Velankanni Church in ChennaiVelankanni Church is a famous tourist place in Chennai and is the most visited religious spots of India. Also known as the 'Mecca of Christians', it houses the main shrine of Mother Mary where she is respected and admired as the 'Lady of Health'. This strikingly beautiful church is situated at the Elliot's Beach at Basant Nagar, Chennai.
The meaning of the word Velankanni is “Virgin of Velai”, sometimes also pronounced as "Velankanni" or "Velanganni".
Millions of pilgrims visit this holy place famously known as the “Lourdes of the East”. Devotees from all over the world come here to seek peace of mind and religious harmony, thus leading this place assuming quite an international character.
History of Velankanni Church:The church was marked out around the mid-16th century. It is said that three main miracles have attributed to the divine origin of this church. The historical miracles are the apparition of Virgin Mary and Jesus to a sleeping shepherd boy, the curing of a lame buttermilk hawker, and the survival of Portuguese sailors who were attacked by a fierce sea storm.
These three major events led to the formation of a shrine, which is now famous as the Shrine of Our Lady of Velankanni. The chapel was built the saved Portuguese sailors. Although there are no written record for this, but it is always believed on the basis of strong verbal traditions.
Architecture of Velankanni Church:The unique feature of this church is its Gothic infrastructure and incredible architecture. The buildings of the church are painted in pure white color, while the roof is made of red-colored tiles. This provides quite a contrasting combination of colors.
Accommodation in Velankanni Church:The church offers the best accommodation at cheapest rates. There are both rooms and cottages are available for visitors staying. Boarding arrangements can be made at the Shrine’s 'Rooms Booking Office' which is situated opposite to the Vailankanni bus stand.
Around 50 to 100 people can stay in the 1,620 rooms and 11 halls available at this place. The room tariffs ranges from as low as Rs 40 to Rs 100 on a per day basis. Both A/C and non-A/C rooms are available for visitors.
The shrine canteen as well as the eating stalls on the main road, caters food for all standards of people. Both vegetarian and non-vegetarian are offered here at reasonable price.
There is quite a rush seen during the time of September festival. To cope with the increasing crowd of travelers, the people rents out their houses for stay.
The September Festival of Velankanni:The great Vailankanni festival is celebrated every year with great pomp and show. The fest starts from August 29 and continues till September 8.
A huge procession with an extraordinary flag hoisting ceremony marks the inauguration of the fest.
The chariot procession is carried out on each day of the festival.
Special mass prayers, candle-light parades and various other cultural programs are conducted for the millions of pilgrims staying for the festival.
Other Details of the Velankanni Church:
Connectivity: The Velankanni Church is well-connected to all the surrounding places by road, rail and air:
- Nearest Airport to Velankanni Church:
- Tiruchirappali at 165 kms (4 Hrs By Bus)
- Chennai Airport at 345 kms (9 Hrs By Train)
Nearest Railway Station to Velankanni:
- Nagapattinam (11 kms)
- Nagapattinam (11 kms)
- Bus Services around Velankanni:
Deluxe, semi-delux and luxury buses are available to Velankanni from Nagapattinam at every 15 mins. Other timely bus facilities are available from the major towns like Chidambaram, Chennai, Madurai, Pondicherry, Trichy and Thanjavur.
Timings: The Shrine Basilica opens at 5.00 a.m.in the morning and closes by 9.00 p.m. in the evening. Daily mass services are offered every morning at specific timings in different languages:
- 5:45 a.m.: Holy Mass in Tamil
- 6:45 a.m.: High Mass in Tamil
- 9:00 a.m.: Holy Mass in Malayalam
- 10:00 a.m.: Holy Mass in English
- 12:00 a.m.: Holy Mass in Tamil