Tuesday, 17 March 2015

The Velankanni Basilica






Tamilnadu is famous for its numerous ancient temples, believed to be over 3000 in number with a rich and long history, but it is also home to the Roman Catholic shrine dedicated to Mother Mary and is a major pilgrim centre. The Velankanni Basilica, commonly referred to as Our Lady of Good Health or Sacred Arogya Matha Church, is renowned to have miraculous healing powers and attracts over 20 million devotees from all over the world every year. The town was among the worst hit by the tsunami in 2004, but the shrine was safe and not touched by the nature’s fury.....

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Most people may have heard about Velankani in Tamilnadu in south India but wouldn’t know much about it. With the fine blend of history and divinity it has become a part of spiritual tourism in India. It is a divine place for the faithful and devoted Christians. Not only do the Catholics from all over, but people of other faiths too believe in the goodness and revere the church as Our Lady of Good Health. There are numerous stories of the miraculous power of the church.

On the shores of the Bay of Bengal, on the east coast of India is the quiet district of Nagapattinam, it is home to the most revered of all Marian sanctuaries in the world. The Velankanni Basilica, commonly referred to as Our Lady of Good Health or Sacred Arogya Matha Church, is renowned to have miraculous healing powers that attracts over 20 million devotees from all over the world every year. Christians believe in visiting it at least once to see the holy place for blessings and fulfillment of their prayers.

Annually over 20 million pilgrims visit the shrine from all over India and abroad, and an estimated 3 million people visit the shrine during its annual festival falling on 29 August to 8 September every year. The 11-day annual festival concludes with the celebration of the Feast of the Nativity of Mary on 8 September.



Velankanni is popularly known as the Lourdes of the East. As per the legend, the origins of this church can be traced back to 16th century and its founding is attributed 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 devastated by a violent storm in the sea.  It is built in the Gothic style, was modified by the Portuguese and then further expanded later to take in the influx of pilgrims. The church building was bestowed the status of a basilica in 1962 by Pope John XXIII.

The vision of Mother Mary is believed to have appeared to the shepherd, and she had asked him for some milk to feed the infant Jesus. The followers believe in the chastity and purity of Mother Mary and her miraculous healing powers. Perhaps one of the greatest miracles was seen in the year when the great tsunami hit the eastern coast of India destroying life and property all around; however the shrine was untouched and unscathed by the nature’s fury though it was not very far from the devastated area.

The church is located about 350 km south of Chennai and it is easily accessible by rail, road and air. Nagapattinam, 15 km away from Velankanni, is well connected via rail transport to all major cities in India through Chennai and Trichy. Tiruchirapalli International Airport is situated at a distance of 165 km from the church.

Also read:  Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Church, Goa

The Story of Milagres Church, Mangalore








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Picture Post:

Sri Krishna Temple, Udupi, 
Karnataka in India
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3 comments:

  1. A small hamlet in Tamil Nadu, Velankanni is a popular pilgrim center, especially renowned for the Church of Mother Mary. As a great number of pilgrims turn up here, there are plenty of hotels in Velankanni offering comfortable stay.

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  2. Velankanni is one of the most sacred Christian pilgrimage places in India. Velankanni is famous for the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Health. However, you can explore many places to visit in velankanni.

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