Velankanni: A Complete Guide


Velankanni is one of the most visited pilgrimage centers in India. It is a city situated on the coast of the Bay of Bengal. This famous Temple Basilica of Our Lady of Health attracts pilgrims from all over the world. Not only Christians but people of other religions also come to this church to pray in the temple of Our Lady of Health.

Knowing the importance of this city, the Pope has declared Velankanni as a holy city in the Vatican city. This Roman Catholic church has an extended Basilica, which has two floors where one can find a statue of Jesus Christ. The Gothic style of architecture is a unique feature of the church. The church itself is a grand building with inspiring architecture. While the buildings are painted white, the roof of the church is framed by striking red tiles in contrast to the color of the walls. The environment around the temple is charming and splendid. Shines rays of hope and purity. There is also a shrine of the ‘Lady of Sorrow’ where the grieving mother is depicted holding the infant Jesus in her hand.

Velankanni (Vēḷāṅkaṇṇi: ), officially written as Velankanni (Velai, Virgin of the City), also known as “Velangani” (due to the English transliteration from Tamil), refers to the world as Velankanni. Also known as the “Lourdes of the East”. Tanjore is a parish under the Roman Catholic Diocese and a panchayat town in Nagapattinam district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is a small town on the Bay of Bengal coast 350 km south of Chennai (Madras) and 12 km south of Nagapattinam on the Coromandel Coast in Tamil Nadu, India.

Once a port that traded with Rome and Greece, the small commercial center gradually lost its importance to the larger Nagapattinam. The name and fame of this International Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Health are based on three events that took place at Velankanni in the 16th and 17th centuries in three different periods.

History of Velankanni

Our Lady of Good Health, popularly called “Our Lady of Velankanni”, is in the small town of Velankanni (5000 inhabitants) on the shores of the Bay of Bengal. It is located 150 miles south of Madras and 5 miles south of Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu. Our lady chose this place to share her miracles for mankind. A strong oral tradition attests to the apparitions of Our Lady in Velankanni. The tradition is built around the following three important events:

During the sixteenth century, Our Lady appeared with her newborn son, a Hindu boy carrying milk to a customer’s house. While he was resting under a banyan tree near a Talab (pond), our lady appeared to him and asked for milk for her son and the boy gave him some. On reaching the customer’s house, the boy apologized for his delay and low quantity of milk by telling about the incident on the way. On inspection, the man found the pot of milk full and realized that something miraculous had happened. The man, who was also a Hindu, wanted to see the place where the apparition took place, went with the boy.

When they reached the tank, Our Lady appeared once again. The residents of the local Catholic community were delighted to learn that it was Our Lady who appeared to the boy. The tank in which the phantom took place is called “Matha Kulam” or Our Ladies Tank.

A few years later Our Lady reappeared. This time to a handicapped boy who was selling buttermilk near a public square on the outskirts of the same village of Valankanni. She asked him for buttermilk for her infant son and the promiscuous boy. Our Lady asked the boy to inform a wealthy Catholic man in the nearby town of Nagapattinam about his presence.

Not realizing that his crippled leg had been miraculously healed by Our Lady, the boy got up and began his journey. Last night the man also had a vision in which Our Lady asked him to build a chapel for her. Together, the man and the boy return to the place of miracle.

This time Our Lady appeared to both. The man built a thatched chapel for Our Lady at the site of her second appearance. This chapel became a sacred place of worship for our Blessed Mother and was henceforth called the Mother of Good Health (“Arokia Monastery”).

A few years later, our kind mother rescued some Portuguese merchant sailors from a violent storm that wrecked their ship. When the merchants reached the banks of the Velankanni, local fishermen took them to the thatched church. To thank and pay tribute to Our Lady, he erected a small permanent chapel on his return journey. He rectified it in later visits. Merchants dedicated the chapel to Our Lady on 8 September to celebrate the feast of her birth and to mark the date of her safe landing at Velankanni.

Today, the celebration of this festival is an annual festival that lasts for 9 days and is attended by more than 1.5 lakh pilgrims. Velankanni attracts more pilgrims than any other holy pilgrimage site in India. Not only do Catholics visit in large numbers throughout the year, but many non-Christians also visit. Hundreds of miraculous cures are reported every year.

About Shrine Basilica

Man is happy when he enjoys good health. But God created man with body and soul. While the body is mortal, the soul, created in the image and likeness of God, is immortal. The soul of man is enriched by the grace of God, which enables him to lead a pious life. Because of his closeness with his Creator, a life of grace, he enjoyed peace and inner bliss.

However, there are dangers of ruining the happiness and well-being of man in all these three spheres of life-his physical, spiritual and social.

