Cholan Tours-Chidambaram, Tranquebar And Velankanni Destination Information

Chidambaram, Tranquebar And Velankanni Destination Information

  • April 30, 2024

Chidambaram is an important pilgrimage and sacred site for Saivites since it houses the well-known Nataraja Temple, is remarkable not only for the art of Bharatanatyam, but it is one of the few temples where Shiva is portrayed by an idol rather than the traditional lingam. Lord Natarajar (Shiva) the temples presiding deity represents space, one of the universe's five elements.

Near Chidambaram, 27 km away, a popular temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is Vaitheeswaran temple, one of the nine planets' temples, associated with the planet Mars. It is a tiny village that is thriving post-pandemic, as many people come here for palm leaf astrology called Naadi Astrology in Tamil. This is an old science which is native to Chola and dates back over a thousand years. A Nadi astrologist can tell you everything just by looking at your thumb impression. After thoroughly examining your fingerprint for palm leaves, they reveal your past life karma, and your fate in this life, and predict your future. For Men, a right thumb impression is required and for women, a left thumb impression is required.

Tarangambadi, previously Tranquebar, is a small town with a rich history, (the first settlement of the Danish) on Tamil Nadu's Coromandel coast with multiple Dutch-era churches. The Danes built the Danish Fort which still stands today as a testament to the town's colonial past. It is an architectural marvel that showcases Danish influences. For history enthusiasts, a walk-through Tarangambadi is a journey through time.

Veilankanni is one of the most visited pilgrim centres in India. Regardless of religion, this is a place where people of all faiths come together as a family at least once a year. Likewise, people who come to Velankanni, never fail to visit Nagoor Dargah, which is very close to Velankanni (20 km away). It is a famous Islamic holy site and this dargah has been built over a Sufi saint. 

We are considering organizing a group FAM trip in South India with twin sharing, from Chennai to Cochin, in June of this year for a nominal cost, using a luxury coach. 

If you are attracted by these destinations and if you are curious to know more about Nadi Astrologyplease write an email to us

You can gain firsthand experience with both the product and our service before promoting and showcasing it to your clients. Based on your response, we will decide on the dates. 

Here is the city information for Chidambaram, Tranquebar and Veilankanni. We will send you the fairs and festival details of South India soon. 

Unveiling Chidambaram: a city immersed in history and spirituality

Chidambaram is a popular pilgrimage site for Shaivites or devotees of Lord Shiva. It's a tapestry woven from ancient history, vibrant culture, and deep spirituality. Its name, taken from the terms 'Chit' and 'Ambaram,' represents a sky full of wisdom and brainpower. The town was formerly named Thillai, after the plentiful Thillai trees. This was a big settlement. The Chola dynasty renamed it Chidambaram in the tenth century and established it as their capital. The town has a long history, dating back to the ancient Cholas kingdom. It was formerly the Cholas' capital and is well-known for its stunning temples, sculptures, and bronzes. Chidambaram has been ruled by Pallavas, Pandyas, the Vijayanagara Empire, Marathas, and, most recently, the British. Each age enriched the town's tapestry. The name "Chidambaram" is derived from Tamil words meaning "atmosphere of wisdom," indicating the town's relationship with spirituality and religion. Chidambaram is also an important educational hub, as it is home to Annamalai University, a famous university and one of India's largest. It is famous for its ancient temples, particularly the Chidambaram Natarajar Temple, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the crown jewel of Chidambaram. 

Chidambaram is not only about temples. The town is well-known for its silk and cotton weaving enterprises, which help to preserve textile traditions. It is a destination for visitors looking to immerse themselves in Tamil Nadu's rich cultural history.

There are several ways to reach Chidambaram depending on the place where you start and your preferences

By Air: The nearest airport to Chidambaram is Trichy Airport, located approximately 185 Km away and the second nearest airport is Chennai International Airport, which is located 250 Km away from Chidambaram. 

By Rail: Chidambaram has its railway station CDM, which connects the major destinations of Tamilnadu including Chennai, Trichy, Madurai, and Thanjavur & also Bangalore. 

