One of the most revered Christian shrines in India; the Velankanni Basilica commemorates Mother Mary who appeared as a vision. Also called ‘Lourdes of the East’, the shrine is known as Our Lady of Good Health or Sacred Arogya Matha Church.
The Roman Catholic shrine stands on the Bay of Bengal in Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu. Not only Christians but people from other faiths also visit the shrine.
The Marian pilgrimage centre was declared holy by the Pope. According to legend, Mother Mary appeared before a shepherd and asked for milk for the Infant Jesus. A thatched chapel was built on the shrine. It is believed Mother Mary appeared again in the 16th century, which then lead to the construction of the church.
It is believed that Mother Mary possesses magical healing powers. Many people claim to have been relieved of illnesses after praying to Mother Mary. The feast also called the Arokkiyamatha festival is also another attraction of the town. It is celebrated between August 29 and September 8th.
Velankanni is also popular for its beach and museum. The beach at Velankanni is less commercialized. The museum located opposite to the Basilica showcases exhibits which testify to the miracles performed by Mother Mary.
Where to stay
There are several accommodation options in Velankanni. One can find budget, mid-range hotels, resorts and lodges. Being a pilgrimage centre, facilities are well developed.
Where to eat
There are several multi-cuisine restaurants, serving Indian, Chinese and international cuisine.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit Velankanni is from the last week of August to December. The feast of Our Lady held in last week of August witnesses heavy rush of tourists. Winter is the good time as humidity levels are low during the time.