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Velankanni - A Popular Holy Place in Tamil Nadu

Our Lady of Good Health - Velankanni Matha

Our Lady of Good Health - Velankanni Matha

Our lady of Good Health Shrine

Velankanni is a small hamlet and it is a popular pilgrim center in Tamil Nadu.

Velankanni is particularly well-known for the Roman Catholic shrine dedicated to "Our lady of Good Health". This tiny village located on the sandy shores of the Bay of Bengal 350 km south of Chennai and 12 km south of Nagapattinam on the Coromandel Coast, in Tamil Nadu.

According to a popular legend, Holy Mother Mary came into sight with Infant Jesus in Velankanni at the end of the 16th century. Since then, for all pilgrims of the world, Velankanni has been the most notable destination and almost the synthesis of all Marian Sanctuaries. Thus, the Pope of Vatican has declared Velankanni as a Holy place.

This Velankanni "Our lady of Good Health" shrine is considered a very powerful holy place in India where one is cured of any sickness when one who offers prayers with a true faith.

Our Lady of Good Health Shrine

Velankanni Church

Velankanni Church

The church itself is an impressive building with exciting architecture. The Gothic style architecture is a distinctive feature of the church. Whereas the structures have been painted white, roof of the church is made by the tiles with noticeable red in contrast to the color of the walls. The atmosphere around the church is spic and span shining rays of hope and holiness.

The Basilica Complex

Velankanni Basilica Complex

Velankanni Basilica Complex

History of This Church

1.Basilica, 2.Nadu Thittu shrine-site of second apparition, 3. Adoration & Reconciliation chapel, 4.Our Lady's Pond-site of first apparition, 5.Stations of the cross, 6.Stations of the Rosary, 7.Stations of the Sacraments.

.Sometime during the sixteenth century, Our Lady with her infant son appeared to a Hindu boy who carrying milk to a customer. While he reached under a Banyan tree near a pond, Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to this boy, asking him for milk to quench the thirst of baby Jesus and the boy gave her some. On reaching the customer's home, the boy apologized for his lateness and the reduced amount of milk by relating the incident that occurred on his way. On inspection, the man found the pitcher kept filled up with milk and they realized that something miraculous had happened. That man, also a Hindu, wanting to see the place where the apparition occurred, accompanied the boy. As a result, a small thatched chapel was built at the site.

At the end of the 16th century, Virgin Mary appeared again in front of a lame boy, who re-gained the use of his limbs. The pond where the apparition took place is called "Matha Kulam" or Our Lady's tank. The actual church was constructed by the Portuguese merchants after the incident.

Arokkiya Madha

Mother of Good Health

The Basilica

The Velankanni Basilica Complex View

The Velankanni Basilica Complex View

The Once a port that traded with Rome and Greece, the tiny trade center slowly lost its importance to the larger Nagapattinam. Our lady chose this place to distribute her miracles to mankind.

Vailankanni church was built in late 16th century and made many extension later on due to increasing number of pilgrims. As a great number of pilgrims turn up here, like Lourdes in France, Velankanni is called as "Lourdes of the East". Velankanni Church is popularly called as 'Sacred Arockia Madha Church. It is a famous pilgrimage destination not only for Christians but also for people of other religions. Velankanni is one of the most visited multi religious pilgrim centers of India. A strong oral tradition attests to Our Lady's apparitions at Vailankanni. Thousands of miraculous cures are reported every year. This church was raised to the status of Basilica by His Holiness Pope John XXIII in 1962.

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In this Shrine, holy masses are conducted in at least eight languages, Tamil, English, Malayalam, Kannada, Telugu, Konkani, Hindi and Marathi.

The Feast of Our Lady

The Festival

The most important festival here is the Feast of Our Lady. The festival always Commences on 29th of August every year, this 10-day grand festival commemorating the Feast of Our Lady is celebrated at the Velankanni Church.

Once the Holy Mother saved a few Portuguese merchant sailors from a powerful storm, which wrecked their ship. The merchants safely reached the shore of Velankanni.