By Road: Chidambaram is well-connected to other parts of Tamil Nadu & other states by National Highways NH 45, NH 85, NH 36, and NH 81.

Places to visit in Chidambaram: 

Thillai Nataraja Temple: The Chidambaram Nataraja Temple, also known as the Thillai Nataraja Temple, is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva as Nataraja, the cosmic dancer, in his cosmic dancing posture. It is one of the most sacred Shiva temples, representing one of the five natural elements: Akasha (Sky). This temple is regarded as one of India's most prominent Hindu temples, and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known as "The Great Living Chola Temples." It's in the centre of Chidambaram. The temple is thought to have been built in antiquity. However, the current building was built by the Chola dynasty between the 10th and 12th century AD. The temple complex has been expanded and renovated over the ages, but the primary building remains essentially unaltered. The Cholas revered Shiva as Nataraja, their family deity, and influenced the temple's structure and splendour. The name Chidambaram, which translates as "stage of consciousness" in Tamil, emphasizes the temple's spiritual significance. The temple complex reflects Shiva's cosmic dance, which symbolizes the universe's everlasting cycle of creation and annihilation. The temple complex is a stunning example of Dravidian architecture, with its towering entrances, elaborate sculptures, finely carved pillars, and expansive halls. The golden hall houses a massive bronze monument depicting Shiva's cosmic dance. This bronze statue represents Shiva in a dynamic pose, surrounded by a ring of flames that symbolizes the cycle of creation and destruction. His lifted leg represents his victory over ignorance, and his four hands are holding a drum (damaru), fire (Agni), an antelope, and a heavenly drum (udukkai), which represent creation, destruction, preservation, and release. This is the Hall of Gold, where Shiva is supposed to have no form. The surrounding walls are embellished with magnificent sculptures and bronzes reflecting various facets of Shiva's tale. While the temple is primarily dedicated to Shiva, it also has shrines for other deities such as Govindaraja Perumal (a form of Vishnu), Sivakami Amman (Parvati, Shiva's consort), and Ganesha.

This demonstrates the harmonious coexistence of Shaivism and Vaishnavism within the temple complex. The Shivaganga Tank is a sacred tank situated within the temple complex. The Chidambaram Nataraja Temple offers spiritual enlightenment and cultural immersion. The temple promotes Bharatanatyam, which enriches its cultural history. The Chidambaram Nataraja Temple hosts various festivals throughout the year, the most notable being the Natyanjali Dance Festival, which celebrates ancient Indian dance traditions, and the Aarudra Darshan festival, which honours Lord Shiva.

Timing: 06.00 AM to 12.00 PM & from 05.00 PM to 09.00 PM

Entrance fee: No 

Camera & Video Camera: Free, but restricted to certain areas. Strictly prohibited to use in the main sanctum.

Please note, that non-Hindus will not be allowed to enter the inner sanctum of the temple

Thillai Kali Amman Temple: The Thillai Kali Amman Temple is a major Hindu temple devoted to the goddess Kali, located on the outskirts of Chidambaram. According to legend, the temple houses the personification of Parvati's rage after she lost a celestial dance competition against Shiva. The myth goes that Shiva and Parvati agreed to host a dancing competition to see who the best dancer was. The competition was conducted in Chidambaram, and Vishnu, Brahma, and other deities served as judges. During the dance, Shiva struck a daring and unorthodox pose by elevating one leg far above his head (Urdhva Tandava). Parvati, because to her shyness and modesty, was unable to imitate this stance and surrendered defeat. The competition's rules required the loser to leave Chidambaram. So, in her furious Kali form, Parvati moved to the outskirts of town, where the Thillai Kali Temple now stands. The temple itself is thought to be quite old, but the actual period of building is uncertain. The temple appears to have existed during the Chola period (10th-13th century AD) and was an important shrine even during that time. The architectural style recalls this era, including elements from Dravidian architecture, such as the neighboring Nataraja Temple. While not as large as the Nataraja temple, it has a peaceful aura. Most Kali idols are shown standing up. However, the Kali goddess here is seated with her legs swinging down, as other Kali idols are represented. However, the Kali idol shown here is seated with her legs swinging down in a sitting position. The temple is unusual because it holds the only four-headed Kali idol in Tamil Nadu. Each face depicts a different element of the goddess: Sowmya (the gentle), Krouthika (the ferocious), Rudra (the terrible), and Shanthi (the tranquil). The four faces represent different elements of life, including creation, preservation, destruction, and emancipation. The temple complex also includes a shrine dedicated to Kadambavana Dhakshina Rupini, a rare depiction of Lord Dakshinamurthy (a sage embodying wisdom) as a woman. The Thillai Kali Amman Temple draws pilgrims seeking the blessings of the fearsome Goddess Kali. Devotees believe Kali bestows power, courage, and protection from evil forces, as well as removing negativity. 

