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, like Lourdes in France, Velankanni is nicknamed as Lourdes of the East. Velankanni is also famous for its delicate handlooms and silk.
Placed on the sandy shore of the Bay of Bengal, Velankanni is 350 km far from Chennai and 12 km south of Nagapattinam.
According to popular legend, Mother Mary appeared with Infant Jesus in Velankanni at the end of the 16th or early 17th century. Since then, for all pilgrims of the world, Velankanni has been the most important destination and almost the synthesis of all Marian Sanctuaries. Thus, the Pope in the Vatican City has declared Velankanni as a Holy City.
Fairs & Festivals
Commencing on 29th of August, this 10-day grand festival commemorating the Feast of Our Lady is celebrated at the Velankanni Church. Pilgrims from different parts of India and even abroad throng to the site, bathe religiously in the sea, and tonsuring their heads walk on their knees or roll up to the shrine as rituals.
Best Time to Visit
For a Tour to Velankanni, the best time to visit is in the months of August - September.
How to Reach
BY AIR -The nearest airport is at Tiruchirappalli (165 km).
BY RAIL -The closest railway station is at Nagapattinam, from where you can travel to all major cities in South India.
BY ROAD -Velankanni is well-connected by a network of roads, with buses available from all parts of the state to reach Velankanni.
Make your Tour to Velankanni memorable by visiting these famous tourist places near Velankanni :
- Velankanni Church:
The shrine here is dedicated to Our Lady of Health, the Madonna of Velankanni, and is well-known as Sacred Arogya Matha Church. Fully consecrated to Virgin Mary and the Heavenly Mother, this church has an extended Basilica. There is also a shrine of Our Lady of Sorrow, where the sorrowing Mother is portrayed carrying Infant Jesus in her arms.
- Church Museum:
Situated opposite the Basilica, this museum has diverse exhibits, with biblical incidents depicted on both sidewalls. Also, the precious offerings made by the devotees are displayed as well.
Places around Velankanni
Explore the land of Velankanni, visiting the places around it, while on a Tour to Velankanni :
One of the popular harbors of India, Nagapattinam on the Coromandel Coast is home to the Shri Kayahorana Swami Neelayathatchi Amman Temple, Sowriraja Perumal Temple, and Nellukkadai Mariamman Temple. Other places worth a visit here are the mini museum, the lofty lighthouse and the sprawling golden beach.
- Sri Rangam Temple:
The first Vaishnava temple in South India, this temple, located in Trichy, is the premier amongst the 108 Vaishnava divyadesas.