Lady of health draws pilgrims from all over the world. Not only Christians but also the people of other faiths come to this Church to pray at the shrine of Our lady of health.

Velankanni

Velankanni has one of the country’s biggest Catholic pilgrimage centres, the Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health. Devoted to Our Lady of Good Health, it is popularly known as the “Lourdes of the East”. Its origins can be traced back to the 16th century. The church’s founding is attributed to three miracles: the apparition of Mary and Jesus to a slumbering shepherd boy, the curing of a lame buttermilk vendor, and the survival of Portuguese sailors assaulted by a violent sea storm. It is built in the Gothic style, was modified by Portuguese and then further expanded later on due to the influx of pilgrims. The church building was raised to the status of basilica in 1962 by Pope John XXIII. Annually, 20 million pilgrims flock to the shrine from all over India and abroad, out which an estimated 3 million people visit the shrine during its annual festival from 29 August to 8 September. The 11-day annual festival concludes with the celebration of the Feast of the Nativity of Mary on 8 September.

Sightseeing Points In Velankanni

Velankanni Tourism

The Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health, also known as Sanctuary of Our Lady of Vailankanni, is a Marian shrine located at the small town of Velankanni. The Roman Catholic Latin Rite Basilica is dedicated to Our Lady of Good Health. Devotion to Our Lady of Good Health of Velankanni can be traced back to the mid-16th century and is attributed to three separate miracles at the sites surrounding the Basilica: The apparition of Blessed Mary and the Christ Child to a slumbering shepherd boy, the healing of a handicapped buttermilk vendor, and the rescue of Portuguese sailors from a deadly sea storm. These accounts are mere oral lore with no written record or attested sources to support them.

The first Marian apparition is said to have occurred in May 1570, when a local shepherd boy was delivering milk to a nearby house. Along the way, he met a beautiful woman holding a child, who asked for some milk for the little one. After giving her the milk, he continued on his way, and upon making the delivery discovered that the jug was now completely full of fresh, cool milk. A small shrine was built near the site where the boy encountered the woman, a location that came to be called Matha Kulam, which means Our Lady’s Pool.

The second Marian apparition is said to have happened in 1597, not far from Matha Kulam. A beautiful woman with a young boy in her arms appeared to a young crippled boy selling buttermilk. The little boy asked for some buttermilk, and after he drank it, the woman asked the boy selling buttermilk to visit a gentleman in the next town and ask him to build a chapel in her honour at that location. The boy set out quickly and realized that he was no longer lame. A small thatched chapel was quickly built in honour of Our Lady of Health, called in Tamil “Arokia Matha”.

The Third Marian apparition incident occurred when a Portuguese ship sailing from Macao to Sri Lanka was caught in a storm in the Bay of Bengal. They invoked the help of the Blessed Virgin under her title “Star of the Sea”. The storm subsided and the 150 men on board were saved. It was September 8, the Feast of the Nativity of Mary. In thanksgiving, the sailors rebuilt the Shrine to Our Lady of Good Health and continued to enhance it whenever their voyages brought them to the area.

The shrine that started as a thatched chapel in the mid-sixteenth century became a parish church in 1771 when Catholics in India were under persecution from the Dutch. Later in 1962, it was granted a special status of a Minor Basilica by Pope John XXIII. The shrine of Vailankanni was elevated to the status of ‘Minor Basilica’ and merged with the Major Basilica of Mary (Mary major) in Rome on 3 November 1962 by Pope John XXIII.

Significance and pilgrimage For Goan and Konkani people, she is called “Shantadurga” (most compassionate one). This especially includes the use of Kotimaram, which has been described as an extended influence of Hinduism on Catholicism, thus making the Basilica a meeting point of two of the major religions of the world. Being a Roman Catholic Marian church, it is dedicated to Our Lady of Good Health. Virgin Mary is depicted wearing a sari. The usual time for the pilgrimage is during the annual festival between August 29 to September 6 and Christmas. Some pilgrims, instead of using a mode of transport, perform “walking pilgrimages” to it. They attend Mass, novenas, flag-hoisting and carry a palkhi of Mary in a procession. A major event is a procession, where only women are allowed to pull the first car and a statue of Mary is in the last and most decorated one. People of other religions also take part. The pilgrims sometimes shave their heads as an offering and perform ear-piercing ceremonies, both being Hindu traditions. Another ritual considered sacred is dipping oneself in the pond. There is a holy flag which is lowered to signal the end of the festival.

Tour Packages Offered From Velankanni

2 Nights 3 Days Chennai | Velankanni | Chennai Tour Package.

3 Nights 4 Days Bangalore | Velankanni | Bangalore Tour Package.

3 Nights 4 Days Chennai | Pondicherry | Velankanni Tour Package.

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FAQs About Velankanni

Velankanni has one of the country’s biggest Catholic pilgrimage centres, the Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health. Devoted to Our Lady of Good Health, it is popularly known as the “Lourdes of the East”. The church building was raised to the status of basilica in 1962 by Pope John XXIII.

Officially spelt as Vailankanni, this small hamlet is renowned for its Roman Catholic shrine, Basilica of Our Lady of Good health which is also known as the Velankanni Church. Also fondly known as ‘Lourdes of the East’, the shrine represents a melting pot of many cultures, international and religious harmony.

Our Lady of Good Health. Our Lady of Good Health also known as Our Lady of Vailankanni is the title was given to the Blessed Virgin Mary by people as she twice appeared in the town of Velankanni, Tamil Nadu, India, in the 16th to 17th centuries.

Velankanni Festival is one of the most important and colourful festivals of Tamil Nadu. Every year it is celebrated between 29th August and 8 September. It is celebrated at the Arokia Matha Church. The festival brings people of all the religions together.

Antonio de Rozario as the First Parish Priest. Velankanni church was raised to the status of basilica in 1962 by His Holiness Pope John XXIII.

A small hamlet in Tamil Nadu, Velankanni is a popular pilgrim centre, especially renowned for the Church of Mother Mary. As a great number of pilgrims turn up here, like Lourdes in France, Velankanni is nicknamed as Lourdes of the East. Velankanni is also famous for its delicate handlooms and silk.

Known as the ‘Lourdes of the East’, the Velankanni Church is one of the most revered pilgrimages for Catholics in India. The story of the church dates back to the 16th or 17th century when Mother Mary is believed to have appeared in this small village, with infant Jesus in her hands. The Church is built in a Gothic style.

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