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Bandel Church - Christian Pilgrim Centre In India

The Portuguese consecrated the Church of Our Lady of Happy Voyage in 1599, less than two decades after establishing their settlement in Bandel de Hoogly, close to Calcutta in eastern India. )n 1632 the Moghul Emperor Shah Jehan attacked and destroyed the Portuguese settlement including the church after the latter violated the agreement with Moghuls and carried out slave trade and supported Moghul enemies.

A year later the Moghul Emperor had a change of heart and allowed the colony to be rebuilt, and he gifted 101.21 hectares of land to the local Christians.

According to local history, the Portugese built the present church and monastery in 1660. A ship's mast that is in front of the Church was donated by the Captain of a vessel that was saved by the Virgin from a storm in the Bay of Bengal.

The new shrine is dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary (Nossa Senhora di Rozario). The Salesian Calcutta province took over the shrine in 1928 and it was declared a Basilica in 1989.

Pilgrim Season and Festival: The annual festival is held in second week of November every year. Pilgrims from all over join thousands from eastern Indian states of Bihar, Orissa and West Bengal to celebrate the miracles and thank Our Lady of Rosary.

Location: Bandel is 43 kilometers from Calcutta, capital of West Bengal that has a well connected airport. Bandel has a railway station that is linked to Howrah station. From the railway station the Basilica is hardly 15 minutes by rickshaw, taxi or bus

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Source: Catholic Dir Of India 2005