On their return trip the merchants built a small permanent chapel to give thanks and pay tribute to Our Lady. On succeeding visits they improved on it.

Those Portuguese merchants dedicated the chapel to Holy Mother on September 8th to celebrate the feast of her nativity and to mark the date of their safe landing to Velankanni. Today, the celebration of this feast is an annual festival which lasts for 10 days and draws more than 1.5 million pilgrims.

Every year, a huge number of devotees and pilgrims are present at the ‘Velankanni Matha’ decorated feast car parade. It is the main function of the 11-day once a year feast festival of ‘Our Lady of Health’ that starts on August 29.

The decorated car procession usually begins from the entrance of the main church. Thousands and thousands of devotees attend the prayer and sanctification as well as holy mass in several languages for the festival period.

Holy masses and benedictions for the sick with the blessings of the idol of Our Lady of Health is as well performed at the main church. The special masses in Tamil, English, Hindi, Malayalam, Marathi, Konkani and Telugu are additionally performed in the Basilica from daybreak till dusk.

Holy masses in Local Language Tamil are performed every day at Our Lady’s Tank church, early in the morning during the festival period.

Annual Feast of Our Lady of Health

  1. Annual Feast is celebrated from 29th August to 8th September. (8th September the Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary).
  2. The Grand Annual Feast commences with the hoisting of Our Lady's Flag at 6.30 p.m. on 29th August. The Bishop of Thanjavur is the main celebrant on this day.
  3. Car Procession of Our Lady of Health, takes place at 8.00 p.m.
  4. Holy Mass is conducted in six languages, fourteen times a day during the Feast.
  5. Everyday hoisting of the Our lady's flag, takes place at 12.00 noon.
  6. The Feast Mass is celebrated on 8th September at 6.15 a.m. in the shrine open-air auditorium, presided over by the Bishop of Thanjavur.
  7. The Feast concludes with the dismounting of Our Lady's Flag at 6.00 p.m. on 8th September. The Rector & Parish Priest is the main celebrant on the concluding Mass.
  8. More than 2 millions pilgrims from all parts of India and from other countries flood the Shrine.

Prayers & Offerings

Centuries of devotion to Holy Mother both by Christians and Hindus and have evolved a union of practices borrowing basics from both religions. It is said that the portrayal of Virgin Mary as a curer of sickness and a victor over all black forces is seen by local Hindus as an attribute equivalent of Hindu Goddess Mariamman. The practices include bathing in the sea, shaving heads, walking on knees or rolling around the shrine as a ritual.

It is also familiar to find traditions of offering a candle in the shape of the respective illness (a heart in case of cardiac disease, a liver in case of jaundice, and lungs in case of tuberculosis... so on). In case of the sickness getting cured, many bring with them small gold and silver model of parts of the body that has been cured to donate to the church. Pilgrims clad in orange (or saffron) robes.

In many cases, these offering are sent by sealed bottles or big hollow bamboos duly closed and thrown in to the sea with the address of the shrine written on them. Such offerings are supposed to reach the holy Shrine.

Our Lady's Pond-site of first apparition

Velankanni Srine

Velankanni Srine

Devotees walking on their kneels towards the Pond-site

Pilgrims Towards Pond-site

Pilgrims Towards Pond-site

2012 Velankanni Festival - Vid

Other Churches representing Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health

♥ Velankanni Church, Besant Nagar, Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

♥ Velankanni Church, Vadipatti, Dindugal Dist., Tamil Nadu.

♥ Velankanni Church, Soolagiri, Hosur, Tamil Nadu.

♥ Our Lady of Velankanni Church, Ernakulam, Kerala.

♥ Church of Our Lady of Velankanni, Farla, Karnataka,

♥ Our Lady of Velankanni Church, Irla, Mumbai, Maharastra

♥ Our Lady of Velankanni Church, Chandigarh, India

♥ Our Lady of Health Church, UP.

