Are there any Jains in Tamil Nadu
A family outing to Velankanni
Hello friends! I hope you are all well.
Today I want to share with you a great experience that I had with my family when I was in high school in India. Most of you know that India is one culturally diverse country with its own heritage. In India you can find followers of all different religions starting with Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity etc. is india one secular landwhich thus gives its residents the freedom to follow any religion they like without hindering other religions and their followers. You will probably ask why I am telling you all this. There's a reason and I'll explain it below. This article is from a trip that I took with my family to a famous church in my state called Tamil Nadu in India, act. This happened during my high school years, but I still can of all the fun remember that I had during this excursion. It was a holiday season for me and my brother when my father decided to take this trip to Velankanni as a religious and equally relaxing adventure close. Although we are not Christian, we decided to go to Velankanni for a religious trip.
The progressive excursion to Velankanni was by bus. My father has the tickets for the bus which leaves Chennai at 10pm and the next morning reaches Nagapattinam, where the church is. It was my first night bus trip. There was a TV on the bus and an old Tamil movie was playing. When the bus reached the highways, it began to travel at great speed and I sat near the window where the strong wind made me cold. It was because of the fog that generally prevails at night and the high speed of the bus.
Some people slept on the bus, some were watching the movie, and some were looking like me out the window. When it got 0 o'clock or 1 o'clock in the morning, the conductor turned off the television to give the sleeping people a quiet place. In barely more than half an hour everyone was sleeping on the bus and I was the only one who looked out the window wrapped in a blanket. It was pitch black outside and there were no street lights, not even on the highways, so all I could see was just silhouettes of the places we passed. Every now and then lighted motels appeared on our way and I looked at them as I couldn't sleep on the bus. The vehicle started pass some important parts of Tamil Nadubefore we reached Nagapattinam.
Early in the morning, at 4 o'clock, the bus stopped in front of a small hotel for a small tea break for the travelers so that they could refresh themselves. The bus reached Nagapattinam at 5 o'clock in the morning, but we were still not in Velankanni but in Nagapattinam. We had to another local bus take us from the main bus station in Nagapattinam to Velankanni. It was very small, but it was fast on the streets of Nagapattinam until we reached Velankanni. When we got off the bus there was a person at the bus stop who said he would show us a place to stay and took us to a small guest house.
Since the room was large, it was big enough for four people. We got there at 6am. Since I hadn't slept on the bus, I was the first person to jump into bed and fall asleep as soon as we got to our "home". I had a sound sleep until 10am; then my mother woke me up to get ready as we were going to explore Velankanni.
The church was built for the Virgin Mary and is owned by the people the "Lourdes of the East" or "Our Lady of Good Health" There's a good reason for this name, which I'll explain a little later to you. We got ready and left the guest house to visit the church. It was a long road that we had to walk. Since Velankanni lies on the coast of the mighty Bay of Bengal, a cool breeze could always be felt. As we walked down the streets, we could see the towers of the church from a distance. The Velankannikirche was in gothic style approximately 600 years ago built. The first church we could see from a distance was a little round.
Before I start with the architecture and beauty of Velankannikirche, I want to share with you the full story behind the name given to the church. This is due to three events that occur in the 16th Century took place.
The first event is related to one Hindu boy who sold milk together. He sat under a tree to rest near a pond. At that point the Virgin Mary appeared and asked him for some milk. The boy could hardly believe this miracle, but gave her a little milk. When he got to his master's house, gave him the remaining milk and explained the reason for the delay as well as the reduced milk supply. When the gentleman opened the milk pot, he was utterly confused because the The milk pot was full. Thinking that a miracle might have happened, he asked the boy ohm to show the place where the maiden had appeared. The boy took him to the same place where the Virgin Mary appeared. He was glad to see her, and today the place where the Virgin Mary appeared is called "Matha Kulam" in Tamil: 'Matha' means mother and 'Kulam' means pond.
The second event happened when the Virgin Mary appeared to a physically disabled boy selling buttermilk near a public square. This time the Virgin Mary asked for some buttermilk and the boy gave her a little drink. When the Virgin Mary appeared next to the boy, he was healed and physically unharmed. He did not realize that he had been healed as he dwelt in the eternal bliss of having seen the Virgin. She asked him to tell a rich person in the village about her appearance. The boy got up and ran to that person's house. This wealthy man had also had a dream the night before: he had seen the Virgin Mary, who asked him to build a small chapel for her. When the boy arrived and told him about the apparition of the Virgin Mary, he thought the dream had come true. He rushed to the point where the Virgin Mary had appeared and this time she appeared before both of them. The wealthy man built a small chapel on the spot where it had appeared and now this chapel is called Arokia Matha in Tamil or also Mother of good health in English.
The third event took place on the mighty ocean of the Bay of Bengal instead of. A few Portuguese sailors sailed to India and were shipwrecked during a cruel storm, so all the sailors on the ship fought for their lives. The Virgin Mary appeared before them and saved their lives from the violent storm. When they reached the Velankanni coast, local fishermen led them to the small chapel that had been built during the second event. As a token of their gratitude and devotion, they erected a permanent chapel in the same place. In the following years the Portuguese developed the chapel further and dedicated it to the Virgin Mary on September 8thwhich is the day when the Portuguese sailors safely reached the coast after this cruel storm. Even today, you will find the highest number of visitors to church that day.
