Our trip to the sacred town of Velankanni came with the flavor of a closely-knit family getaway. This little town of Tamil Nadu, on the Coromandel Coast, is home to one of the most sacred Churches in India. Add to it a beautiful beach, a day trip to a bird sanctuary, scrummy food options, and some shopping too for a perfect family escape.
On reaching Velankanni, we parked our car at our hotel in Velankanni. A little bit of freshening up later, we were on the streets, out to explore Velankanni, together!
The Velankanni Church
As we ambled into the historic Church compound, we found multitudes of people from across religions, many of them ailing, to seek blessings of good health from The Lady of Health or The Madonna of Velankanni. A Holy Mass was in progress at the time we reached. Renowned for having miraculous powers, the presiding deity of Virgin Mary with Baby Jesus in her arms stood tall at the altar. What amazed us was that the pilgrims were offering wax models of body organs that they sought to be healed, for worship. We were having a chat with this young lady, just outside the main hall. She went all ga-ga about the Annual Feast of Our Lady of Health which is celebrated every year with much enthusiasm. I quietly added it to my bucket list!
Post-lunch, we went to the nearby Morning Star Church and then headed to beautiful Sikkal to offer our prayers at the Temple of Lord Murugan. As the sky turned orange-hued, we knew it was time for a gorgeous sun-downer at Velankanni Beach. With the cool breeze blowing, we settled down on the beach with some tender coconut to sip. A lively and popular area, the beach was just perfect for a relaxing break, and not to forget for some amazing selfies. The kids got very busy making sandcastles, while we sat taking in the serene ambiance.
Next up was the Velankanni market, which turned out to be the best place to shop for souvenirs, local sweets, spices, handicrafts, and indigenous silk fabric.
Come next day, our crazy family descended upon Kodiakkarai Wild Life Sanctuary, some 50 km away from Velankanni town. Abutting the blue waters of Palk Strait, this natural reserve offered us great opportunities to spot a blue buck, wild boar, flamingos, and even marsh crocodiles amidst natural surroundings.
Eating to our Heart’s content
Peppering in between all the places of interest in Velankanni, food was the other highlight of the trip. Every now and then our tummies revolted in tandem. Blame it on all the delicious foods that were in offing. For our first day’s lunch, we headed to a South-Indian Thali restaurant to experience the best of local cuisine. Post-meal, a cup of South-Indian filter Kapi was only obvious. The restaurant at the Clinton Park Inn, where we dined that night, also proved to be an excellent choice. Roadside eateries selling raw-banana fritters, lassi, dal vada, sea-food, and a galore of other tempting tit-bits kept alluring us through the two days. The local Beetroot halwa was our best discovery!
Stays in Velankanni
We found that our stay at family rooms in a Velankanni hotel that was close to the church very convenient as it was within easy access to all amenities.
A traditional Ayurvedic spa at the Clinton Park Inn, one of the well-known hotels of Velankanni, was the perfect sign-off for our perfect family holiday!