Saturday, November 28, 2015

Velankanni Church (Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health), Nagapattinam

Velankanni Church (Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health), Nagapattinam
Velankanni is home to one of the country's biggest Catholic pilgrimage centres. The Catholic Basilica devoted to Our Lady of Good Health is popularly known as the "Lourdes of the East". The origins of this church can be traced back to the 16th century and its founding is attributed to three miracles: the apparition of Mary and Jesus to a slumbering shepherd boy, the curing of a lame buttermilk vendor, and the survival of Portuguese sailors assaulted by a violent sea storm. It is built in the Gothic style, was modified by Portuguese and then further expanded later on due to the influx of pilgrims. The church building was raised to the status of basilica in 1962 by Pope John XXIII.

Annually, 20 million pilgrims flock to the shrine from all over India and abroad, out which an estimated 3 million people visit the shrine during its annual festival from 29 August to 8 September. The 11-day annual festival concludes with the celebration of the Feast on 8 September.
Tradition recounts that Mother Mary appeared with the Infant Jesus in this small hamlet at the end of the 16th or in the early 17th century. Ever since, Velankanni is the most important destination and almost the synthesis of all Marian Sanctuaries for the pilgrims of the world. The crowds of pilgrims come here regardless of creeds and languages. 

Our Lady of Good Health, also known as Our Lady of Velankanni, is a celebrated Catholic title of the Blessed Virgin Mary believed to have appeared in Velankanni TownTamil NaduIndia. According to traditional beliefs, the Marian apparition is said to have occurred to a young boy delivering milk to the neighbourhood when the Virgin Mary, carrying the child Jesus, is said to have appeared. This apparition has not been approved by the Holy See.

The Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health erected by the Portuguese and the Indians stands at this site. The iconic depiction of the Madonna is unique in that it is one of two only icons where Mary is portrayed wearing an Indian Sari, while the other statue is said to have been buried with Aurangzeb, the Mughal Emperor. The basilica is known as a site for pilgrims from all over India and its assembly of multilingual prayers every Christmas.
Velankanni officially spelled as Vailankanni (Canal of white, the river), also spelled as "Velanganni" (due to Tamil to English Transliteration), is a panchayat town in Nagapattinam district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It lies on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal, 350 km south of Chennai (Madras) and 12 km south of Nagapattinam.
Once a port that traded with Rome and Greece, the tiny commercial center gradually lost its importance to the larger city of Nagapattinam. The canal built to link this town with Vedaranyam still lies to the west. The Vellayar, a minor branch of the Cauvery River, runs south of the town and discharges into the sea. The town was among the worst hit by the tsunami caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake.

The town is home to a significant Roman Catholic Latin Rite shrine dedicated to God in the name of Our Lady of Good Health, Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health. Velankanni has been chosen as one of the heritage cities for HRIDAY - Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana scheme of Government of India.
Geography & Climate
Velankanni is located 350 kilometers (220 mi) south of Chennai and 14 kilometers (8.7 mi) south of Nagapattinam on the Coramandel coast, at 10.40°N 79.49°E in Nagapattinam district of Tamil nadu state.
36 °C (97 °F)
29 °C (84 °F)
28 °C (82 °F)
21 °C (70 °F)

As of 2001 the Indian census indicated Velankanni had a population of 10,144. Males constitute 48% of the population and females 52%. Citizens there have an average literacy rate of 69%, higher than the national average of 68%: male literacy is 75%, and female literacy is 64%. 12% of the population is under 6 years of age.
There are no historical documents or records about the apparitions of Mary at Velankanni. Oral tradition is the source for the two apparitions of the Blessed Mother of Velankanni in the 16th century and the saving of the Portuguese sailors from a tempest in the Bay of Bengal in the later 17th century.
The first apparition is said to have occurred in May of 1570, when a local shepherd boy was delivering milk to a nearby house. Along the way he met a beautiful woman holding a child, who asked for some milk for the little one. After giving her the milk, he continued on his way, and upon making the delivery discovered that the jug was now completely full of fresh, cool milk. A small shrine was built near the site where the boy encountered the woman, a location that came to be called Matha Kulam, which means Our Lady’s Pool. 

