Vallarpadam Church
Vallarpadam Church
4.5
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Thangam M
Chennai1,460 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2014 • Couples
The Basilica of Our Lady of Ransom is located in the middle of Vallarpadam, a small idyllic island on the Vembanad lake. Earlier accessible only by boat, it is now linked to mainland Ernakulam and the islands of Bolghatty, Mulavukad and Vypin by three adjacent bridges called the Goshree bridges.

The Church itself is a magnificent, stately building in white, set in spotlessly clean rambling grounds surrounded by beautiful backwaters. The Basilica of Our Lady of Ransom, Vallarpadam, Ernakulam has a history going back some 500 years! According to records, this church was established in 1524 by Portuguese missionaries who came to Cochin with Vasco da Gama. They established a chapel dedicated to the Holy Spirit with a picture of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the form of Our Lady of Ransom. Apparently this is the first church in Asia dedicated to the Holy Spirit.

Unfortunately, this chapel was washed away by flood waters in 1676. The picture of Our Lady of Ransom too was carried away by the floods. Legend has it that the picture of Our Lady of Ransom was retrieved from the waters by the Diwan of the Maharaja of Cochin - Paliyath Raman Valiyachan, who was himself a devotee of Our Lady of Ransom. Diwan Valiyachan donated his land for construction of a new church for the divine mother and installed a 'Kedavilakku' (perpetual lamp) in the church. To this day, almost 350 years later, his descendants of the Paliyath family continue the tradition of keeping this perpetual lamp burning!

Our Lady of Ransom in this church is known amongst the local people as "Vallarpadathamma" (which translates to "The Mother of Vallarpadam"). Vallarpadathamma is believed to have miraculously saved her devotees several times from violent storms.

A great miracle in May 1752, made Vallarpadam a famous pilgrim centre. In Vallarpadam there was a young Nair lady called Palliveetil Meenakshiamma, a member of the noble Palliveetil family. When travelling to Mattancherry along with her son in a traditional boat, they were caught in a storm and their boat capsized. As they were drowning, Meenakshiamma prayed fervently to Vallarpadathamma and vowed that if they were rescued by Her divine intervention, they would become her 'Adimas' (slaves) for life. On the third day after the boat capsized, Our Lady of Ransom appeared in a dream to the parish priest Fr. Miguel Correa, and as per her instructions to him in the dream, the priest asked the fishermen to cast their net in the river, and Meenakshiamma and her son were rescued.

From that day forth, those who travel on water, especially fishermen come to Vallarpadam to pray for their safe journey. Local fishermen usually come to this church to get their new boats and nets blessed, before they are taken out to sea for the first time. A canal has been constructed from the backwaters to the church for their access.

The spiritual practice of 'Adima' or submitting one's life to the protection of Our Lady of Vallarpadam is the popular offering in Vallarpadam Church. During this ritual, the priest places his hands on the head of the devotee, says a prayer and sprinkles holy water. It is believed that once this ritual is performed Our Lady protects the person from all dangers and grants favours in abundance.

Besides the popular ritual of 'Adima' another common offering by devotees at Vallarpadam, is to sweep the church premises to express their gratitude. Brooms kept in stands are available at the church premises which devotees can use to clean in and around the church. Novena is conducted every Saturday at the church.

In 1888, prompted by the many miracles attributed to the Lady of Vallarpadam, Pope Leo XIII elevated the main altar of this shrine to the status of a 'privileged altar for the celebration of daily mass'. In 1951, the Government of India declared this shrine as a 'Major Pilgrimage Center of the Country' and in 2004, this church was declared as a National Shrine. Pope John Paul II elevated the Church to the status of a Minor Basilica in the same year.