Two main festivals are observed here each year: the Vaigasi festival (May-June) and the Navaratri festival (a nine-day event in September-October).

Timing: 06.00 AM to 12.30 PM & from 04.30 PM to 08.30 PM.

Entrance fee: No 

Holidays: No 

Please note, non-Hindus will not be allowed to enter the inner sanctum of the temple.

Pichavaram Mangrove Forest: The Pichavaram Mangrove Forest is one of India's largest mangrove forests, located near Chidambaram in the Cuddalore District of Tamil Nadu. It's also known as the "Venice of the East" because of the intricate network of canals and rivers that run through the forest. It is often referred to as the "Green Lungs of Tamil Nadu." The complex river system and canal network that connect this magnificent place and support its diverse biodiversity are enchanting. The Pichavaram mangrove forest covers around 45 square kilometers and is made up of many islands divided by a labyrinth of water channels. It is a biodiversity hotspot, providing vital habitat for a wide range of plant and animal species. A boat tour is the most effective approach to explore the Pichavaram Mangrove Forest. These cruises take you through the complicated network of waterways, allowing you to see the beauty of the mangrove ecosystem firsthand. The Pichavaram mangrove forest is ideal for birdwatching. There have been over 200 bird species recorded here, both resident and migratory. Darters, cormorants, egrets, herons, kingfishers, and kites are among the birds that can be spotted here. The woodlands also support a varied range of marine life, including fish, crabs, prawns, and mollusks. The optimum times to go boating are in the morning and evening (before 5:00). The sea is only 6 kilometers away from the forest, and the sand bank that separates the forest from the Bay of Bengal can be seen from the boat.

Tips For Visiting Pichavaram Mangrove Forests

Day time can be very hot so go for either an early morning or a late evening boating trip. Also if you wish to explore the narrow canals then go for the paddle boats instead of motorboats. Cruise can do either by Rowboat / Motorboat.

Duration for the ride – 1 to 2 hours. 

You can suggest this boating for the Domestic, Malaysians

Timing: 08:00 A.M to 5:00 P.M 

Entry: Rs. 500 for Rowboat, & Rs. 1700 for Motorboat.

Interesting Nadi Astrology in Chidambaram, Vaitheeswaran kovil: Lord Shiva is the presiding deity at Vaitheeswaran temple. It is approximately 27 kilometers from Chidambaram. It is also a well-known Navagraha (nine planets) temple devoted to Mars (Sevvai). The Tamil word Vaitheeswaran translates to "God of Healing." The Vaitheeswaran temple is known for its ancient Nadi astrological tradition. It is thought that thousands of years ago, sages such as Agathiyar and Bhogar wrote palm leaf scrolls detailing facts about individuals' lives. Nadi astrologers in Vaitheeswaran Koil claim to be able to discover a person's individual Nadi leaf and understand the information imprinted on it, providing insights into their past, present, and future lives. It is thought to be a traditional prediction system that originated in South India, based on the idea that ancient sages recorded an individual's life history, current circumstances, and future prospects on palm leaves (Nadi). The method of Nadi Astrology consultation in Vaitheeswaran Koil normally includes: 

Initial Consultation: The seeker approaches a Nadi astrologer and provides basic information such as name, place of birth, and date of birth. Thumb Impression Analysis and Leaf Identification: The astrologer consults a large collection of palm leaf bundles and employs a variety of procedures, including thumb impressions, to determine the seeker's exact Nadi leaf. Nadi Leaf Reading: Once the Nadi leaf is found, the astrologer deciphers the ancient Tamil writing to disclose information about the seeker's past, present, and future. This could contain details about their career, relationships, health, financial situation, and karmic impacts. Remedies, Interpretation, and Guidance: Based on the Nadi leaf revelations, the astrologer may recommend specific remedies or guidance to overcome obstacles and improve outcomes.

