Velankanni is a small holy town located in Nagapattinam. Located 12 km to the south, this town sits on the Coromandel Coast in Tamil Nadu. The most significant place at Velankanni is the Shrine of Virgin Mary which is dedicated to the Madonna of Velankanni often called Our Lady of Health.
Velankanni is a Parish or a Panchayat Town in the district of Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu. This small town shares its borders with Bay of Bengal and is easily reached from Chennai. This is situated to the south of Chennai at the distance of 350 km.
Velankanni has a long history that dates back to 1560, when Virgin Mary is said to have visited this place. According to the tale, Mary asked for milk from the shepherd in order to quench thirst of the baby, the baby she had was known to be Lord Jesus. This site was then marked with the construction of a thatched chapel.
Virgin Mary reappeared in the 16th century and this incidence further lead to the construction of the church, which is ever increasing in popularity and is emerging as a strong religious centre among people of all faiths and religions.
The shrine here is commonly known as the Sacred Arogya Matha Church. The Virgin Mary is alleged to possess magical healing powers which attract many pilgrims from different religion coming here to what is called the Lourdes of East.
The church has been constructed intricately and displays an exquisite facade with many large spires and wings that are created in the appearance of a cross. In the alter, nestles the statue enshrined as Our Lady of Health.
This was once a trading port for the Romans and Greeks, but eventually lost its significance to Nagapattinam. Vellayar, a small protruding of Cauvery River runs to the south of this town. Velankanni holiday packages can be opted for by travellers to know a lot more about this historical town.
At Velankanni handlooms and silks are produced in the villages and are also found in surplus in the villages. Attractive hand made products can be shopped from here.
The nearest airport to Velankanni is in Tiruchirappali which is at a distance of around 165 km. Velankanni is well connected to Chennai airport with major airline plying regularly. Taxi services are also available from Tiruchirappalli to Velankanni.
Velankanni has its nearest railhead at Nagapattinam, which is just 12 km at distance from the holy city of Velankanni. Nagapattinam is well connected to all major south Indian cities through Chennai and Tiruchirapalli.
Velankanni is well accessible by bus from all the major cities and towns in Tamil Nadu and also to cities in neighbouring states such as Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Regular buses ply from Madurai, Kanyakumari, Chennai, Trichy, Pondicherry, Trivandrum and Thanjavur to reach Velankanni.