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Quaint and calm, Velankanni is a little hamlet tucked away in the state of Tamil Nadu, on the coast of Bay of Bengal. It is a famous Roman Catholic pilgrim centre and is visited by thousands of devotees for its shrine of ‘Our Lady of Good Health’ aka Mother Mary. Inspired by the Lourdes in France, Velankanni is also known as the “Lourdes of the East”. It has become one of the vital Marian sanctuaries of the world.
Though it is very religiously charged, Velankanni is worth exploring for the rich culture it holds of the colonial rule. The Virgin Mother appeared to the people and solved the problems they had. Her visits were cut into three events; appearing in front of a shepherd boy, the curing of a lame buttermilk vendor and protecting Portuguese traders from drowning during a storm. This gave her the name 'Our Lady of Good Health'. The church of Our Lady of Good Health was built in Gothic architecture and was modified by Portuguese and then further expanded later on due to the influx of pilgrimages.