Walk down to the church by night.The feeling is magical , with wonderful sea breeze and a bright moon in the sky.Lot of families sit around the massive courtyards around the church.The Asian tsunami took the lives of hundreds of pilgrims here.Now the entire church complex has been beautified .
VELANKANNI CHRUCH (PHOTO 1)----------- The building is totally painted in white color as u can see in picture, except for the roof that is made of tiles of striking red color and it gives this chruch a great look.There are interesting legends associated with the construction of the church.
The main statue that they had placed at the altar of the church showed The Lady holding the Baby Jesus, while standing on the globe. Velankanni Church was given the status of a Parish in the year 1771. Father Antonio de Rozario served as the First Parish Priest. In 1962, His Holiness Pope John XXIII raised it to the status of basilica. Every year, on 29th August, the feast of our lady is held at the Vailankanni Church of Tamil Nadu. Holy masses are conducted there in at least eight languages, namely Tamil, English, Malayalam, Kannada, Telugu, Konkani, Hindi and Marathi.
On the left side of chruch Near to Salvation center there is this garden.And people are not allowed to enter inside of garden.Inside of garden u will find human sculpture and some animal and bird statues.
And near to it there is counselling and marriage center available.
And near to chruch there are shops available on both side of road which sells Christian goods — plaques, figurines, etc.
There are few shops available around chruch where u can buy candles,its lil expensive.and apart from these shops official shops run buy chruch are also there u can buy ur offering for god from here too.
Here u will a place for head shaving and ear boring.People offer their hair for god as sacrifice.generally after kid is one year old some people do their kids head shaving n ear boring here at velankanni.
this place is just nxt to chruch and v have to pay just 5 Rs. for head shaving and 5Rs. for earboring,there will b a long queue and u hv to wait for ur turn so b patient if u r planning to offer ur hair.and after u finish this u may pay some money as a gratitude to barber.generally v pay 100 Rs. its just 2.5$.After head shaving for taking bath u may go to beach its just 2 mins walk from there and if u dont want to take dip in salt water then there is fresh water is also available,i mean there r some bathrooms are available which are free and no need to pay anything for it.but here comes the tricky part as soon u come out ur head shaven there are some people trying to help u.stay away from them dont pay attention keep walking towards book depot and offering muesum,inbetween u will find one small passage and go inside and take right and at the extreme end u will find free bathrooms.
have ur bath their.generally people put yellow turmeric after shaving their head to avoid heat,its quite soothing.
Next to the museum of offerings there is book depot,apart from book u can buy many things,suvenior,religious cds
its quite a big collection and its at reasonable price.
And this is quite strange for me,photography is strictly not allowed so pls keep ur cameras inside of purse when u go inside of museum and chruch.
and pls no cellphones.u will find these notice outside of chruch.
We next proceeded to the Church museum, which was in a building adjacent the Church. This museum was built to house the offerings which the devotees presented to the mother as a token of gratitude for the bountiful blessings they received. People had donated eyes, hands, legs, stethoscopes and hearts made of silver and gold depending on the ailment she had cured. Some had donated miniature gold or silver cars, cows and crosses. One person had even made a replica of the church with coins. These were kept tidily in show cases and were changed periodically.
The museum also had innumerable letters of gratitude to the beloved mother and lovely articles in silver and gold. Four large portfolios containing reports, letters, and declarations of the people indicating their gratitude were also seen here. On a shelf were pieces of wood which had floated
to Vailankanni from all over the world. The wood was hollow. People sent messages and offerings to the mother in those pieces of wood. Legend said that the messages always reach the shores of Vailankanni. Even coconuts with distinguishing features were preserved in the museum. They were considered to be the offerings from Fiji that had come via the ocean. It was indeed moving to go through those living testimonies indicating the God's providence through Mary.
Our lady chose this place to dispense her miracles to mankind. A strong oral tradition attests to Our Lady’s apparitions at Vailankanni(Velankanni). The tradition is built around the following three significant events:Sometime during the sixteenth century, Our Lady with her infant son appeared to a Hindu boy carrying milk to a customer’s home. While he rested under a Banyan tree near a tank (pond), Our Lady appeared to him and asked for milk for her Son and the boy gave her some. On reaching the customer’s home, the boy apologized for his lateness and the reduced amount of milk by relating the incident that occurred on his way. On inspection, the man found the milk pot to be full and realized that something miraculous had happened. That man, also a Hindu, wanting to see the place where the apparition occurred, accompanied the boy.
When they reached the tank, Our Lady appeared once again. On learning that it was Our Lady who appeared to the boy, the residents of the local Catholic community became ecstatic. The tank where the apparition took place is called "Matha Kulam" or Our Lady’s tank.
And in second picture if u see people are crawling towards this chruch.Its really amazing to see their will power and inner strengh its almost 700-800 mtrs walk,I was amazed by what they do and salute to their determination.
The annex basilica was built in 1975 and was used on special occasions like the annual festival. The entrance to the annex basilica was indeed the denotation of a wonderful aesthetic sense. Two long entrances on either side of the basilica lead to the entrance. The Gothic style of architecture was a unique feature of the church. Hence the the church itself was an imposing building with inspiring architecture.
A path strewn with sand, lead the pilgrim from the main shrine to the place where the Mother first appeared before a shepherd boy. This was called the "Holy Path". On the left side of the path going away from the basilica were beautiful sculptures representing the life of Jesus on the cross, termed as the "Stations of the Cross". On the right side were images representing the life of Mother Mary. Many devotees were seen pray with rosaries in their hands. This was named the "Stations of Rosary". It was a common site to see the devotees of all ages and ailments walk on their knees along this path from the church to the chapel.
A lovely small chapel was situated at the ‘Place of Apparition’, called the Lady's Tank. Here the image of Mother Mary accepting yoghurt from the boy was seen. The place where the Mother appeared is denoted with a lotus shaped tank known as the "Ladies Tank". The church also had a hardware shop and a carpenter shed. There was another unit that manufactured soap and washing powder. A huge generator room that could supply electricity around the clock if the need arises was also seen.
This place is called Naduthittu . It is here that Mother appeared to a lame Hindu boy. Around the end of the 16th century there lived at the village of Vailankanni a poor widow with her son who was lame by birth. Everyday the Lame boy used to sit under a banyan tree at a place called Naduthittu [ which means central mount ] and sell butter-milk to the thirsty way farers. On a certain day, to his bewilderment rays of unusually very bright light appeared in front of him and from amidst the light a Lady of peerless grace with the Divine Child in her arms, asked the boy for a cup of butter-milk and the lame boy acted accordingly. Then the Lady directed the boy to go and inform a Catholic gentleman at Nagapattinam to put up a chapel in her name on the spot of her apparition. While the boy was confused as how to go to Nagapattinam with his lame legs, a sensation crept into all the molecules of his physique strengthening his limbs and hein fact stood up having had his legs become normal. With the joy unknown and ever unfelt in his life before, the boy buoyantly ran to Nagapattinam to carry out the errand. The Catholic gentleman with the support of the local people built a chapel close to the sea shore where now stands the present Shrine Basilica. As the Mother cured the lame butter - milk vendor boy, she was henceforth to be called as ‘Our Lady of Good Health’.
Another Chruch around main chruch and other chruch is A Chappel for St Sebastin at Velankanni,its just oppoite of hotel i have stayed.