Velankanni (Tamil Nadu)
Velankanni is a small town, 11 kms from Nagapattinam. Known as the Lourdes of India, this prosperous town has developed as a great place of pilgrimage not only for the Roman Catholic Christians, but also to Hindus and Muslim. It is located on the sea shore in idyllic surroundings at the confluence of river Vellayan with the sea. Stated a small shrine for Virgin Mary by some Portuguese sailors, it grew into prominence as Our Lady of Health or Arogya Matha.
The present magnificent new Church gives a majestic appearance. The structure has two lofty spires towering to a height of 25 metres. A miniature statue of Virgin Mary wearing a crown of gold and precious stones and holding Infant Jesus in her arms stands on the altar. A grand annual festival is celebrated from August 29th to September 8th on the birth day of Virgin Mary, when thousands of devotes assemble here with their thanks giving offerings.