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About Velankanni

Officially written as Vailankanni and often called as Velanganni, Velankanni is a small town and an illustrious Catholic pilgrimage center, located in the Nagapattinam district in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. Velankanni is the proud home to the world renowned Roman Catholic Church dedicated to Our Lady of Good Health, Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health also known as the Velankanni Matha Shrine.
Velankanni Church

An erstwhile port that had extensive commercial links with Rome (Capital and largest city of Italy) and Greece (Hellenic Republic), the petite business hub fell behind in the competition to the more prominent urban center of Nagapattinam, in a gradual manner. Let's get to know more about the holy town of Velankanni.

Velankanni: Past and Present

The history of the holy town of Velankanni goes back to the 16th century, when the Blessed Virgin Mary is believed to have appeared in this sacred spot. The region and the famous Catholic Basilica of Velankanni is often related to three miracles, that is to say, Our Lady’s Vision to a Shepherd Boy, the apparition of Our Lady to the Buttermilk Vendor and the Portuguese Ship caught in a Storm. Following the apparition of the Saint Mary, the holy site was then ticked for the establishment of the Catholic Basilica dedicated to Our Lady of Good Health.
Fountain of Revelation Velankanni

Fr. Paulo de Trindade, an Order of Friars Minor, the official title of respect of the Franciscan order was the first to mention Velankanni in historical records. The priest wrote that

"And two leagues (about six miles) from there (Nagapattinam) in the direction of Mannar (i.e. towards South), we have another Christian settlement, of which one of our Religious has charge and the Church is under the Patronage of our Lady of Health"

This chronicle is of extreme worth as it is nothing short of a tribute to the existence of a church at Velankanni.

Today, Velankanni is one of the most visited Catholic pilgrimage site of India and is popularly called as the 'Lourdes of the East'. Velankanni is divided into 15 administrative wards and is administrated by a dedicated town panchayat who guarantee that responsible, transparent and citizen-friendly governance is practiced and delivered.

Geography and Demography of Velankanni

Located on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal, Velankanni town is just 327 km away from the southern metropolis of Chennai (via NH 45A and NH45) and 12.7 km away from the coastal city of Nagapattinam (via East Coast Road/Nagapattinam - Vedaranyam Road). The geographic coordinates of Velankanni town are 10.40°N 79.49°E. The holy town sprawls over an area of 2.1 sq mi (5.5 sq.km). The average elevation of Velankanni town is recorded as 287.99 ft (87.78 m) above sea level.

Beach in Velankanni

Regarding the atmospheric conditions of Velankanni, the town experiences a tropical climate. Find below the climate data for the sacred tow of Velankanni:

Average Temperature: 28.4 °C
Average Yearly Rainfall: 1331 mm
Wettest Month: November
Hottest Months: April-May
Coldest Month: January
Summer in Velankanni: late March to early June (Max 36 °C; Min 28 °C)
Monsoon in Velankanni: June to late September
Winter in Velankanni: November to February (Max 29 °C; Min 21 °C)
Best Time to Visit Velankanni: October, November, December, January, February and March

Demographic Information of Velankanni

Population (Census 2011): 11,108
Male Population: 5,327
Female Population: 5,781
Schedule Caste (SC): 17.22 % of total population
Schedule Tribe (ST): 0.21 % of total population
Population of Children with age of 0-6: 1,223
Sex Ratio: 1,085 per 1000 male
Child Sex Ratio: 920 per 1000 boys
Literacy Rate: 84.99 %
Male Literacy Rate: 90.53 %
Female Literacy Rate: 79.98 %
Number of Households: 2,753

Tourism in Velankanni

Being a pilgrimage destination that is flocked by a large number of visitors from all over the globe, throughout the year, tourism plays a key role in the economic system of the town. Velankanni is not only about Christians, but the people of all religious beliefs visit this church to seek the blessings.

Velankanni Shrine
Image Source: Flickr Naveen Roy

The name Velankanni reminds of the Arokia Matha church to many, but then the options for tourism in Velankanni does not end there! The holy town has a lot more in store for all types of visitors. Beyond any doubt, the most popular site to visit in Velankanni is the far-famed Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health. Some of the other must visit places of interest in Velankanni include:

  • Velankanni Beach
  • Legion of Mary Book Depot
  • Velankanni Museum of Offerings
  • Naduthittu Church
  • Holy Path
  • Lady’s Tank Church
  • Fountain of Revelation
  • St Sebastian Church
  • Chapel of Adoration

Click here to read more on Velankanni Tourism

Transport in Velankanni

Being a town that is frequently visited by a large number of local, national and international visitors, Velankanni is well connected to the rest of the country. The State Express Transport Corporation, the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation and several private travel companies operate regular buses to Velankanni from Nagapattinam, Trichy, Thanjavur, Puducherry, Madurai, Pudukottai, Coimbatore, Karaikudi, Nagercoil, Kumbakonam, Salem, Tuticorin, Chennai, Tirunelveli, Bengaluru, Ernakulam, Thiruvananthapuram and so on.

Regarding the rail transport, regular daily and weekly express and passenger trains are operated to Velankanni from many important towns and cities of South India.

Nearest Bus stand: Velankanni Bus Stand
Nearest Railway Station: Nagapattinam Railway Station - 11 km
Nearest Airport: Trichy International Airport (IATA: TRZ, ICAO: VOTR) - 165 km

Quick Facts:

State: Tamil Nadu
District: Nagapattinam
Languages: Tamil and English
Postal Code: 611111
Telephone Code: +91-4365

Distance Chart:
Chennai to Velankanni: 327 km
Tiruchirappalli to Velankanni: 155 km
Madurai to Velankanni: 246 km
Salem to Velankanni: 292 km
Coimbatore to Velankanni: 364 km
Puducherry to Velankanni: 158 km
Bengaluru to Velankanni: 493 km
Thiruvananthapuram to Velankanni: 518 km
Hyderabad to Velankanni: 942 km
Vijayawada to Velankanni: 767 km

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