Our mother of good health, Mary, shows deep concern for all her children who are suffering from all kinds of ailments and receives healing for them from her divine Son. Mary heals broken relationships when her children approach her for help with full confidence in her mighty intercession.

Ever since our Blessed Mother set foot on the holy land of Velankanni, almost 400 years ago, she has been showering her tender maternal care and compassion on all her children, who are thrown into the sea of misery and who are in her temple at Velankanni. come in. is asking for her help. There are innumerable favors received by his devotees, who approach him irrespective of their caste or creed. That is why she is revered in Velankanni as the mother of good health.

Chronological of Shrine Basilica

  • Our woman’s impression of good health was described in the 16th century.
  • Velankanni, which was a sub-station of Nagapattinam parish, was split from Nagapattinam and given the status of a parish in September 1771.
  • The majestic shrine, on the east side, was extended twice in 1920 and 1933 and the tiled roof was changed to concrete in 1981.
  • His Holiness John the XXIII granted the shrine basilica status on 3 November 1962. Our Lady, the miraculous statue of Our Lady, the countless wonders, splendid architecture, and glimpses of the beauty of the shrine were the motives for the Shrine to become a Minor Basilica.
  • In the year 2002, the “World Day of the Sick” was celebrated in the Shrine Basilica.
  • In 2002 Velankanni was declared the ‘Lourdes of the East’ by His Holiness Pope John Paul II.
  • The new chapel was built in 1982 to commemorate the first glimpse of Our Lady for the Milk Boy.
  • The chapel was established in 2002 in memory of the second apparition of Our Lady to the milk-seller Lame Boy.
  • The Church of Worship and Reconciliation, which is on the southern side of the Shrine Basilica, houses the Confession in the front and the Blessed Sacrament in the rear from 06.00 to 06.00. Everyday. It was made to commemorate ‘The World Day of the Sick’.
  • It is proposed to set up a chapel at sea in memory of Our Lady who rescued Portuguese sailors from a storm in the Bay of Bengal.

Velankanni Shrine Mass Timing

Week Days

  • 5.40 am : Morning Prayer in the Main Shrine
  • 6.00 am : Mass in Tamil in the Main Shrine
  • 7.00 am : Mass in Tamil in the Lower Basilica
  • 8.00 am : Mass in Telugu in the Upper Basilica
  • 9.00 am : Mass in Malayalam in the Lower Basilica
  • 10.00 am : Mass in English in the Lower Basilica
  • 11.00 am : Mass in Hindi in the Upper Basilica
  • 12.00 noon : Mass in Tamil in the Lower Basilica
  • 6.00 pm : Rosary and Litany in Tamil followed by Mass in Tamil in the Lower Basilica

All Sundays

  • 7.30 am : Mass in Tamil in the Lower Basilica (Instead of at 7.00 am during the week)
  • 5.00 am : (Additional) Mass in Tamil for the Parishioners of Vailankanni in the Lower Basilica
  • 6.00 pm : Rosary, Novena Prayer, Benediction and Mass in Tamil in the Lower Basilica

All Saturdays

  • 7.00 am : Mass in Tamil at Our Lady’s Tank Chapel
  • 5.45 am : Car Procession of Our Lady of Health around the Shrine Benediction and Mass in Tamil in the Lower Basilica

First Friday

  • 6.00 pm : Mass in Tamil Eucharistic Procession around the Shrine Sermon and Benediction from the front view of the Upper Basilica

First Saturday

  • 5.30 pm : Car Procession of Our Lady of Health thought the Beach Road Blessing of the Sick with the Blessed Sacrament Benediction and Mass in Tamil in the Lower Basilica
  • 9.00 pm : A Three-Hour Adoration to the Blessed Sacrament in the Main Shrine

Second Saturday

  • 9.00 am : A Healing and Fasting Prayer Service from 9 am to 4 pm at Vailankanni Retreat House

Third Saturday

  • One Hour Intercessory Prayer Service at Our Lady’s Tank Chapel after 7.00 am Mass

Fourth Saturday

  • 6.30 am : Mass in Tamil at Naduththittu Chapel
  • 8.00 pm : Children’s Evangelization Programme in front of the Presbytery

Month of May

  • Our Lady’s Car Procession around the Shrine on all the days

Velankanni Geography & Climate

Velankanni is a village on the sandy shores of the Bay of Bengal, located in Nagapattinam district of the state of Tamil Nadu at 10.40°N 79.49°E, 350 km south of Chennai on the Coromandel Coast and 14 km south of Nagapattinam.

⇧ 36 °C (97 °F)⇧ 29 °C (84 °F)
⇩ 28 °C (82 °F)⇩ 21 °C (70 °F)
Velankanni Weather

Best Time To Visit Velankanni

A pilgrimage to the Velankanni Church can be done throughout the year. It would be good to plan during the months of October to March as the weather will be mild and cool.

