Velankanni

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Velankanni Town)
Jump to: navigation, search
Velankanni
வேளாங்கன்னி
town
Vailankanni Basilica1.jpg
Velankanni is located in Tamil Nadu
Velankanni
Velankanni
Location in Tamil Nadu, India
Coordinates: 10°42′N 79°48′E / 10.70°N 79.80°E / 10.70; 79.80Coordinates: 10°42′N 79°48′E / 10.70°N 79.80°E / 10.70; 79.80
Country  India
State Tamil Nadu
District Nagapattinam
Area
 • Total 5.5 km2 (2.1 sq mi)
Elevation 87.78 m (287.99 ft)
Population (2001)
 • Total 10,144
 • Density 1,800/km2 (4,800/sq mi)
Languages
 • Official Tamil
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 611111
Telephone code 914365
Vehicle registration TN 51
Website www.nagapattinam.tn.nic.in/church.html

Velankanni (Tamil: வேளாங்கன்னி Vēḷāŋkaņņi) officially spelled as Vailankanni (Virgin of Velai, the town), also spelled as "Velanganni" (due to Tamil to English Transliteration), is a panchayat town in Nagapattinam district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is a small town located on the shores of the Bay of Bengal 350 km south of Chennai (Madras) and 12 km south of Nagapattinam on the Coromandel Coast, in Tamil Nadu, India.

Once a port that traded with Rome and Greece, the tiny commercial center gradually lost its importance to the larger city of Nagapattinam. The canal built to link this town with Vedaranyam still lies to the west. The Vellayar, a minor branch of the Cauvery River, runs south of the town and discharges into the sea.

The town is home to a significant Roman Catholic shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Good Health.

Demographics[edit]

As of 2001 the Indian census indicated Velankanni had a population of 10,144. Males constitute 48% of the population and females 52%. Citizens there have an average literacy rate of 69%, higher than the national average of 68%: male literacy is 75%, and female literacy is 64%. 12% of the population is under 6 years of age.[1]

Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health[edit]

The Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health church can be traced to the mid-16th century and its founding is attributed to three miracles: the apparition of Mary and Jesus to a slumbering shepherd boy, the curing of a lame buttermilk vendor, and the survival of Portuguese sailors assaulted by a violent sea storm. It is built in the Gothic style, was modified by Portuguese and then further expanded later on due to the influx of pilgrimages.

Although all three miracles combined to cause the erection of a shrine, it was the promise of the Portuguese sailors that caused a permanent edifice. The chapel was dedicated on the feast of the Nativity of Mary (8 September), the day of their safe landing. More than 500 years later, the festival and celebration is still observed and draws nearly two million pilgrims each year. The Shrine of Our Lady of Velankanni, also known as the "Lourdes of the East",[2] is one of the most frequented religious sites in India.

In 1771, Velankanni acquired the status of a parish with Antonio de Rozario as the first parish priest. The church building was raised to the status of basilica in 1962 by Pope John XXIII.

Every year, 10 days of festivals are celebrated in August and September, attracting about 1.5 million people.[3] Masses are conducted in at least eight languages including Tamil, English, Malayalam, Kannada, Telugu, Konkani, Hindi and Marathi.[4]

St Sebastian Church at the entrance of the city

Geography and climate[edit]

Vailankanni is located 350 kilometres (220 mi) south of Chennai and 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) south of Nagapattinam on the Coramandel coast, at 10°24′N 79°29′E / 10.40°N 79.49°E / 10.40; 79.49 in Nagapattinam district of Tamil nadu state.

Summer Winter
Max. 36 °C (97 °F) 29 °C (84 °F)
Min. 28 °C (82 °F) 21 °C (70 °F)

Education[edit]

Our Lady of Health Higher Secondary School, Our Lady of Health Middle School, Our Lady of Health Elementary School, Infant Jesus Primary School (English Medium) and Christ the King High School Special School for Handicapped and Deaf & Dumb Children are five schools situated in Vailankanni town.[5]

Transportation[edit]

Vailankanni is well connected by Road and Rail to the other parts of the country. Many government and private buses are operated between vailankanni and important cities in Tamil Nadu and also to other States. Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) and State Express Transport Corporation (Tamil Nadu) (SETC) along with the private operators operate buses from Chennai, Coimbatore, Tiruchirappalli, Madurai, Salem, Thoothukudi, Tirunelveli, Nagercoil, Trivandrum, Ernakulam and Bangalore. TNSTC–Kumbakonam region operates short distance Interstate buses to Thanjavur, Pudukkottai, Karaikudi, Tiruvarur, Kumbakonam, Pondicherry and Nagappattinam from Vailankanni.

Vailankanni is directly connected to the state capital Chennai by rail. A daily train called Vailankanni–Chennai Egmore Link Express connects Vailankanni and Chennai Egmore and another weekly express Vasco–Vailankanni Express is being operated between Vasco da Gama in Goa and Vailankanni. Apart from the express Trains, Passenger trains are operated daily from Karaikal and Nagappattinam to Vailankani.

The nearest International Airport is Tiruchirappalli International Airport which is 165 kilometres (103 mi) away, operating domestic flights to Chennai, Bangalore and Kochi and International flights to Dubai, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Colombo and Hambantota.

Tsunami[edit]

Vailankanni was one of the worst hit areas in the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake that triggered a massive tsunami occurred on 26 December 2004. Worst started happening at around 9.30 am on that Sunday. As the 8 am Tamil Mass was over, pilgrims from Kerala were inside the church to attend the Malayalam Mass. Nothing happened to those inside the church miraculously. The Sea water rising up to 5 feet even near Bus Stand area washed almost all who were standing near the beaches. Thousands of pilgrims were dead and they were buried en masse in a single grave pit almost 4 km away from the church.[6][7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]