The second apparition is said to have happened in 1597, not far from Matha Kulam. A beautiful woman with a young boy in her arms appeared to a young crippled boy selling buttermilk. The little boy asked for some buttermilk, and after he drank it, the woman asked the boy selling buttermilk to visit a gentleman in the next town and ask him to build a chapel in her honor at that location. The boy set out quickly and realized that he was no longer lame. A small thatched chapel was quickly built in honor of Our Lady of Health, called in Tamil “Arokia Matha.” 
The third incident occurred when a Portuguese ship sailing from Macau to Sri Lanka was caught in a storm in the Bay of Bengal. They invoked the help of the Blessed Virgin under her title "Star of the Sea". The storm subsided and the 150 men on board were saved. It was September 8, the Feast of the Nativity of Mary. In thanksgiving, the sailors rebuilt the Shrine to Our Lady of Good Health, and continued to enhance it whenever their voyages brought them to the area.

The shrine that started as a thatched chapel in the mid-sixteenth century became a parish church in 1771 when Catholics in India were under persecution from the Dutch. Later in 1962 it was granted a Special status of a Minor Basilica by Pope John XXIII.
The shrine of Velankanni was elevated to the status of 'Minor Basilica' and merged with the Major Basilica of Mary (Mary majore) in Rome on 3 November 1962 by Pope John XXIII.
Velankanni was a part of the parish of Nagapattinam, but as pilgrims began to pour into Velankanni, it was raised to the status of an independent parish in 1771, and Fr. Antonio de Rozario the last parish priest of the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Nagapattinam, was appointed the first Parish priest of Velankanni. Nagapattinam had always been under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Bishop of the Diocese of Mylapore. During that period the Diocese of Mylapore was administered under the Portuguese 'Padroado' (patronage). Under the Padroado system, the king of Portugal in Europe met all the expenses incurred by the Diocese of Mylapore, which remained under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiffs.
Until 1847 the priests of St. Franciscan Missionaries who had looked after the province of Goa and Mylapore also looked after Nagapattinam and Velankanni. The Franciscan origin and ownership of the Shrine was also perpetuated, by giving the place of honor to two Franciscan saints, St. Anthony of Lisbon and St. Francis of Assisi, on either side of the miraculous image of 'Our Lady', on the High Altar until 1961. Besides the last parish priest, Miguel Francisco Fernandez, who was of the Franciscan order, controlled the parish of Velankanni till 1889. In 1890 the parish was handed over to diocesan priests.
Thereafter, the diocesan priests of the Diocese of Mylapore were in charge of Velankanni. In 1952, when the new Diocese of Thanjavur came into being, and Velankanni became a part of the new diocese, the priests of Thanjavur Diocese became the custodians of the Shrine. The administration of the new Diocese was imagesorarily placed under the apostolic administration of the Rt. Rev. Dr. Louis Mathias, S.D.B., who was then the Archbishop of the new Archdiocese of Madras-Mylapore.