♥ Our Lady of Good Health Church, Pratappura, India.

♥ Our Lady of Health Church, Sancoale, Goa.

♥ Our Lady of Health, South Florida, USA

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Velankanni Beach

Velankanni Beach

Photo Credit: Photobucket

Velankanni Beach

Visitors may also visit Velankanni Beach for shopping handmade crafts as it is an attractive shopping destination. Handloom products and silk fabrics are also available at Velankanni Beach.

Velankanni Beach - Vid

Velankanni - During the Tsunami

Velankanni was one of the most terrible hit areas in the 2004 Tsunami - (Aazhip Peralai) that came on December 26, 2004. Most horrible started happening at around 9.30 am on that evil Sunday. As the 8 am Tamil Mass was over, pilgrims from Kerala were inside the shrine to attend the Malayalam Mass. Sea water rising up to 5 feet even near Bus Stand area washed almost all who were standing near there. The killer waves entered the place of worship and a large number of people were washed away by the killer waves. Thousands of pilgrims were dead and they were buried in a single huge grave pit almost 4 km away from the church.

Velankanni During Tsunami

Velankanni During Tsunami

Velankanni During Tsunami - The day after Christmas, bodies lay strewn with indignity across a marketplace in the shadow of the Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health.

Photo and News Credit: India Today

How to Reach There

By Air:

Nearest Airport is at Trichy. It is an International airport with daily domestic flights to Chennai, Cochin, Mumbai, Bangalore, Madurai, Coimbatore etc., as well as many international flights. For Timings and Booking contact: Indian Airlines

By Train:

There is New Railway Station at Velankanni. Now you can approach Velankanni by Train. For Train timings and Bookings contact: Indian Railways.

By Road:

All Major Cities in Tamil Nadu are well connected with Velankanni. For Travel package and further Details contact: Tamil nadu Tourism Development Corporation.

Vasco to Velankanni

Train No. 17315: Vasco-da-Gama - Velankanni Weekly Express will leave Vasco at 9am on Mondays and reach Velankanni at 12.10pm on Tuesday.

In the return direction, train No. 17316 Velankanni - Vasco-dagama Weekly Express will leave Velankanni on Tuesdays at 2.10pm, reach Vasco on Wednesdays at 7.40pm.

Regular service will begin on August 29 from Vasco and August 30 from Velankanni.

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Hotels & Other Accommodations

The church management offers lodging facility at a very reasonable prise, while there are many other private Hotels in this town. If you want to availing church lodging facility - You should stand on queue in the counter to book a room and rooms are always provided on first come first served basis depending on the vacancy. On the other hand, private Hotels are providing advance booking. Single rooms to cottage houses are available in plenty.

During the month of January, April, May, June, August, September, December and during each and every Friday, Saturday and Sunday - getting a room is a difficult job, as lots of pilgrims pouring-in here. For advance bookings and details. Consult: TTDC

Ready To Velankanni ?

Vailankanni being situated in the Thanjavur District came under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Thanjavur. The Rev. Dr. R. Arokiasamy Sundaram showed keen interest in the development of Vailankanni Shrine and granted special spiritual privileges.

When to visit Velankanni?

Visiting Velankanni Church can be done throughout the year. October, November and February, March is just right time as the church will be less crowded and the climate will also be fine. Due to climate conditions it will be good to orchestrate during the months of October to March. The climate will be mild and cool in these months. A Visit during festival time will be a fun than a pilgrimage. Last week of August to September middle is the peak season as the festivities are celebrated. Every year millions of pilgrims from far places will be attending the car festival held on 8 September. During April to June will be very hot due to summer. During this holiday season, a large number of tourists, other than pilgrims visit the church.





Map Of Velankanni

It is Poll Time

Group of Visitors

Group of Visitors at Velankanni

Group of Visitors at Velankanni

Here Is My Guest Book

shashi bhushan tigga on April 10, 2015:

i am student of prayer.

