Get Known :
Situation : At a distance of 12 kms from the southern side of Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu.
Popular as : Sacred Arockia Madha Church
Devoted to : Our Lady of Health
Significant Festival : From 29th August to 8th September there is a festival celebrated annually called the Velankanni Festival.
‘Mecca of South Asian Christianity’ is also the other name of Velankanni which has its location covering a distance of 12 kms to the southern side of Nagapattinam on the coast of Coromandel in Tamil Nadu. This holy place is devoted to Velankanni’s Madonna who is known as Our Lady of Health and is also popular as 'Sacred Arockia Madha Church' here all religions are welcomed.
Known more on church :
The church bears a magnificent façade with wings as cross shaped and tall spires. There is a sculpture of Our Lady of Health. As a part of donations there are many people who denote small silver and gold replicas of the body parts. Here you can also have a glimpse of the offerings made by the people whose prayer got conceded.
Myth in connection with the construction :
The story starts in the year 1560 when there was an appearance made by Virgin Mary to a shepherd demanding him for someone to feed her thirsty son Jesus. On the return of the shepherd’s journey to his master his vessel containing milk started increasing with milk. So, here was the construction of a tiny chapel. Towards the end of the 16th century again there was a manifestation of Virgin Mary before a lamb boy and after the divine tribulation he regained his limbs. This was the incident which actually gave a reason for the church’s construction. Going back to the myth of the church’s construction in the 18th century by the Portuguese sailors they had constructed this church because their lives were saved by the mother Virgin Mary during a horrifying storm. This area was brought underneath the Mylapore’s Diocese jurisdiction by the Portuguese. To memorialize the marvelous flight of the Portuguese sailors, a mesmerizing festival is celebrated each year.
Facet of the Shrine :
There is a miraculous angle connected to the stupendous shrine. In this church there is a tradition to offer a candle in the shape of their relevant ailment like for cardiac complication take a candle of heart shape red in color, yellow colored lungs for tuberculosis, for jaundice a liver and the list goes on. After the healing of the problem Virgin Mary is thanked by offering a replica of the part of the body that got cured in solid silver.
Fiestas Celebrated :
Every year from August 29th to September 8th, this is the period of a fascinating festival. On this auspicious occasion pilgrims throng here in large numbers to have a bath in the religious sea for clearing their sins and then after having bath they walk towards the temple on their knees.
Access Lanes :
Velankani being a significant tourist place is not difficult to access. This can be easily reached from Thanjavur, Chennai, Trichy through railway and you can also avail the bus facilities from Chennai, Chidambaram, Trichy, Pondicherry, Madurai and Thanjavur.
There are hotels suiting all budgets available in Naqapattinam.