On March 19, 1953, His Excellency the Rev. Dr. R. Arokiasamy Sundaram, DD., L. C. L., M. A., a priest of Mylapore Archdiocese was appointed as the first Bishop of the new Diocese of Thanjavur. He assumed charge of his Diocese on March 24, 1953.
Velankanni being situated in the Thanjavur District came under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Thanjavur. The Rev. Dr. R. Arokiasamy Sundaram showed keen interest in the development of Velankanni Shrine and granted special spiritual privileges. 'Our Lady of Health Velankanni' became the second patroness of our newly erected Diocese.
Elevation of the Shrine to the status of a Basilica:
The greatest honour that can be conferred to a Church is to elevate it to the status of a Basilica. The word ‘Basilica’ is derived from the Greek word ‘Basilike’ and it originally signified a Royal Hall. In course of time this word has come to mean a large and beautiful hall. In ancient times kings from all over the world in general, and from Rome in particular, constructed large hall for administrative purposes. The first hall bearing the name of Basilica existed in Athens.
Jesus Christ being the King of Kings, and His Churches being His audience halls, the larger Christian Churches in Rome came to be called Basilicas.
Today, a Basilica is a consecrated Church usually built with the front facing the East, and generally constructed in one of the classical styles of architecture. It is oblong in shape with a broad nave ending in an apse. It is now stipulated that a church, in order to be called a Basilica, should contain some work of art, or it should contain some work of art, or it should house the body of a saint or a celebrated image much venerated in the land, or be a pre-eminent place of pilgrimage.
His Excellency, Dr. R.A. Sundaram D.D., L.C.L., M.A., the first Bishop of the diocese of Thanjavur, earnestly petitioned Pope John XXIII to raise the Shrine of Velankanni to the Status of a Basilica and also requested His Holiness to enrich it with all the privileges attached to a Basilica for the spiritual benefit of the pilgrims.
In 1962, when Bishop Sundaram went to Rome to attend the second session of the Second Vatican Council, he reiterated his request to the Holy Father personally to raise the Shrine of Our Lady of Velankanni to the lofty status of a Minor Basilica. After examining the request carefully, His Holiness Pope John XXIII, of saintly memory, issued orders raising the Shrine to the exalted status of a Minor Basilica. Thus the Shrine of Velankanni became the Shrine Basilica of Velankanni in November 1962 and was linked to the St. Mary’s Major Basilica in Rome
Layout of the Basilica complex:
1.    Basilica,
2.    Nadu Thittu shrine, site of second apparition,
3.    Adoration & Reconciliation chapel,
4.    Our Lady's Pond, site of first apparition,
6.    Stations of the Rosary
7.    Stations of the Sacraments
The Basilica is built in the Gothic style of architecture. The southern side was extended in 1928 and the northern in 1933. The Shrine Basilica contains three chapels, as well as Our Lady's Tank, Church Museum, Priests' Residence, Offering Center, Stations of the Cross, Stations of the Rosary, Shrine Mega Mahal and Velankanni Beach. The building is painted in white, except for the roof that is made of tiles of striking red color.
Southern Side:
The early part of the 20th century marked rivalry between Jesuits and Franciscans regarding their influence on missionary work in Velankanni. In 1928 a solution was found to this problem. The Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (managed by the Jesuits) was demolished and the statues were brought to the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Health; in 1933 the Shrine was expanded with two new wings, to the right and to the left of the 'Main Altar', meeting the nave at right angles.
Northern Side:
A spacious vestry was provided immediately behind the altar. Thus the entire sacred edifice began to assume the shape of a Latin cross. Right over the center of the ancient main altar was the miraculous image of Our Lady of Good Health.
Shrine Altar:
In 1956, a new welcome arch was blessed and opened by Bishop Sundaram. The illuminated arch stood to show the way to eager pilgrims who sought the protection of Mary. In January 1961, a new central altar, delicately executed in spotless white marble, replaced the former one made of cement concrete.
Extension Basilica: Altar
In 1974-75, an extension of the basilica was built behind the existing central altar to accommodate the multilingual pilgrims. The extension included a two-storied church with 93 feet (28 m) high dome and 82 feet (25 m) high gothic spirals. It was designed to resemble the Basilica in Lourdes, France.
Detailed Velankanni Layout

Details of the Velankanni Sketch
1. Shrine Basilica
2. Our Lady of Dolours Church
3. Museum of Offerings
3A. Blessed Oil Counter
3B. Book Stall-Museum Upstairs
4. St. Antony's Qts
5. Shrine Depot (presbytery-ground floor)
6. Presbytery
7. Car & Sapparam Shed
8. Stores
9. Little Flower Qts
10. Fountain
11. Home for the Aged
12. Adoration & Reconciliation chapel
13. Generator Room
14. St. Luke's Qts
15. Infant Jesus Qts
16. Christu Raja Qts with Open Mahal
17. Jubilee Qts
18. Missionaries of Charity Convent
19. DMI Convent
20. Retreat House
21. Institute of Mariology
22. Shrine Public Lavatories
23. Canteen annexes
24. Pilgrims rest shelter
25. Our Lady's Tank Church Tower
26. Hall for distribution of holy water
27. Our Lady's Tank Church
28. Our Lady's Tank
29. Depot for religious & Plastic goods
30. Kamarajar road
31. IHM Convent
32. Our Lady of Health Hospital
33. St. Joseph's Church
34. Hr. Sec. School for the Handicapped & High School for the Hearing-impaired
35. Jesus Convent
36. Karunai Illam
37. Boys Hostel
38. Our Lady of Health Hr. Sec. School
39. St. Joseph's Qts
40. St. Sebastian's Church
41. Tourist Bus Stand
42. State Express Bus Stand
43. Cemeteries
44. Main Road from the Arch Entrance
45. Town Bus Stand
46. Govt. Primary Health Centre
47. Panchayat Office
48. Market
49. Stations of the Cross
50. Stations of the Rosary
51. Holy Path
52. Shrine Dispensaries
53. St. Xavier's Ground
54. Seven Sacraments
55. St. Xavier Qts
56. Railway Booking Office
57. Shrine Rooms Booking Office
58. Naduthittu Church
59. Our Lady of Health Primary School
60. Indian Overseas Bank
61. Police Station
62. Shrine Community Hall
63. Bon Secours Convent
63A. Girl's Hostel
64. Shrine Road on the west
65. Shrine Open-Auditorium
66. Don Bosco Qts
67. Post Office
68. St. John's Qts
69. Uthariamadha Tourist Hall
70. Uthariamadha Road
71. Uthariamadha Bachelor's Qts
72. Way to the Sea
73. M.M.Qts
74. St. Thomas Qts
75. St. Thomas Annex & Tourist Hall
76. Road on the East of the Shrine
77. Shrine Canteen
78. Shrine Tonsure Hall
79. Road to the Sea
80. Cloak Room
81. Vennaru River
82. Bay of Bengal

