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Velankanni (Vailankanni) is fondly known as the Lourdes of the East, because like Lourdes in France, millions of pilgrims visit the Shrine throughout the year, praying to Our Lady for various needs and thanking her for the favors received through her intercession. Tradition recounts that Mother Mary appeared with the Infant Jesus in this small hamlet at the end of the 16th or in the early 17th century. Ever since, Velankanni is the most important destination and almost the synthesis of all Marian Sanctuaries for the pilgrims of the world.
Situated amidst shores of Bay of Bengal, Velankanni is a picturesque town. The Pope has declared Velankanni, a holy city. This Roman Catholic Church has an extended Basilica, which has two floors where one can find the statue of Jesus Christ. The Gothic style of architecture is a unique feature of the Church. The environment around the shrine is spick and span, radiating rays of hope and piety.
There is also a shrine of ‘lady of sorrow’ where in the sorrowing Mother is depicted carrying infant Jesus in her hand. A museum is situated opposite to the Basilica. The museum has a very rich variety of exhibits. The precious offerings made by the devotees are also on display here. Biblical incidents are depicted on both sidewalls with beautifully produced frescos. The annual carnival is celebrated here with all pomp and gaiety every year on August 29th.
Panoramic View of
Official Marian Pilgrim Center
Where St. Alphonsa is buried.
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