Nadi astrology is highly valued in Vaitheeswaran Kovil, which is regarded as a sacred site for seeking spiritual guidance and life direction. It is critical to approach Nadi astrology from a balanced perspective. Devotees from all over travel to Vaitheeswaran Kovil, seeking to get insights into their lives and discover solutions to their issues through Nadi astrology consultations. There is various well-known and reputable Nadi astrology centers in Vaitheeswaran Kovil, which attract people from all over the places. Nadi astrology can provide unique insights into one's life. However, it is critical to maintain a healthy skepticism and make informed decisions based on a more comprehensive understanding of your circumstances.

Local festivals in Chidambaram: 

Aani Thirumanjanam Festival (June – July) – It is one of the most prominent celebrations held at Chidambaram Nataraja Temple. It is a magnificent ceremony that commemorates the sacred abhishekam (holy bath) of the famed Nataraja idol and Lord Shiva's cosmic dance. The celebration is held during the Tamil month of Aani (June-July), which coincides with the summer solstice. It is thought to have profound spiritual significance, representing soul purification and life regeneration. Aani Thirumanjanam is a week-long celebration, with the primary rites and abhishekam occurring on the full moon day of Aani. The activities begin with flag raising and special prayers. The temple complex is decked with vivid decorations, and there is a strong sense of dedication in the air. On the day of the abhishekam, the Nataraja idol is ceremonially removed from the sanctum sanctorum and installed on a separate platform in the temple courtyard. Devotees come in great numbers to watch the sacred event. The abhishekam is thought to purify the idol and confer benefits to worshipers. A team of priests performs the abhishekam according to rigorous Vedic chants and rituals. The statue is immersed in a variety of sacred liquids, including milk, curd, honey, panchamrita (a blend of five nectars) and herbal concoctions. The priests also decorate the idol with sandalwood paste, flowers, and jewelry. Devotees eagerly collect the holy water falling from the idol, believing it to have incredible cleaning and healing properties. The Therottam (chariot festival) is a highlight of the celebration, with an imposing chariot carrying Nataraja's idol being carried through Chidambaram's streets. Thousands of followers crowd the streets to see this spectacle, generating an aura of zeal and devotion.

Margazhi Arudra Darshan (December – January): Margazhi Arudra Darshan, held at the Chidambaram Nataraja Temple, is a highly significant festival cherished with great devotion by Hindus throughout India. The event, held during the Tamil month of Margazhi (December-January), corresponds with the full moon and the star constellation 'Arudra.' This is supposed to be the day Lord Shiva performed his cosmic dance (Ananda Tandava), which symbolizes the eternal cycle of creation and destruction. Seeing the Nataraja statue on this day is considered particularly lucky. Devotees believe it bestows blessings of good health, prosperity, and spiritual liberation. Margazhi Arudra Darshan also serves as the grand conclusion of the temple's annual Brahmotsavam festival, which lasts 10 days and include processions, rituals, and devotional performances. The central ceremony of Margazhi Arudra Darshan is a pre-dawn abhishekam (holy bath) conducted on the Nataraja statue. Following the abhishekam, a special Deepa Aradanai' (light illumination) ceremony is held. The sanctum sanctorum is lighted by countless oil lamps, producing a captivating spectacle. The temple vibrates with the chanting of Vedic hymns and devotional music throughout night, creating a spiritually charged atmosphere. Devotees gather at the temple for a special darshan (viewing) of the brilliant Nataraja idol, which is decked with gorgeous flowers and jewels. Furthermore, the Tamil month of Margazhi is thought to be the birth star (Thiruvathirai) of Lord Shiva.  Margazhi Arudra Darshan is an occasion to celebrate this divine birth.