List of parish priests
The basilica first became a parish in 1771. The list of parish priests from 1771 till now is as follows:
·        1777 Jul - Rev.Fr. Antonio de Rosario, Commissary
·        1779 Sep - Rev.Fr. Luis dos Remedios
·        1783 Jan - Rev.Fr. Antonio de Rosario, Commissary
·        1788 Dec - Rev.Fr. Antonio do Jesus Maria Jose
·        1789 Sep - Rev.Fr. Antonio de Rosario Commissary
·        1792 Sep - Rev.Fr. Jos Roza de Giterbo Commissary & V. F.
·        1814 May - Rev.Fr. Constantine de Jesus Maria Commissary
·        1819 May - Rev.Fr. Thomas de Piedade
·        1822 Feb - Rev.Fr. Francisco Xavier Masearenhas
·        1822 Aug - Rev.Fr. Francisco Das Dores
·        1824 May - Rev.Fr. Felipe de Jesus
·        1825 Sep - Rev.Fr. Francisco Dos Dores
·        1828 Jun - Rev.Fr. Felipe de Jesus
·        1829 May - Rev.Fr. Clemente Das Dores
·        1847 Oct - Rev.Fr. Isidore Manuel Alimao
·        1858 Apr - Rev.Fr. Jose Felis Fernandez AG.PP
·        1863 Nov - Rev.Fr. Felipe Nery Joaquim Dias
·        1876 May - Rev.Fr. Ignacio Antonio d' Andrade
·        1886 Aug - Rev.Fr. Miguel Francisco Fernandez
·        1890 Dec - Rev.Fr. Joaquim Jose Ag. P. Vic. Nagapattinam
·        1891 Feb - Rev.Fr. Cuilherme Jose Dias
·        1892 Dec - Rev.Fr. Joaquim Jose Luis Ag. P. Vic. Nagapattinam
·        1893 Mar - Rev.Fr. Martinho Valeriane de Sa
·        1899 Sep - Rev.Fr. Joaquim Francisco da Fiedade Dias
·        1900 Aug - Rev.Fr. Camilla Fernandez
·        1910 Aug - Rev.Fr. Sebastio Xavier de Noronha
·        1942 Sep - Rev.Fr. M. V. Rodriguez
·        1963 Jun - Rev.Fr. S. Mariasusai
·        1980 Sep - Very Rev. Msgr.Thomas Vaz
·        1982 Sep - Rev.Fr. S.L.Gabriel
·        1990 Dec - Rev.Fr. M.M.Sammanasu, Rector & Parish Priest
·        1997 Jun - Rev.Fr. G. Arul Irudayam, Rector & Parish Priest
·        2003 Jun - Rev.Fr. P. Xavier, Rector
·        2003 Jun - Rev.Fr. F. Antonisamy, Vice-Rector & PP
·        2008 Jun - Rev.Fr. B. Arokiadoss, Vice-Rector & PP
·        2009 Jun - Rev.Fr. A. Michael, Rector
Mass Timings at Shrine Basilica
Week Days:
5.40 am            :           Morning Prayer in the Main Shrine
6.00 am            :           Mass in Tamil in the Main Shrine
7.00 am            :           Mass in Tamil in the Lower Basilica
8.00 am            :           Mass in Telugu in the Upper Basilica
9.00 am            :           Mass in Malayalam in the Lower Basilica
10.00 am          :           Mass in English in the Lower Basilica
11.00 am          :           Mass in Hindi in the Upper Basilica
12.00 noon       :           Mass in Tamil in the Lower Basilica
6.00 pm            :           Rosary and Litany in Tamil followed by Mass in
                                    Tamil in the Lower Basilica
All Sundays:
7.30 am            :           Mass in Tamil in the Lower Basilica (Instead of at         7.00 am during the week)
5.00 am            :           (Additional) Mass in Tamil for the Parishioners of Velankanni in the Lower Basilica
6.00 pm           :            Rosary, Novena Prayer, Benediction and Mass in Tamil in the Lower Basilica
All Saturdays:
7.00 am            :           Mass in Tamil at Our Lady’s Tank Chapel
5.45 am            :           Car Procession of Our Lady of Health around the Shrine
Benediction and Mass in Tamil in the Lower Basilica
First Friday:
6.00 pm           :           Mass in Tamil
                                   Eucharistic Procession around the Shrine
Sermon and Benediction from the front view of the Upper Basilica
First Saturday:
5.30 pm           :            Car Procession of Our Lady of Health thought the Beach Road
Blessing of the Sick with the Blessed Sacrament
Benediction and Mass in Tamil in the Lower Basilica
9.00 pm           :            Three-Hour Adoration to the Blessed Sacrament in the Main Shrine