The peak season is from late August to mid-September as the festival is held. Every year lakhs of pilgrims will attend the car festival to be held on 8th September. Visiting Velankanni during the festival would be more fun than a pilgrimage.

During April, May, and June it will be very hot due to the heat, as well as overcrowding due to the holiday season. More tourists than pilgrims visit the church during this season.

The church would be almost empty at noon in November as cyclones were used to stop the flow of pilgrims. October, November, and February, March is the right time as the church will be less crowded and the weather will be good.

How to Reach Velankanni?

Velankanni is well connected by road, rail, and air. Most of the devotees reach Velankanni by road via Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, or Andhra Pradesh. The highways connecting the cities with Velankanni are quite good and well maintained.


The nearest airport to Velankanni is Tiruchirappalli International Airport at a distance of about 165 km. It is an international airport with daily domestic flights to Chennai, Cochin, Mumbai, Bangalore, Madurai, Coimbatore, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, etc as well as many international flights. Taxi services are available from Tiruchirappalli to Velankanni at a fare of around Rs.2000. For Indica Cab.


Railway track work has been completed up to Velankanni which connects Velankanni with Nagapattinam. Passenger services have started on this route from December 21, 2010. Two local trains run daily morning and evening towards Nagapattinam. Now Goa also has Vasco-da-Gama (VSG) to Velankanni (VLKN) and Velankanni-VSG Express train (No: 17316) to Velankanni (VLKN) to Vasco-da-Gama Velankanni Express train (No: 17315) . VSG).

Nagapattinam, which is just 12 km using the seaside road or 18 km using the proper road, is well connected by rail to all major cities of India via Chennai and Trichy. Taxi services can be availed from Nagapattinam to Velankanni for a fee of around Rs.250.


It is very convenient to reach Velankanni by road as the ‘East Coast Road’ passes through this town.

To reach Velankanni from Chennai: Take NH 45, reach Tindivanam (131 km), from there take NH 66 to reach Pondicherry (43 km). From Pondicherry take NH 45A to Cuddalore (25 km). The roads to Cuddalore are very good as all are either 6 lanes or 4 lanes. After Cuddalore to Chidambaram (44 km) and Chidambaram, it takes at least 2 hours to reach Karaikal (64 km) even though the distance is just 104 km), the road is winding and care must be taken while driving needed.

Reach Nagapattinam (10 km) from Karaikal. Take NH 67 from Nagapattinam and drive about 5 km towards Tanjore, you will reach a village called Putthoor. Turn left and drive about 10 km to reach the entrance of Velankanni Church. From the arch, Velankanni Church is just 3 km away.

Reaching Velankanni from Bangalore: To reach Namakkal (195 km), take NH7. To reach Trichy (80 km) from Namakkal take SH25. This road has a lot of twists – need to be careful while driving. Lots of sand smugglers drive their trucks at very high speed causing traffic jams and accidents. Instead of reaching Trichy from Namakkal via Mussoorie, go to Karur (46.6 km) and then travel to Trichy (82.4 km) which will add another 50 km to the distance.

To reach Nagapattinam (144 km) from Trichy, take NH 67. Take note not to go to Nagapattinam. Reach Puthur (which is located 5 km before Nagapattinam) and take a right and drive about 10 km to reach the Velilankanni Church entrance. From the arch, Velankanni Church is just 3 km away. The total distance is 424 km. Or travel from Bangalore to Tiruvannamalai (210 km) – Tirukovilur – Panaruthi – Cuddalore, then from Chidambaram (113 km) to Nagapattinam (74 km) and Velankanni Church (18 km). The total distance using this route is 415 km. Even if you save 9km, the road is much worse than the previous one

Places To Visit In Velankanni

Velankanni Church

Situated on the sandy shores of the Bay of Bengal, Velankanni Church is considered one of the holiest Christian pilgrimage sites in India and is located on the Coromandel Coast, 350 km south of Chennai and 12 km south of Nagapattinam. The Virgin Mary is said to have appeared here with the Baby Jesus around the late 16th and early 17th centuries, after which Velankanni became a place of worship for the Christian community. Declared as a holy city by the Pope, it attracts a large number of devotees from all over the world.

Officially known as Velankanni, this small village is famous for its Roman Catholic temple, Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health also known as Velankanni Church. Also known as the ‘Lourdes of the East’, this temple represents a melting pot of many cultures, international and religious harmony. The church is entirely dedicated to the Virgin Mary and the Heavenly Mother. It is believed by the devotees of the church that the Lady of Health or Madonna of Velankanni possesses miraculous powers. People of every religion, caste, and creed go to church to pay respect to the great lady.