Natyanjali Festival (February – March): The Chidambaram Nataraja Temple has numerous festivals throughout the year, the most important of which is the Natyanjali Dance Festival. The Natyanjali Festival, which literally means "offering of dance," honors Lord Shiva in his guise as Nataraja, the cosmic dancer. It is a five-day spectacle that takes place during the Tamil month of Maasi (February-March), coinciding with the holy event of Maha Shivaratri, the night dedicated to Lord Shiva. The festival is a combination of art and faith, bringing together dancers from across India to demonstrate their skills and pay tribute to Lord Shiva. It's a stunning combination of artistic expression and spiritual commitment. A grand stage within the temple complex hosts performances of several classical Indian dance styles such as Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Odissi, Kathak, and Mohiniyattam. The rhythmic feet, beautiful movements, and expressive narrative through dance create a captivating ambiance. The nights are filled with Carnatic music concerts, including renowned performers who captivate audiences with heartfelt interpretations of devotional songs dedicated to Lord Shiva. It's a fantastic opportunity to discover Tamil Nadu's rich cultural legacy. The event aims to promote and appreciate the beauty and diversity of Indian classical dance traditions. Dancers consider performing at the Natyanjali Festival to be a wonderful honor and an opportunity to contribute their artistic talents as a form of dedication.

Maha Shivaratri (February – March): Maha Shivaratri, also known as the Great Night of Lord Shiva, is celebrated with great devotion in Chidambaram during the Tamil month of Masi (February-March). Devotees gather to the Nataraja Temple to participate in rituals, prayers, and nightly vigils. Chants and hymns reverberate throughout the temple, creating a beautiful setting for spiritual reflection. The event honors Lord Shiva's marriage to Goddess Parvati, which represents the triumph of light over darkness.

Hotel details in Chidambaram: 

Hotel Names

Category 

Website Link

Lakshmivilas Heritage resort

Heritage – 12 Kms from Chidambaram 

https://www.lakshmivilasresort.com

Vandayar Hotel

Budget 

https://vandayarhotel.com/

Saradharam

Budget 

http://www.hotelsaradharam.com/

Grand Park

Budget 

https://thegrandpark.com/

Restaurants at Chidambaram: 

Vegetarian Restaurants

  • Palagaram.com (Pure Veg) 156 West Car Street, Chidambaram 608001.
  • Sri Krishna Vilas (Pure Veg) Opp. Nataraj Temple, Chidambaram
  • Adyar Ananda Bhavan A2B Veg Restaurant (Pure Veg) Old No. 17 New No. 18, East Car Street, Chidambaram

Non -Veg Restaurants: 

  • Vandayar Hotel (Veg & Non – Veg) No. 12, V.G.P. Street, Chidambaram.
  • Saradharam Heritage Hotel Lakshmi Vilas (Multi - Cuisine)  No 71/2, Sivankoil Street, T Nedunjeri, Cuddalore - 608305 (Chidambaram, Near Sivan Kovil)

Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary – Kodiakarai: The Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary, also known as Kodiakarai Wildlife Sanctuary, is a protected area in Tamil Nadu. It spans 21.47 square kilometers along the Palk Strait, where it meets the Bay of Bengal near Point Calimere on the southeastern tip of Nagapattinam District. The refuge was founded in 1967 and is recognized for its rich species. It was established to conserve the blackbuck antelope, an indigenous animal species in India. It also has a significant population of waterbirds and is well-known for bird watching, which includes greater flamingos, European bee-eaters, pelicans, painted storks, black ibis, and herons. The sanctuary is an important bird location and a Ramsar Site, which is a wetland site classified as of international importance. Spotted deer, monkeys, wild boars, saltwater crocodiles, and sea turtles are among the other wildlife that call the refuge home. It also supports a diverse plant community, including mangroves, evergreen trees, shrubs, and grasses. The best months to visit are December and February, when the weather is pleasant, and the birds are most plentiful. 

