Velankanni, on the coast of the Bay of Bengal in southern India, owes great part of its notoriety to Our Lady of Health, also known as the "Lourdes of the East". Vailankanni Means Virgin of Velai, the town, also known as "VALANKANNI" or "Velanganni", is a small town on the sandy shores of the Bay of Bengal. It is situated 350 kilometers south of Chennai and 12 kilometers south of Nagappatinam.
The city of Vailankanni, in the State of Tamil Nadu, welcomes thousands of pilgrims, who each year come to venerate the Virgin Mary. Like in other shrines, the Mother of God gathers her children in this basilica, where one can attend liturgical celebrations in English and Hindi, as well as in other local languages such as Tamil, Marathi, Malayalam, Telugu and Kannada.
The Velankanni Shrine is situated in the Velankanni village, which falls in the Nagapattinam district. It lies at a distance of approximately 350 km to the south of Chennai, the capital city of Tamil Nadu. The church is also known as "Our Lady of Good Health" and was built in the late 16th century. Later, modifications were made to it by the Portuguese. Velankanni Church of India is a colossal structure, which has been built as per the Gothic style of architecture.
The Velankanni in Tamilnadu, South India is very popular and famous for the myths associated with it of miraculous healing powers. The building is totally painted in white color, except for the roof that is made of tiles of striking red color. The serene and peaceful environs of the Vailankanni Church further add to its splendor.
Velankanni Matha - Our Lady of Health Arokia Madha
The Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health is located in the small town of Velankanni in the state of Tamil Nadu in Southern India. The Roman Catholic Basilica is devoted to Our Lady of Good Health. Devotion to Our Lady of Good Health of Velankanni can be traced to the mid-16th century.
Since the 16th century, several miracles and Marian apparitions to different individuals have taken place. The first apparition took place when a Hindu boy had gone out to get milk. On his way back, the Virgin Mary appeared to him and asked for some milk for her child, which she held in her arms. The boy agreed, but when he returned home he was demanded a reason for his delay. He explained all that had happened, and seeing a surplus of milk, everyone realized that none was missing. The boy took his master to the place of the apparition and the Virgin once again appeared to him.
Several years later, the Virgin Mary appeared to another boy, once again asking for milk, and the same miracle took place. Furthermore, this boy, who was a cripple, was cured. This time the Virgin Mary requested that they build a chapel in her honor, and so it was done. The chapel soon became a place of veneration to Mary, Our Lady of Health ("Arokia Matha").
However, the story does not end here. Miracles have continued to happen; in particular, the miracles that occurred in the 17th century and in 2004. In the 17th century, a merchant ship from Portugal was wrecked on the coast of the gulf. The sailors invoked the Virgin Mary, Star of the Sea, and promised to build a shrine in her honor if they reached land safely. They were miraculously saved by the Virgin and upon their arrival they were taken to the Chapel that was built in honor of Our Lady of Vailankanni. They transformed the simple chapel into a shrine, which in time has undergone several restorations until turning into a truly majestic sanctuary. On November 3rd, 1962, Pope John XXIII elevated the Shrine of Our Lady of Velankanni to the rank of basilica.
Tsunami at Velankanni
In 2004 there was a great tsunami. The area of Vailankanni was one of the most devastated areas. When the waves invaded the city, 2000 pilgrims were in the shrine attending mass. The shrine was miraculously spared, while the waves destroyed remaining buildings in the city. In this way, Our Lady of Health has shown herself to be the caring Mother who protects her children of Vailankanni, India and the entire world.
Festival at Velankanni Matha Basilica
Velankanni Church is one of the holy Tourist destination for Travelers. The world famous Shrine of Our Lady of Velankanni Matha Church festival is celebrated every year from August 29 to September 8. September 8 is considered favorable because it was the day the Portuguese sailors first landed in these parts and they built the first actual church.
Velankanni Tourism Tamil Nadu
1) Velankanni is one of the important Tourist Destination in Tamilnadu.
2) Velankanni is called in different names like Vailankanni, Velanganni and Velankanni Temple.
3) Velankanni basilica office situated just opposite to the Vailankanni bus stand.
4) In Velankanni accommodation and Canteen Facilities are also available.
5) Church Timings in Velankanni: Velankanni shrine is kept open from 5.00 a.m. to 9.00 p.m.
6) Our Lady of Lourdes statue is popular in Velankanni and prayed to get Good Health.
7) Velankanni holy place for Christianity in India.
How to Reach Velankanni, Tamilnadu?
Velankanni by Train : Vailankanni has its own railway station, but the connectivity is poor. Nearest railhead to Vailankanni is Nagapattinam, which is just 12 kms away from the holy city of Velankanni. Nagapattinam is well rail connected to all major cities in India through Chennai and Tiruchirapalli. Taxi services can be availed from Nagapattinam to Vailankanni for a charge of about Rs. 250.
Velankanni by Air : Nearest airport to Velankanni is at Tiruchirappali at distance of about 165 kms. It is well connected to Chennai airport by regular flights. Taxi services are available from Tiruchirappalli to Velankanni for a fare of about Rs. 2000.
Velankanni by Bus : Velankanni has been well connected with most probably all the major towns and cities in Tamilnadu and also Velankanni has been well connected to the major cities of other states like Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. You can get bus from Madurai, Kanyakumari, Chennai, Trichy, Pondicherry, Trivandrum and Thanjavur to Velankanni. Deluxe tourist buses operate between Velankanni and many major cities in South India.
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