|Places to Visit|
The Vailankanni shrine within the Church is credited with miraculous powers of healing and good health. Vailankanni literally means the shrine of the virgin of Velai, but this church is better known as the Lourdes of the East. Some Portuguese merchants built a permanent structure, which was then consecrated as a shrine, dedicated to Our lady of Good Health. The Gothic domes, the Mega Mahal and “Our Lady’s Tank” are well worth a visit. The devout flock to this shrine to offer Novena to Our Lady of Good Health and ask for favours, cures and deliverance. Most people have witnessed miraculous cures in hopeless cases, and come in droves to the shrine, to offer their gratitude.
This 500 year old Dargah is dedicated to the 23rd lineal descendant of Prophet Mohammed, known as Meeran Sahib or Nagore Andavar. A 14 day Kandhoori Urs dedicated to the saint is held every year in May, at the Nagore Dargah. The Dargah itself is topped by a glistening, golden onion dome and flanked by five minarets.
Point Calimere is a sprawling 21 km, protected bird and wildlife sanctuary, at the southern most tip of Nagapattinam. It is famous for the protection and conservation of the near extinct, Black buck Antelope, and home to the spotted deer, Indian grey mongoose, star tortoise etc. The sanctuary attracts a variety of water birds including flamingos, Spoonbill, Sandpiper, Storks and Pelicans.
This temple town is known for the ancient temple dedicated to Shiva, the Arulmighu Shri Thiyagarajar temple. This temple boasts of the largest temple chariot in Tamilnadu, and devotees throng to Thiruvarur for the widely celebrated “car festival.” Several smaller, but historically important temples also dot the vicinity exhibiting magnificent architecture and sculptures.
Thirunallar is a quaint temple town and boasts of the only temple built in honour of Saneeswaran. The temple has a separate shrine for Lord Shani, and he is worshiped more as one who grants boons, rather than a harbinger of misfortune. Lord Shiva however, dominates the inner sanctum sanctorum.
One of the oldest temple towns of South India, Kumbhakonam was the capital city of the Cholas in 7th Century AD. The most famous temple in the city is the Adikumbheshwara temple and the “Airavadeswarar Temple” dedicated to Lord Shiva, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It was built by the Chola king, Rajaraja II in 12th Century AD. The stone panels in front of the temple produce melodious sounds when struck, and the temple is a treasure trove for exquisite art, paintings, friezes and sculpture.
Thirukadaiyur temple is built at the spot where Lord Shiva whilst protecting Markandaya from the God of death, Yama, bestowed on him the boon of immortality. Till date the Mriyunjaya homam is performed here for terminally or seriously ill patients. Hundreds of pilgrims throng the temple as do devotees to celebrate their 60th or 80th birthdays
The Shiva temple at Sikkil boasts of an 80ft. high rajagopuram and stretches across two acres. Inscriptions dating back to the Chola and Vijaynagar period and some exquisite paintings can be found adorning the temple walls. An architectural marvel, it is a must-visit for tourists and history buffs.
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