Vedaranayam is roughly 10 kilometers from the sanctuary. The distance between Chidambaram and Kodiakarai Wildlife Sanctuary is around 145 kilometers and takes about 3.5 hours to travel by car. Similarly, the travel from Velankanni to this sanctuary is around 50 kilometers and 1.5 hours. 

Time to Visit: 08.00 AM to 05.00 PM 

Entrance fee: Foreigners – Rs.100 & Indians – Rs.20 

Camera & Video: Camera Allowed but video not allowed.

Tranquebar

Tranquebar, also known as Tarangambadi, is a town in Tamil Nadu's Mayiladuthurai district, on the Coromandel Coast. Tarangambadi means "the land of the singing waves" in Tamil, reflecting the tranquil seaside landscape. It was originally a thriving Danish commercial center in India, founded around 1620. Today, it is a picturesque seaside town recognized for its historical landmarks, magnificent beaches, and laid-back lifestyle. Tranquebar was once a thriving Danish commercial port in India. It contributed significantly to the region's cultural and maritime heritage. Tarangambadi is notable historically because of its colonial background. Tarangambadi was a Danish settlement from 1620 to 1845. The Danish East India Company founded it as a trading center, which later became a fortified settlement. Tarangambadi served as a cultural interaction center between Denmark and India during the Danish colonial period. It witnessed the mingling of Danish and Indian cultures, resulting in a distinct cultural legacy. Clients typically visit this location on their way from Pondicherry to Velankanni or as an excursion from Velankanni itself. The distance between Veilankanni and Tranquebar is around 45 kilometers and 1.15 hours of driving.

Also, Tranquebar easily connected with three main ways in which the nearest airport is Trichy International airport (TRZ) which is 175 Kms away by air, the nearest major railway station is Mayiladuthurai, about 56 Kms away by rail and is well connected by road to other cities in Tamil Nadu.

To Explore Tranquebar for two main attractions: 

Danish Fort / Fort Dansborg: The Danish Fort at Tharangambadi, also known as Fort Dansborg, is a 17th-century fort on the Bay of Bengal in Tranquebar. It was constructed in 1620 by Danish Admiral Ove Gjedde on land donated by Thanjavur King Ragunatha Nayak. It functioned as the hub for Danish settlement in the region. The fort is the second-largest one ever erected by the Danes, after Kronborg in Helsingør. It's a great example of Danish architectural style, with enormous halls, lofty ceilings, columned constructions, and projecting drapery. The fort has a roughly trapezoidal shape, with the side facing the sea spanning 60 metres (200 feet) and a width of around 11 metres (36 feet). The fort has three rooms in the left wing, which were originally used as the governor's residence, a kitchen with an open fireplace and chimney in the upper left corner, and a church room, which is now a museum, in the center of the edifice. The museum inside the fort exhibits a variety of objects from the Danish era in India, such as furniture, coins, ceramics, weapons, paintings, and maps. It also houses a collection of gamla Danish (Old Danish) documents that recount the history of the Danish East India Company and its operations in Tranquebar. These exhibitions provide insight into the lives of the Danes who lived and worked in Tranquebar. Today, the fort is a major tourist attraction run by the Tamil Nadu Archaeology Department. The monument is designated as historically significant under the Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act of 1966. It's an excellent spot to learn about the history of Danish colonialism in India while also exploring the fort's architecture and relics.

Timings: 10.00 AM to 05.00 PM

Entrance Fee: Foreigners Rs.50 & Indians - Rs. 10

Still Camera fee: Foreigners Rs.100 & Indians - Rs. 50

Video Camera fee: Foreigners Rs.100 & Indians - Rs. 100

Holidays: Fridays & Government Holidays 

Tharangambadi Maritime Museum: The Tharangambadi maritime museum has displays of preserved sea life, shells, models of boat, utensils, costumes, paintings and little more that were used by the Danes. They also have a small Indian stamp collection.