Please do take the lift to the upper floors of the Church to see an art gallery on one of the lower levels. The lift goes almost all the way to the top of the Church. At the highest level, installed in the church steeple, one can see close up the image of the Blessed Mary and the Infant Jesus with Meenakshiamma and her son at their feet offering prayers. From here a flight of stairs takes one to the very top of the Church from where the surrounding greenery and backwaters offer a soothing, magnificent visual treat. If serenity and inner calm is what you want, you will find it here...

Every year the Feast of Our Lady of Vallarpadam is celebrated from September 16 to 24, and thousands of people of all faiths visit this place of worship.

For more about this Basilica please see:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pc3Js-9ogFk
Written 10 June 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Suderson Biju
Dubai, United Arab Emirates65 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2018 • Friends
The old style Roman Catholic Church of Virgin Mary, The mother of Jesus. The silence inside the Church will create a strange vibe in mind and peace in the heart.
Written 24 April 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Navneet S
New Delhi, India6 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2018 • Family
I had been here with my family and spend around tow hours. Near by you can visit sea shore and you can see ships and old styles houses which will give you one looks of British time in India.
Written 8 January 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Robert O
Rotterdam, The Netherlands5,514 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2023
This catholic church and the compound surrounding it, is a place of pilgrimage due to miracles that are supposed to have taken place. It is claimed this is a very old church dating from 1524. However, this first church founded by Portuguese settlers was destroyed by a flood end 17th century. A new church was built, but it remains unclear to me exactly when the newish looking building was established.

Anyway, lots of people visit, even though the location is quite far out of Ernakulam town and in an unattractive industrial environment. I reached Vallarpadam by taking the ferry from Fort Kochi to Vypin island and walking there. After my church visit continued my walk to Ernakulam and took the ferry back to Fort Kochi. Good to get an impression of the Kochi-Ernakulam agglomeration. The views from the bridges over the estuary are good.

There is a regular bus from Ernakulam stopping at the church.
Written 15 March 2023
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jinudev
Kochi (Cochin), India400 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2018 • Family
One of the main pilgrimage center in kochi. Basilica of Our Lady of Ransom. I visit their occasionally. Calm atmosphere is it specialty. Watch towers are their. You can see a nice view of kochi from there.
Written 13 October 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

SundarRam54
Hyderabad, India366 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2018 • Couples
We found this church by chance. We were actually visiting the Vallarpadam container terminal. Vallarpadam is an island which is connected by a bridge. The Church was extremely beautiful but there were too many eateries to one side and there was more activity in these!
Written 17 December 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Donald D
Kollam, India764 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2018 • Family
Always taking time to come and visit the Church, this time I could come over once with the family and the next day with our foreign guest. It was a Sunday and there was a good crowd, the reverence of the pilgrims shows that it has a spiritual relevance.
Written 15 October 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Bijuriya
New Delhi, India23 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2017 • Family
This is another beautiful place of Worship dedicated to Mother Mary!
Just pour your heart out and pray...

The Roman Catholic Church has raised this historic Marian pilgrimage destination on the Vallarpadam Island to the status of a National Pilgrim Centre.

Legend has it that, Vallarpadath Amma is believed to have miraculously saved her devotees several time from violent storms. The feast of Vallarpadath Amma is held every year on September 24. The celebrations last more than a week, and are accompanied by a big fair.
Written 5 January 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

lotusdiamond
Chandigarh, India1,248 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2016 • Business
Located at a distance of 30 km from kochi very ancient and historicaly important place. Many times destroyed by floods and again rebuilt. The church is very beautiful and and architecture is great and admirable. The picture of Blessed Virgin Marry is believed to have miraculous powers. It is declared as a special church by Pope. The church is very big and very clean and well maintained. you can climb on the top to enjoy great views.
Written 27 August 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

811Travellingbug2013
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia14 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2014 • Friends
The things sold at the store next to main church building are of good quality and are really value for money. For those who would like to spend time in meditating on the Passion of Jesus Christ , there are 15 stations of the Cross. This is a good place for a pilgrimage.
Written 8 May 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Vallarpadam Church, Kochi (Cochin)

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