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Sunday, February 20, 2011

A PILGRIMAGE

One day, very recently, as I was walking it suddenly came to my mind that I should make a pilgrimage to Velankanni which is the abode of our Lady of Good Health. I tried to get a train reservation but was told that I should book at least three months in advance. So I booked in the Volvo bus which is air conditioned and very comfortable.

I left Kochi which is on the western side of South India on a Friday evening and reached Velankanni which is on the eastern side of South India early in the morning on Saturday. I checked into my hotel, had a wash and went straight to church complex which is very sprawling and has four main churched in different locations within walking distance. I spent substantial time in the different churches attending masses and taking part in a procession. I also spent some time in the nearby beach both in the morning as the sun was rising and also in the evening when it became crowded with people. It was a wonderful experience and I could spend most of the day praying and thinking about God and my salvation. I felt very refreshed and rejuvenated and I felt that a heavy weight has been lifted away from my shoulders.

On Sunday morning the bus left Velankanni around 8am and reached Kochi before 9pm. Here are some photos for your viewing pleasure. Please click on the photos to enlarge.

Full view of the main church from the western side.Actually this church is so long that I could not get the full church.

The western side of the main church.

A side view of the main church.

The eastern side of the main church.

This church is built on the spot where our Lady appeared before a lame butter milk man.

Photography inside the church is not allowed but I managed to take a few.This is one of them.

Some devotees go on their knees up to the church.I was told that it will take about 2 hours to reach the church.You can imagine their suffering.Not only the sun is hot but the sand on which they move on their knees also get very hot.

This church is built on the spot where our Lady appeared near a water tank.

I lit a candle and prayed

This church has been specially built for prayer,meditation and divine blessings.

Garden of Jordan- Jesus being baptized by John the Baptist.

Some devotees tie their hopes, desires,dreams and prayers here.

Some devotees tonsure their heads as a mark of visit to our Lady of Good Health

I participated in this procession round the church.

This I consider as one of my finest photos. The sun coming up and the main church in the foreground.

25 comments:

  1. The photo's are awesome Joseph, it must have been very inspirational and a benefit to you.
    I hope it has helped you. This was an excellent post.

    Yvonne.

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  2. oh wow what a gorgeous church...was just talking the other day with another blogger on teh lost discipline of pilgrimage and how important it is..

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  3. Hi Joseph,

    I envy you! I haven't been to Vailankanni for a long time. The last time I went there was when I was a teenager, but I didn't know the details of Our Lady's appearances there. All I knew was she purportedly appeared there. I have since learned much more about Our Lady of Vailankanni and blogged about it here. The beautiful basilica was built by the Portuguese as an act of thanksgiving. Their ship was caught up in a frightening storm in the Bay of Bengal, and they pledged they would build a church in Mary’s honour wherever they landed if she saved them. The Asian Tsunami in 2004 killed many people in and around Vailankanni but the basilica and the people inside were miraculously spared of any damage.

    I've been studying some of Our Lady's other approved apparitions - Lourdes, Fatima, Guadeloupe, Akita, La Salette, etc - and I find them fascinating. I'm hoping to visit Fatima soon if all goes well. There up to 70,000 people, including believers and non-believers, saw the Miracle of Sun.

    I hope to visit Vailankanni again in the future. I will appreciate the place more next time having read about it.

    Best wishes,
    JI.

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  4. what an experience for you. Things are so very different where you are and you never fail to share the time you spend exploring. Its a travel experience for all your viewers. I have been learning so much about your culture. Thank you for taking the time to share this with your readers.

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  5. Wow!
    You have captured the beauty of this church. You too look very good. Must have been a very relaxing trip. I think travelling by bus is much better, though it may cost a little more. I always like to come to your blog to see your lovely photographs, please keep posting them.
    Thanks.

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  6. Amazing, After seeing those pictures i had a feeling like just been there at Velankanni. Nice post. Keeps sharing Joseph .God bless you

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  7. You capture society and culture very refreshingly. I was particularly struck by the custom of tonsuring by Christian devotees...I thought it was a part of Hindu culture! Interesting.

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  8. Excellent pictures, Joseph. The church is quite spectacular. I am intrigued to learn that some devotees go there on their knees, it must be quite difficult to do for so long.

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  9. Hi Joseph, I really enjoy your pictures! It is a close second to being there. Quite uplifting. Beautiful!

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  10. Thank you for sharing your pilgrimage with us. This is a very holy impressive church. Must be very old. I like the Jordan Garden.

    I read about it with the tsnami news.

    Your fotos are very nice- they us a a good view of the church.
    I really marvel at the pilgrims who approach the church on their knees.

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  11. Joseph, I'm astonished by the size and architecture of the church. Just could not imagine having such a glorious structure in Hindu India. It took my breathe away. May the Good Lord bless and keep you and others as you practise and keep your faith in a sea of Hindus! Thanks for sharing.

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  12. Hi Joseph,
    Oh, I envy you! A thought comes to your mind and then you are on the other side of the country following your inspiration; and with your great photos it is no wonder why you wanted to go. What words are there to express such beauty? I am also encouraged to spend time like you did alone and in prayer. Great post Joseph,
    Fred

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  13. Great to know you went there. That shot of Garden of Jorden and the sun setting on Velankanni are fabulous!!!
    Fashion Panache - Perfect Patialas for Sale
    Parappalaru Falls Trek

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  14. Oh, Joseph, this post is positively delightful! I am so glad you listened to that desire to make a pilgrimage to this beautiful location full of so much faith and devotion. I enjoyed every photo and every detail that you shared of your experience! I hope so much that you will continue to feel refreshed and uplifted for many weeks or months to come. I know you will remember this experience for the rest of your life!

    The whole place is so beautiful, thanks so much for sharing this!

    Blessings,
    Mel :)

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  15. I am glad you feel refreshed from your pilgrimage. It is nice to have ones soul cleansed. The church is beautiful and I enjoyed all the pictures, they are very nice as usual. Have a nice week.

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  16. the church is beautiful and looks so bright in the sun!!!!

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  17. Joseph sir

    wonderful picture
    and simple narrations

    my new post on Attukal Pongala

    thanks for sharing

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  18. Namaste...
    Thanks for taking me on the pilgrimage with you. I am glad you were able to lay your burdens down and feel light and rejuvernated. May carry you through.

    Peace.....
    Stay blessed
    Rhapsody

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  19. Joseph, I am sorry about you emails and facebook, I had trouble with my facebook a few weeks ago so I deactivated it, set up a new email address and started all over again with facebook. I couldn't remember all my friends but they are gradually coming back.
    Good luck and thanks for popping by,
    Yvonne.

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  20. Hi Joseph! The church look awesome! I'm glad you managed to make the trip and to take the pictures for us to enjoy!!

    Blogtrotter Two is strolling in Southern France amidst the best of the perfumes... Enjoy and have a great week!!

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  21. Received your message, Joseph. Hope eveything gets put right soon. Best wishes.

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  22. Hello Joesph, there is an award for you at my blog. It's called Friends For The Journey.

    Yvonne.

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  23. Lovely church ... u have bcome very religious
    I feel. Its nice to see and learn things - where one is not able to reach.

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  24. Hi Rema,

    I was always religious. But some how I never got a chance to go on a pilgrimage when I was working.
    Now as I am growing older, I feel compelled to visit holy places.

    All the best to you and your family,
    Joseph

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