Thursday, 3 November 2011

Annai Velankanni Matha Church


"Vailankanni" Meaning: Virgin of Velai, the town, also known as "VALANKANNI" or "Velanganni", is a small town on the sandy shores of the Bay of Bengal. It is situated 350 kilometers south of Chennai (previously called Madras the capital of Tamil Nadu, a South Eastern state of India) and 12 kilometers south of Nagappatinam. NAGAPATTINAM, a town on the coast of Bay of Bengal, was referred by early writers and the Portuguese as "the city of Coramandel' . VELLAYAR RIVER, a minor branch of the river Cauvery, runs on the south of the village and flows into the sea.


VELANKANNI festival is celebrated every year from August 29 to September 8. September 8 is considered favorable because it was the day the Portuguese sailors first landed in these parts and they built the first actual church.

Readers may be startled to learn that Vailankanni was once a port and there is evidence to prove this. Historical notes reveal that people in this area traded with Rome and Greece, the ancient commercial centers of the western world.

In the course of time, Nagapattinam expanded and this tiny commercial center (Vailankanni) gradually lost its importance. The canal that had been dug once for navigation between Nagapattinam and Vedaranyam still lies to the west of Vailankanni. The site of this important Christian shrine, Vailankanni was one of the worst hit areas in the Tsunami that followed the Dec 26, 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake.

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