TanoCalvenoa on October 21, 2013:

What a beautiful building, and I'm amazed by how old it is.

VspaBotanicals on October 18, 2013:


fcinternetmarketing on July 10, 2013:

Great work.

anonymous on July 05, 2013:

Such a beautiful place and story-

Elastara on June 28, 2013:

Oh this is interesting! I am always interested in holy places on earth!Hope to go there one day!

anonymous on April 17, 2013:

sukran - A great socio-cultural for Tamil Nadu! Cheers!

LouisaDembul on March 08, 2013:

We never think of Tamil Nadu as being the place for a Catholic shrine, well presented!

SteveKaye on February 10, 2013:

Thank you for publishing this wonderful lens about this amazing destination. Wish you the best.

myspace9 on February 10, 2013:

There is another beautiful and unique lens. Thanks.

anonymous on January 30, 2013:

Another impressive and informative lens by a true lens "master".

VspaBotanicals on January 29, 2013:

Absolutely fascinating to learn about the history of the church. I want to go there. :)

KimGiancaterino on January 26, 2013:

Very beautiful and a nice virtual getaway!

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on January 01, 2013:

Another place to visit. You made this very interesting.

ocoyorg on December 10, 2012:

It is very good that your lenses embody the all-inclusive spirit of India. Very informative.

anonymous on October 27, 2012:

Reading your lenses is quite an education. Thank you for presenting this information.

Kumar P S on September 18, 2012:

Great Lens ! Very well Presented.

Tara Wojtaszek on September 17, 2012:

Vailankanni looks like an amazing place to visit. Thank you for sharing this beautiful place.

Tia Novak on August 30, 2012:

I like this lens very much because I have learned something that I did not know before. Thank you for that.

anne mohanraj on August 26, 2012:

A nicely presented lens!

WriterJanis2 on August 25, 2012:

Hope you can enjoy the festival.

WriterJanis2 on August 25, 2012:

Hope you can enjoy the festival.

cynthiannleighton on May 22, 2012:

Beautiful lens! Though I've been to Chennai many times on business, as well as Coimbature, Mumbai, and all - not heard of this. If I return to India I will be sure to include a couple days for this. Thanks!!

Tolovaj Publishing House from Ljubljana on April 30, 2012:

Velankanni seem like really beautiful place. 'Life' experience must be astonishing!

brynimagire on March 26, 2012:

Woe wonderful lens! Thanks for sharing.

julieannbrady on February 02, 2012:

OMG! You have shared some majestic pictures ... Our Lady of Good Health Shrine is a fabulous monument!

anonymous on December 11, 2011:

Another amazing presentation by had me in tears with those post tsunami pictures, blessed.

indiavacationplans on November 17, 2011:

Very helpful Lens with great information and such cute pictures!

hlkljgk from Western Mass on September 16, 2011:

this looks like quite a place to visit. can't wait!

whoisbid lm on September 12, 2011:

definitely a great place to check out with the family

akumar46 lm on September 02, 2011:

I want to visit Velankanni for the healing of my daughter Ankita.Thanks you gave the full information through this lens.

celeBritys4africA on July 25, 2011:

Very interesting place.

elenareviews on July 23, 2011:

Gald to give you the 20th like.

Deb Kingsbury from Flagstaff, Arizona on July 18, 2011:

That's horrible about the tsunami. I can't imagine. But what an interesting, beautiful place, though! Love the photos.

anonymous on April 03, 2011:

Reminds me of many beautiful temples of Tamil Nadu, the architecture and aesthetics is stunning.

annieangel1 on April 03, 2011:

what an interesting lens, thanks for sharing it

Wanda Fitzgerald from Central Florida on April 03, 2011:

It's a beautiful shrine and nice information. I've never heard of it before.

navasri on March 26, 2011:

Hiiiiiiiii nice lens.... I heard about this holy place before, one of my friend has told me about this....

anonymous on January 23, 2011:

Beautiful lens and the image of the shrine is stunning. Well laid out lens in a neat layout.

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