Second Saturday:
9.00 am            :           A Healing and Fasting Prayer Service from 9 am to 4 pm at Velankanni Retreat House
Third Saturday:
One Hour Intercessory Prayer Service at Our Lady’s Tank Chapel after 7.00 A.M Mass
Fourth Saturday:
6.30 am            :           Mass in Tamil at Naduththittu Chapel
8.00 pm           :            Children’s Evangelization Programme in front of the Presbytery
Month of May:
Our Lady’s Car Procession around the Shrine on all the days
Feast day
September 8, the Feast of the Nativity of Mary, is also commemorated as the feast of Our Lady of Good Health. The celebration starts on 29th August and ends on the day of the feast. The feast day prayers are said in TamilMalayalamTeluguKannadaKonkaniHindi and English.
·        Feast is celebrated from 29th August to 8th September - 8th September the Birth Day of the Blessed Virgin Mary. 
·        More than 20 lakh pilgrims from all the corners of India and from other Countries throng the Shrine. 
·        Holy Mass is celebrated in six languages, fourteen times a day during the Feast. 
·        Car Procession of Our Lady of Health takes place at 8.00 p.m. 
·        Everyday hoisting of the Our Lady's flag, takes place at 12.00 noon. 
·        The Grand Annual Feast commences with the hoisting of Our Lady's Flag at 6.30 p.m. on 29th August. The Bishop of Thanjavur is the main celebrant on this day. 
·        The Feast concludes with the dismounting of Our Lady's Flag at 6.00 p.m. on 8th September. The Rector & Parish Priest is the main celebrant on the concluding Mass. 
·        The Feast Mass is celebrated on 8th September at 6.15 a.m. in the Shrine open-air auditorium, presided over by the Bishop of Thanjavur.
Other Facilities
The Shrine office functions from 9.00 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. with a break for lunch between 12.30 noon to 2.00 p.m. 
Sundays, New Year Day, Good Friday and Christmas are holidays for the office. 
The office is a prime help to the Rector and Priests; backbone of the administration besides dealing with Sacramental records. 
Open from 6.30 a.m. to 8.00 p.m. every day. 
Offerings of gold, silver other metals and kinds, received from pilgrims, are displayed here. The Museum stands as a live-witness to Our Lady's blessings upon her devotees and to the gratitude of pilgrims. 
The depot is at the ground floor of the parachial house, displays religious articles, statues, audio & video cassettes. It has a branch at Our Lady's Tank. In the beginning, it was known as Legion of Mary book depot. 
Book Centre:
A book stall known as 'Annai Book Centre' is located in the museum with its branch down the museum. 
·        Our Lady of Health Higher Secondary School 
·        Our Lady of Health Middle School 
·        Our Lady of Health Elementary School 
·        Infant Jesus Primary School (English Medium) 
·   Christ the King High School special school for handicapped and Deaf & Dumb Children. 
Charity Institutions/ Homes:
·   Karunai Illam - A Home for physically handicapped and Deaf & Dumb Children - run by Sisters of Jesus Congregation. 
·    'Nirmal Hriday Home' - a home for mentally retarded children - run by sisters of 'Missionaries of Charity'. 
·        St.Joseph's Home for Aged' (for men and women) 
Our Lady of Health Hospital with a dispensary.
Velankanni town was among the worst hit by the massive 26 December tsunami that was triggered by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. The tsunami struck at around 9.30 am on that Sunday, when pilgrims from Kerala were inside the church attending the Malayalam Mass. The water did not enter the shrine as it was built on high ground, but the receding waters swept away hundreds of pilgrims who were on the beach.
