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Velankanni is a fishing village in the southern part of India, but home to one of the most sacred Christian pilgrimage centres in India. Velankanni is located on the shores of Bay of Bengal, on the coromandel coast, about 300kms south of Chennai (Madras). The town is famous for the shrine Basilica of Mother Mary that is dedicated to “Our Lady of Health”. Velankanni is fondly known as the “Lourdes of the East”.

As in other famous religious places across India, even Velankanni is thronged by devotees of various faiths.

The feast of this church is celebrated on the 8th of September every year, which attracts millions of pilgrims from all over India.

There is an interesting practice here that pilgrims offer candles to the mother to cure themselves. Candles are in shapes of respective ailment – a heart in case of cardiac complications and lungs

in case of tuberculosis and so on . After being cured of the disease many bring as offering small golden or silver replica of the organ that has been cured. Thousands of miraculous cures are reported every year. This church was raised to the status of Basilica by His Holiness Pope John XXIII in 1962. In this Shrine, holy masses are conducted in at least eight languages, namely, Tamil, English, Malayalam, Kannada, Telugu, Konkani, Hindi and Marathi.


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