This is a sacred land that attracts pilgrims of every religion from every corner of India because of the presence of the lofty Velankanni church-Our lady of health. It is believed that Mary, the virgin mother, appeared here with infant Jesus in the late 16th century. Budget and luxury hotel accommodations are available near to the church. Options are there to visit Kodaikanal-the hill station on the way back from Velankanni.
Velankanni is one of the most visited pilgrim centres in India. It is a town situated on the shores of Bay of Bengal, fourteen kilometers from Nagapattinam. This renowned Basilica of Our Lady of Health draws pilgrims from all over the world. Not only Christians but also the people of other faiths come to this church to pray at the shrine of “Our Lady of Health.”
This Basilica has been extended at the back of the original church and it has now two floors, where services are held everyday. The Gothic style of architecture is a unique feature of the Church. The church itself is an imposing building with inspiring architecture.
The Museum situated apposite to the Basilica has a very rich variety of exhibits that tell of the numerous miracles that have taken place, after praying in this church. The precious offerings made by the devotees are on display here. Biblical incidents are depicted on both sidewalls.
Timings to visit the church: 6.30 a.m to 8.00 p.m.
Festivals are celebrated here with pomp and gaiety. Every year on August 29th the feast of Our Lady commences with the hoisting of the flag. The 10-day festival ends on the 8th September and the flag is lowered.
The pilgrims who come here also follow the Hindu tradition of tonsuring their heads as an offering, and also perform ear-boring ceremony. This is a religious centre where Hindu, Muslims and Christian from all over India congregate in large numbers and worship in harmony.