The shrine's compound, nearby villages, hundreds of shops, homes and pilgrims were washed away into the sea. About 600 pilgrims fell victim to the tsunami. Rescue teams extricated more than 300 bodies from the sand and rocks in the vicinity and large number of unidentified bodies were buried in mass graves.
A Tamil language movie was made in honor of Our Lady of Good Health with the title Annai Velankanni in 1971. The movie was directed by K. Thankappan, starring major stars of Tamil cinema including Gemini GanesanKamal Haasan, K. R. Vijaya, and Padmini.
Very Rev. Fr. A. Michael
Rector, Shrine Basilica
Velankanni - 611 111
Nagapattinam District
Tamilnadu, India
Contact Numbers:
+91-4365 : 263 530 (Father's personal)
+91-4365 : 263 625 (Father's Fax)
+91-4365 : 263 423 (Shrine Number)
+91-4365 : 263 584 (Shrine Number)
+91-4365 : 264 890 (Shrine Number)
Velankanni is well connected by Road and Rail to the rest of the country. The East Coast Road (ECR) that runs from Chennai to Cuddalore connects the town to the rest of the country. The nearest operational airports are Tiruchirappalli International Airport, 165 kilometers (103 mi) away and Chennai International Airport, 300 kilometers (190 mi) away.
By Road
Due to the large number of pilgrims that visit this town, the Tamilnadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC), State Express Transport Corporation (Tamil Nadu) (SETC) and several private bus operators ply to cities like BengaluruChennaiCoimbatoreErnakulamMaduraiNagercoil, SalemThoothukudiTirunelveli and Trivandrum.
Even Kerala State Road Transport Corporation runs daily bus service to Changanacherry from here.
The TNSTC –  Kumbakonam region operates short distance buses to TiruchirappalliThanjavurPudukkottaiKaraikudi, Tiruvarur, Kumbakonam, PondicherryKaraikal and Nagapattinam from Velankanni.
Bus Timings:
SETC - State Express Transport Corporation
( Formerly Thiruvalluvar Transport Corporation )
17:30 (s)
18:30 (s)
18:00 (s)
18:30 (s)
19:30 (s)
8:00, 8:15 (s), 9:30,10:30, 20:00, 20:30 (s), 21:30, 22:00
(s) - Super Deluxe 
Where there is no indication, the service operated is Semi Deluxe
Buses to and from Nagapattinam and other nearby localities are operated round the clock between 21:00 and 5:00 the buses are available on an hourly basis only.
By Train
Velankanni railway station is the nearest railway station on the 10 kilometer long Nagapattinam - Velankanni broad gauge line. The foundation stone of the line was laid in 1999 and it was completed in 2010 at a cost of Rs. 48 Crores. The line is part of the Tiruchirappalli railway division of Southern Railway zone of the Indian Railways.
The Velankanni – Chennai Egmore Link Express runs daily with only four coaches from Velankanni, which then is coupled with Kamban Express at Nagapattinam Junction for its journey towards Chennai. The weekly Velankanni Express between Vasco da Gama, Goa and Velankanni is operated by South Western Railway zone. Apart from the express trains, two passenger trains are also operated daily, one each to Karaikal and Nagapattinam. Special trains are operated from places like ChennaiMumbaiVasco da Gama, Trivandrum and Nagercoil during the months of August and September for the annual church feast. 
Velankanni Railway Reservation Booking Office
Working Hours: 9.00 to 12.00 & 14:00 to 17:00
Railway Timings:

Trains operating from Nagapattinam
Nagore - Thanjavur Passenger
Nagapattinam (D) 6:40
Thanjavur (A) 9:30
Nagore - Trichy Passenger
Nagapattinam (D) 13:55
Trichy (A) 19:20
Nagore - Thanjavur Passenger
Nagapattinam (D) 18:05
Thanjavur (A) 21:00
Trains operating to Nagapattinam
Trichy - Nagore Passenger
Trichy (D) 4:20
Nagapattinam (A) 9:30
Thanjavur - Nagore Passenger
Thanjavur (D) 10:00
Nagapattinam (A) 15:20
Thanjavur - Nagore Passenger
Thanjavur (D) 18:15
Nagapattinam (A) 20:37

By Air
·        Nearest Airport is Tiruchirappalli (4 Hrs by Bus)
·        Next nearest Airport is Chennai (9 Hrs by Train)