Timings: Everyday 09.30 AM to 01.30 PM & 02.30 PM to 06.00 PM 

Entrance Fee: Foreigners Rs.20 & Indians - Rs. 10

Tranquebar Beach: Tranquebar Beach, also known as Tarangambadi Beach, is a stunning length of coastline in the town of Tranquebar (Tharangambadi), Mayiladuthurai district, Tamil Nadu. The beach's golden sand, clean seas of the Bay of Bengal, and scenic splendor make it an ideal location for leisure and recreation today. Previously, the beach became the hub of the Danish economic activity when they erected their first trade station in India. Fort Dansborg, which overlooks the coastline, was erected to safeguard the Danish town and its trading activity. On the right side of the shore, there is a magnificent governor's palace with historical significance.

Hotels in Tharangambadi: 

Hotel Names

Category

Website Link

The Bungalow On The Beach

Heritage

https://www.neemranahotels.com/the-bungalow-on-the-beach

Neemrana’s Coconut Alley

Heritage

https://www.neemranahotels.com/coconut-alley-tranquebar/

Thanga House

4 Bedroom Tamil Heritage Villa

https://www.luxunlock.com/tranquebar

Restaurant Details: 

There are no good dining options in Tharangambadi other than The Bungalow on the Beach and Neemrana Coconut Alley. If you aren't staying in Tharangambadi hotels, you have to travel 12-15 kms to find a restaurant.

Velankanni

Velankanni is a tiny coastal town in Tamil Nadu's Nagapattinam district, on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal. It is well known as a popular pilgrimage destination for Christians, primarily Catholics, but people of many faiths visit the shrine as well. The main attraction is the Basilica of Our Lady of Health, also known as Velankanni Church, which attracts millions of visitors each year. Velankanni was dubbed the "Lourdes of the East," referring to the well-known Marian pilgrimage site in France. Velankanni is regarded as one of the most important Marian shrines in the world. It draws millions of pilgrims, both from India and outside, notably during the yearly feast of Our Lady of Good Health, celebrated from August 30th to September 8th. Velankanni is best visited between November and February when temperatures are milder.

Velankanni is well connected with 03 main ways: 

By Air: The nearest airport is Trichy International Airport (TRZ) which is located at a distance of 175 Kms away to reach Velankanni. Tiruchirappalli Airport is well-connected with major cities in India, including Chennai, Bangalore, Delhi, and Mumbai

By Rail: Velankanni has its own railway station, but it has limited connectivity to major cities. The nearest major railway station is Nagapattinam Junction, located about 12 Kms from Velankanni. There are regular trains connecting Nagapattinam Junction to Chennai, Thanjavur, and other cities in Tamil Nadu. 

By Road: Velankanni is well-connected by road to major cities in Tamil Nadu. The Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) and State Express Transport Corporation (Tamil Nadu) (SETC), working together with private operators, operate express luxury buses from Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai, Salem, Tuticorin, Tirunelveli, Nagercoil, Trivandrum, Ernakulam, and Bangalore.

Main Attractions of Velankanni: 

Basilica of Our Lady of Health: The Basilica of Our Lady of Health, also known as the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Velankanni, is a Catholic shrine honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary. The shrine is one of the most revered Catholic pilgrimage sites in India, drawing millions of visitors each year. People of various religions come to the basilica to seek blessings, pray, and express gratitude for miracles they have received. The basilica dates back to the 16th or 17th century, according to oral tradition and popular belief. The devotion to Our Lady of Health at Velankanni dates back to the mid-16th century. According to history, the location has witnessed three amazing events: The Virgin Mary is reported to have appeared to a shepherd lad carrying milk and holding baby Jesus in her arms. Healing of a Lame Vendor: The Virgin Mary miraculously healed a physically handicapped buttermilk vendor. Rescue of Portuguese Sailors: During a terrible monsoon and tempest, Portuguese sailors were saved at Velankanni, thanks to divine intervention. These legends bolstered the town's reputation as a destination of miracles and healing, attracting pilgrims over the years. Pope John XXIII elevated the cathedral to the status of basilica in 1962. The Basilica of Our Lady of Health is a stunning architectural marvel constructed in the Gothic Revival style. Tall pillars, Gothic arches, stained glass windows, and a splendid altar characterize this architectural gem. It features three chapels, the Apparition Chapel, which is thought to have been built on the location where Mother Mary appeared to the shepherd boy; the Old Church, built in the 18th century and currently used as a prayer hall; and the New Church, the main church edifice, completed in the 1920s. It also includes Our Lady's Tank, Church Museum, Priests' Residence, Offering Center, Stations of the Cross, Mystery of the Rosary, Shrine Mega Mahal, and Velankanni Beach. The building is painted white, except for the red-tiled roof. Masses are held in a variety of languages throughout the day. Recognizing the significance of this settlement, the Pope in Vatican City designated Velankanni a holy city.

