Velankanni Church | History and Mass Timings

Velankanni Church is fondly known as the ‘Lourdes of the East’ because, like Lourdes in France, millions of pilgrims visit the Shrine throughout the year, praying to Our Lady for various needs and thanking her for the favours received through her intercession.

Velankanni Church mass timings

Velankanni (Meaning: Virgin of Velai, the town), also known as “Vailankanni” or “Velanganni,” is a small town on the sandy shores of the Bay of Bengal. It is 350 kilometres south of Chennai and 12 kilometres south of Nagapattinam. Nagapattinam, a town on the coast of the Bay of Bengal, was referred to by early writers as “the city of Coramandel’. Vellayar river, a minor branch of the Kaveri river, runs south of the village and flows into the sea.

Velankanni was once a port, and there is evidence to prove this. People in this area buy and sell goods or services with Rome and Greece, the ancient commercial centres of the western world, and historical notes reveal that.

The site of this important Christian Shrine, Velankanni, was one of the worst hit areas in the Tsunami that followed the Dec 26, 2004, Indian Ocean earthquake.

History of Velankanni Church:

Our Lady, with her infant son, come to a Hindu boy. He is carrying milk to a customer’s home. He relaxed under a Banyan tree near a pond or tank, Our Lady came into sight and asked for milk for her baby boy, and the boy gave her some. On careful examination, the man found the milk pot full and realized that miraculous had happened.

Later, Our Lady appeared again. This time to a disabled boy selling buttermilk. She asked him for buttermilk for her Son, and the boy complied.

Our Lady asked the boy to inform a certain wealthy Catholic man in the nearby Nagapattinam town of her arrival. He did not realize that Our Lady miraculously cured his crippled leg. The man also had a vision the night before Our Lady asked him to build a chapel for her.

Later, Our Merciful Mary rescued a few merchant Portuguese sailors from a violent storm that a ship destroyed at sea. When Portuguese merchants reached the seashore of Velankanni, Local fishermen took them to the building with a straw chapel roof.

A small permanent chapel is built on their return trip to give thanks and pay gifts intended to show gratitude to Our Lady. On successive visits, they improved on it. The traders dedicated the chapel to Our Lady on Sept 8 to celebrate her nativity’s feast and mark the date of their safe landing to Velankanni.

Velankanni Church Mass Timings:

The Shrine is kept open from 5.00 am morning to 9.00 pm evening.

Daily Services:

Every Morning:
  • 5:45 am Holy Mass in Tamil 
  • 6:45 am High Mass in Tamil
  • 9:00 am Holy Mass in Malayalam
  • 10:00 am Holy Mass in English
  • 12:00 am Holy Mass in Tamil 
Every Evening:
  • 6:00 pm Novena Prayers, Rosary, Evening prayers.
  • 6:30 pm Holy Mass in Tamil.

Weekly Services:

Thursday Evenings:
  • 6:30 pm Holy Mass in Tamil
All Saturdays:
  • 7:00 am Holy Mass at Our Lady’s Tank
  • 5:45 pm Car Procession around the Shrine Basilica, Rosary, Novena prayers, Blessing with the Statue of Our Lady.
  • 6:30 pm Holy Mass in Tamil 
Sunday Morning :
  • 5:45 am Holy Mass in Tamil
  • 7:30 am High Mass in Tamil
  • 10:00 am Holy Mass in English
  • 12:00 am Holy Mass in Tamil
Sunday Evening :
  • 5:30 pm Rosary, Novena Prayers
  • 5:00 pm Holy Mass in Tamil

Monthly Services

First Friday :
  • 6:00 pm Eucharistic Procession around the Shrine.
First Saturday :
  • 6:15 pm Blessing of the Sick with the Blessed Sacrament

Annual Feast Day at Velankanni Church:

This ten days feast is organized each year at the Velankanni Church. People travel from different places to participate. The feast show respect for the Mother of Good Health, to whom the deity is dedicated. The feast is organized on Aug 29 every year and starts with a flag hoist. The flag is hoisted for the next nine days regularly till the closing of the annual day.

Best Time To Visit Velankanni:

Taking a pilgrimage to Velankanni Church can be done throughout the year. It will be good to plan from October to March as the climate will be mild and cool.

