This is not our first journey to Velankanni, as we had been to the Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health the last time in 2010. But this is the first time that we are traveling in that direction by car. Tata Tigor was ready for the most distant location from its origins, and the journey was a memorable one. We took the journey in two different routes – on the way there, we went through the Palakkad-Coimbatore-Karur-Trichy route and while returning, we took the Trichy-Dindigul-Pollachi-Nenmara route, and I would suggest that traveling through the return route, but avoiding Nemara would be the right choice, for traveling from Trichy to Pollachi is joyful. While getting to Velankanni, the route through Mannargudi was better than the shorter Nagappattinam route, which was undergoing repair. Well, we reached Velankanni at a time when there less visitors. There are times when so many people go to the pilgrimage site, and there is rarely even the space to pray in peace.
The better roads in Tamil Nadu made sure that the journey was not troublesome, and only a few areas were troublesome for the vehicle’s suspension. I don’t remember much about that earlier journey to the sacred place, but it didn’t feel like something that far away from memory; yet the place has changed in twelve years. Velankanni is part of Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY) for urban planning, economic growth and heritage conservation, which means that we have hope for the place to feel better. We prayed in the Lourdes of the East, and hoped for the best, as we live in an uncertain world. These are the times when life in this world seems irrelevant, and therefore, such spiritual journeys seem to be the need. Among the requirements to survive in this world, the connection to the other world becomes more important than ever. This trip has been pending for a long time, and the completion of this one provides more confidence and self-belief.
***The images used on this blog post were taken by me on my Samsung mobile phone during my visit to Velankanni.