Tourist Places in Thanjavur (Tamil Nadu) – VELANKANNI (11 kms. from Nagapattinam)

Known as the Lourdes of India, this prosperous town has developed as a great place of pilgrimage not only for the Roman

Back view of Basilica
Catholic Christians, but also to Hindus and Muslims. It is located on the sea shore in idyllic surroundings at the confluence of river Vellayan with the sea. Started a small shrine for Virgin Mary by some Portuguese sailors, it grew into prominence as Our Lady of Health or Arogya Matha. The present magnificent new Church gives a majestic appearance. The structure has two lofty spires towering to a height of 25 metres. A miniature statue of Virgin Mary wearing a crown of gold and precious stones and holding Infant Jesus in her arms stands on the altar. A grand annual festival is celebrated from August 29th to September 8th on the birth day of Virgin Mary, when thousands of devotees assemble here with their thanks giving offerings.

Vedaranyam: 38 kms. from Nagapattinam. This is a popular Shaivite pilgrim centre with an ancient temple. According to local tradition, it is believed that the divine couple of Shiva and Parvati appeared before sage Agastya in the bridal form as desired by him. The Kalyana Utsava is celebrated here on a grand scale during the Tamil month of Thai and Adi.

Kodikarai (Point Calimere): 10 kms. from Vedaranyam. This coastal wildlife sanctuary is the home of migratory birds particularly water fowl and flamingos. Popular among the bird watchers and photographers, this place is visited by many such enthusiasts during November to January. Other wildlife like black buck and wild ass can also be seen in this area.
Nagapattinam is connected by rail and by road. All the places of tourst interest can be approached by frequently running buses. There are very good lodges in the city and a few rest houses.

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