Hotels near Velankanni Church:

These are the Hotels nearby Velankanni Church:

  • Hotel Seagate 
  • Hotel golden sand
  • Hotel picnic 
  • Suriya lodge
  • Hotel orchard inn
  • MGM velankanni 
  • Sri Gnana Vedha Beach Residency
  • Hotel Vpn Residency
  • Hotel Mary Land Velankanni
  • Hotel church park 
  • RR residency
  • Hotel Annai Bay
  • Clinton Park Inn
  • Hotel Queens Inn Velankanni
Velankanni Church room booking:

Both rooms and cottages are available. The Church has 1,620 rooms and 11 halls (50 to 100 people can stay in each). Tariffs range from Rs 40 to Rs 100 per day. At the festival time, people rent out their houses as well. You can contact to Rooms Booking Office.

  • 04365-264890 
  • 04365-263421 


The Shrine canteen caters to the needs of all standards of people, mainly the poor & helpless, with both veg and non-veg food, at moderate prices aiming at a no-profit and no-loss motto to serve the pilgrims. It functions every day from 6 am to 10 pm.

Places to visit in Velankanni:

Velankanni Beach: A big beach close to the Church is there. The sea is quite rough, and one needs to be careful. It is a very touristy beach.

Velankanni Church Museum: Visit the church museum with exhibits that take you through the Church’s history and the town’s development in the last few centuries.

Tsunami Memorial: Nagapattinam was one of the worst-hit places during the Tsunami of 2004. The memorial is a regretful reminder of the lives lost and the destruction caused in December 2004.

Sikkal Singaravelar Temple: A popular temple in a small village called Sikkal, the presiding deity in this temple is Singaravelar (Lord Muruga). Lord Navaneetheswarar (a form of Lord Shiva) and his consort Nedum Kanni Amman (Goddess Parvathi) are in this temple.

Handicrafts and silk: Velankanni beach is an unexpected shopper’s den. It is one of those few beaches where silk and handicrafts are sold to pilgrims who visit Velankanni Mata.

Places inside the Velankanni Church to visit:
  • Our Lady’s Tank
  • Priests’ Residence
  • Offering Center
  • Stations of the Cross
  • Stations of the Rosary
  • Shrine Mega Mahal

Tourist places around Velankanni are as follows:

  • Nagore dargah 18 km
  • Saniswaran temple thirunallar 35 kms
  • Wildlife and birds sanctuary 50 km
  • Tanjore temple 90 kms
  • Poondi church (shrine basilica) 100 km

How to reach Velankanni Church:

By Air: The nearest airport is Tiruchirapalli, which is 165 km from Velankanni. Book a taxi from there to reach Velankanni.

By Rail: The nearest station is Nagapattinam, about 12km from where regular buses and taxis are available. Velankanni is connected to the state capital Chennai by rail. A daily train called Velankanni-Chennai Egmore Link Express connects Velankanni and Chennai Egmore.

By Road: Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) and State Express Transport Corporation (Tamil Nadu) (SETC), along with the private operators, operate express to luxury buses such as Volvos and Mercedes from Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai, etc.

Velankanni Church Contact Address:

Very Rev. Fr. P. Xavier Rector
Shrine Basilica
Vailankanni 611111
Nagapattinam District
Tamilnadu, INDIA

Official Website:

Velankanni Church Contact Number:

  • 04365-263423(Shrine Number)
  • 04365-263584
  • 04365-263530 (Father’s personal) 
  • 04365-263517 (Father’s Fax) 


What is famous about Velankanni?

Picturesque scenery. Religious significance.

What is the local food in Velankanni?

You can try the fresh fish fries available at the seaside.

What is the best way to reach Church?

Velankanni Church is difficult to reach as you can reach it by road Transport.

Where is Velankanni Church?

Velankanni is a small town, Nagapattinam(D), Tamil Nadu(S), India
Telephone code: 04365

Which is the closest airport to the Velankanni Church?

The closest airport is Trichy or Tiruchirapalli, which lies 153 kilometres from Velankanni.

Who built the Velankanni Church?

Velankanni Church was built in the late 16th century CE with modifications by the Portuguese.

How to go from Nagapattinam to Velankanni church?

The quick and easiest way to get from Nagapattinam to Velankanni is by taxi, which costs 280 RS – 340 RS and takes 11 min.