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.