Velankanni Beach

Velankanni Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches on the east coast of India. The Church of Our Lady of Health is located very close to the beach which makes it a center of attraction for pilgrims. The Vellankanis have a history of religion and culture. It was a trading port for Rome and Greece, which later lost its importance to its neighbor Nagapattinam. It is one of the most visited pilgrimage sites in South India.

The beach is very close to the Vellaiyar River where boating services are available depending on the water level. This river directly joins the Bay of Bengal, making it a unique boating experience. The beach also celebrates the ocean’s bountiful catch, and there are many fresh seafood stalls serving a wide variety of dishes.

The place also caters to the needs and wants of various pilgrims visiting this place. They have a wide variety of shops that sell various religious artifacts and souvenirs. You can also shop for a variety of local handicrafts and textiles. Velankanni beach is the ultimate beach destination and a unique experience in itself.

Velankanni Church Museum

The museum is a building adjacent to the church. This museum was built to house the offerings that the devotees offered to the mother as a token of gratitude for the bountiful blessings she received.

Some of the articles here are really interesting. There is a cathedral built entirely by coins by a devotee, there are hundreds of letters and even engravings on the rock.


Nagapattinam is a city on the shores of the Bay of Bengal with a major historical significance which is also a famous pilgrimage center with the Divya Desam of Velankanni, spread over several temples and mosques. Nagapattinam derives its name from Nagoor, the land of the serpent gods, and is credited with commendable cultural and historical importance. Apart from various holy sites, there is also a long stretch of beach.

Sikkal Singaravelar Temple

A popular temple in a small village called Sikkal, the presiding deity of this temple is Singaravelar (Lord Muruga). Lord Navniteshwara (a form of Lord Shiva) along with his wife Nedum Kanni Amman (Goddess Parvati) is also installed in this temple.

Handicrafts and silk

Velankanni beach is an unexpected buyer’s den. It is one of the few beaches where silk and handicrafts are sold to a large number of pilgrims who come to visit Velankanni Mata.

Read More About Pilgrimage in South India

Frequently Asked Questions About Velankanni

Q. Why is Velankanni Church famous?

A – Known as the ‘Lourdes of the East’, the Velankanni Church is one of the most revered pilgrimages for Catholics in India. The story of the church dates back to the 16th or 17th century when Mother Mary is believed to have appeared in this small village, holding the infant Jesus.

Q. Is Velankanni open?

A – Father AMA Prabhakar, Rector, Father AMA Prabhakar, said, “We have opened the Main Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health. We have also opened the Upper Rear Church and Lodge under the Church Management. We are doing services in the Church while maintaining social distancing. operating it.” Shrine Basilica.

Q. When was Velankanni Church built?

A – The Velankanni Church (Our Lady of Good Health) was built in the late 16th century by the Portuguese with modifications.

Q. Who is known as the Lourdes of the East?

A – Velankanni is one of the holiest Christian pilgrimage places in India, where one can be healed of ailments if one prays with a sincere heart. This place is also affectionately called ‘Lourdes of the East. Velankanni Church was granted Basilica status in 1962 by His Holiness John XXIII.

Q. How do I reach Velankanni by flight?

A – The nearest airport is Tiruchirappalli and it is about 165 km from Velankanni. You can hire a taxi from there to reach Velankanni. Temporary return flight prices to Madurai Airport (IXM) from major cities in India.

Q. Who is Annai Velankanni?

A – Our Lady of Good Health (Tamil: rōkkiya annai), also known as Our Lady of Velankanni, is a title given by devotees to the Blessed Virgin Mary. She is said to have appeared twice in the city of Velankanni in Tamil Nadu, India, from the 16th to the 17th century.

Q. When did the tsunami hit Velankanni?

A – The city of Velankanni was worst affected by the severe tsunami of 26 December, which was triggered by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. The tsunami struck around 9.30 a.m. that Sunday when pilgrims from Kerala were inside a church-attending the Malayalam Mass.

Q. Is there a direct train from Bangalore to Velankanni?

A – There are 1 weekly train and 0 daily trains that run from Karpuram Bangalore to Velankanni, covering the shortest distance of approximately 349 km by Velankanni Express (17315).

Q. How many people visit Velankanni?

A – Annually, 2 crore pilgrims visit the temple from all over India and abroad, of whom an estimated 3 million people visit the temple during its annual festival from 29 August to 8 September.

Q. Which are the best hotels in Velankanni?

A – Below are the best Velankanni hotels

  • MGM Vailankanni Residency
  • Seagate Hotel
  • Queens Inn
  • Hotel Dravidar
  • Clinton Park Inn
  • Hotel Church View Suites
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