Timing: 05.30 AM to 09.00 PM 

Entrance fee: No 

Camera & Video Camera: Not allowed. 

Old Velankanni Church: The church, also known as the Shrine of Our Lady of Health (Small Church) or the Milky Way Church, is a historical structure located near the Basilica of Our Lady of Health. It is thought to have been built about the period that the Virgin Mary is claimed to have appeared. While the church is smaller than the basilica, it is historically significant. The Old Velankanni Church is a simpler building than the Basilica. Many visitors to the basilica also pay their respects at the Old Church.

Timing: 05.30 AM to 08.00 PM 

Entrance fee: No 

Camera & Video Camera: Not allowed. 

Velankanni Church Museum: The museum is located within the Basilica complex, near the main church building. This museum is dedicated to the apparitions of Mary and houses a collection of religious objects. This museum, also known as the Shrine Museum, is a treasure trove of knowledge and an excellent site to learn about the history of Christianity in Velankanni, including the Basilica of Our Lady of Health. The museum displays a collection of antiques, pictures, religious items, and papers from the pilgrimage center. The museum offers fascinating insights into the faith and dedication of pilgrims that visit Velankanni.

Timings: Everyday 10.00 AM to 06.00 PM

Entry: Free

Velankanni Beach: The beach is located close to the Basilica of Our Lady of Health, making it convenient to combine a visit to the religious site with some time spent at the beach. It is a beautiful stretch of golden sand bordering the Bay of Bengal. The beach has a peaceful atmosphere, but it can get crowded during peak pilgrimage seasons. There are a few small shops and stalls selling snacks, drinks, and beach essentials.

Main Festival in Velankanni: 

Annai Velankanni Church Festival (End of August up to First Week of September): The Annai Velankanni Church celebration, also known as the Feast of Our Lady of Health, is Velankanni's most popular celebration. It is a ten-day event that takes place in September at the Velankanni Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Health. This big event draws millions of devotees from all over the world, including Christians and people of other religions, who come to pay their respects at the shrine. The festival recalls the miracles credited to the shrine's patron saint, Our Lady of Health. The festivities begin with a flag-raising ceremony, followed by a magnificent parade of adorned chariots transporting statues of Mother Mary, St. Michael, and St. Joseph. Daily masses in many languages, including Tamil, Malayalam, and English, Konkani, Marathi, Telugu etc. Several religious processions are held throughout the ten-day celebration. On September 7th and 8th, the Bishops of Thanjavur lead the evening prayers. Cultural performances and events are also planned to entertain pilgrims. The ten-day festival culminates in the lowering of the flag on September 8th, signaling the end of the festivities. In addition to the Annai Velankanni Church Festival, the shrine has a chariot parade every Saturday throughout the year. The festival runs from August 30th until September 8th. The church is particularly popular at the annual feast of Our Lady of Health, which is held in September.

Hotels in Velankanni: 

Hotel Names

Category

Website Link

Clinton Park Inn

Standard

https://www.clintonparkinn.com/

Church View Suites

Standard

https://www.hotelmarylandsuites.com

Seagate Resort

Budget

http://www.velankannihotels.com/seagateresort

Queens Inn

Budget

https://www.queensinn.co.in

Restaurants in Velankanni:

  • Annai in Saravana Bhavan (Pure Veg), 91, Main Rd, Velankanni.
  • Neithal ocean food Restaurant, MDR544, Velankanni.
  • Chettinadu hotel, MVJ2+4V3, Beach Rd, Velankanni. 
  • Samudra seafood restaurant, MRMW+445, Velankanni.
  • Fish Land Multi-Cuisine Restaurant, Main Rd, Velankanni.

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