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Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Health Vailankanni - Christian Pilgrim Centre In India

Dedicated to Our Lady of Health, Madonna of Vailankanni, the shrine on the eastern coast of India is known as the 'Lourdes of the East'.

According to belief, in 1560, Virgin Mary appeared to a shepherd asking him for milk for Baby Jesus. When the shepherd returned to his master after the task, his pitcher kept filling up with milk and thus began the legond of the Virgin Maiy on the Goromondel coast of southern state of Tamil Nadu. A thatched chapel was built on the spot immediately afterwards.

Towards the end of 16fh century, Virgin Mary appeared to a lame boy and rectified physical disability. Soon the thatched chapel was converted into a church as the popularity spread. It is popularly known as the Sacred Amyya Matha (Mother of Health) Church, and believed to have miraculous healing ability.

Thousands flock to the shrine from all over India and abroad. Many offer a candle in the shape of their affected organ, and most return with stories of miraculous healing of their ailment. Hundreds return witfl small urydn replicas in gold and silver to thank the Mother for healing. Offerings, addressed to the shrine, are also occasionally thrown into the sea in sealed bottles and hollow bamboo.

Pilgrim Season and Festival: The festival of the Madonna of Vailankanni is celebrated over ten days from August 28th to September 10 every year. Millions flock to the shrine from all over, and traditionally bathe in the sea, shave their heads and walk on thfiir knees or roll to the shrine.

Location: Nearest airports are the Chennai Intamatfonal Aupurt or rhe Tiruchirapalli Airport. The shrine is 12 km from coastal city of Nagapattinam.

Nearest railway stations are Nagapattinam, Thanjavur, Trichy, Chennai. There are also bus links to the shrine from various parts of Tamil Nadu.

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Source Catholic Dir Of India 2005