As we strolled down the streets discussing the history of the church, we reached the entrance to the possessed two large Gothic towers with crosses on their tips. The church was filled with a crowd as we approached the entrance, so at first we thought we would spend some time outside together and then come back to the church. There is one long walk of beach sand, which is lined with numerous shops, right across from the church. The area is mainly inhabited by Christians, which can easily be derived from the names of the shops. There are religious shops that sell candles, wax figures, portraits of Mary, pictures of Jesus Christ, etc. Even from the far end of the street you can see the spiers of the church. After we finished shopping, we were on the coast of Velankannis Beach. Unlike any other beach in Tamil Nadu, we were able to find a few here Goats see wandering around here and there. They were kind, grateful to be fed whatever the visitors offered, and they were never afraid of people other than normal goats.
We returned to the church to pray. Near the bold Gothic towers is a building that is the residence of the priests and the office of the church. Next to it is a Church shopwhere candles, holy water, oil etc. are sold. We bought a couple of candles before going in where they are lit, next to a large trash can for the massive amount of half-burned candles. It suggested only one thing: there were so many people attending church that it was necessary to remove the candles often to make way for new ones. The history of the church is briefly told on the board at the main entrance. In the church you can admire beautiful paintings that show various stories from the life of Jesus Christ. The inside is beautiful with ornaments and paintings decorated. The main statue of the Virgin Mary with the baby Jesus in her arms stands on an altar. Above the statue is a picture of Jesus Christ.
After praying for a while, you can walk down a fenced path where the priests will stand. You can them betray a part of the bodythat you want to have healed, and a priest will give you one special prayer and will offer it to the Virgin Mary. There are a few more Traditions that are followed by Hindus which can be found in the Velankannis Church.
Behind the fenced path there is a place where you can see a lot of yellow threads. Are in this place small pouches tied by yellow threads. you will be Wish bag named and women tied them in Hindu temples, often with curls, praying to God for a wish. The same kind of bag is tied in Velankanni, but there women ask God for good health. As soon as your wish has been granted, you have to remove the bag.
There is another Hindu tradition practiced here in this church where married women are one locked lock here placed what a The way is to ask God for a happy family with their husbands for life. There is also a place in the shrine where the priest receives sacrifices from the faithful, such as flowers, wax figures of organs etc. He puts them in a box in front of the Virgin Mary and after a short prayer he removes them and calls the next follower, to do the same.
On the west side of the church is an altar that is perfect Jesus Christ is dedicated. Even the The west entrance to the church has two thorns, but they are not that big like that of the main entrance in the east. There is also a concrete ramp that led you directly to the second floor of the church. There is also another shrine that has been built cyclically, and the numerous pictures depict numerous stories from the Bible.
There is a garden whose name is the Jordan garden and which is a beautiful garden with statues of many animals as well as of a Hindu saint sitting under an umbrella. There is also a statue of Jesus Christ who heals the sick. This garden leads into a building that Paintings of different stories like the Adam and Eve, how Jesus communicates with the world and so on. There is also another temple a bit away from the main temple. This one was also built with the same Gothic architecture that leads us to believe it was built at the same time.
After touring all of the shrines, we returned to the guest house to relax. My father bought some food for dinner at a nearby hotel and the day ended when we fell asleep soon after dinner.
The next morning we woke up early and we were happy to see each other on sea to be able to have fun. We all went to the beach and had a lot of fun playing in the water. We were at the beach for almost two hours and after that we strolled through the shops in the street to find some Clams, corals, snail clams etc. to acquire. There are delicious ones freshly caught fish in Velankannis markets and the people even provide stoves and utensils for tourists to cook and eat the fish with the taste they like. We rented utensils and a stove, bought fresh fish at the market and went to the place where we lived. We prepared a delicious fish curry and even some vegetable sauce and after that my mother and father have Meal packets prepared to give to the poor.
We prepared about 50 food packages that we put in a huge sack and took it with us so that we could give the packages to everyone who appeared to be beggars and poor. It felt good to be doing something good in Velankanni. That took up most of the day and that same night we packed our bags and went to the bus station as we had to go home.
The bus took us to a nearby train station that took us back back to Chennai brought. It was a whole night journey and the landscape I could see from the train was completely different from what I saw from the bus. The next morning we were back on Chennai Egmore train station. We took taxito get back home and finally a beautiful journey came to an end.
I had Velankanni before Tsunami on December 26, 2004 Visited in India. I think it changed a lot after that as the region suffered badly during the disaster. Thousands of lives disappeared and many properties were destroyed without a trace. Even so, the Church still stands, protecting people from harm and all danger. I would like to visit Velankanni again soon. It's a nice place in Tamil Nadu to visit, with a nice beach, religious place to worship and excellent food. It is a must do in Tamil Nadu. Until I write my next article, keep smiling and have fun! If you have any comments or suggestions, leave a comment. Thanks for reading so patiently!
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