Vallarpadam Church




 Video - In and Around St.Mary's Vallarpadam Church
St.Mary's Vallarpadam Church is one of the famous pilgrimage spots in India. The famous church is also called as "The Church of Our Lady of Ransom". This church is dedicated to Mother Mary, mother of the Jesus. This church is named after Mother Mary who is also known as Vallarpadathamma. Initially this church was built by the Portuguese in the year 1524. But later it was destroyed by the Dutch. The present day Vallarpadam Church was rebuilt in the year 1676. It is located in Kochi, or Cochin in the state of Kerala. This church is very sacred and has been declared a major pilgrim centre by the Union Government of India in the year 1951.

Significance of the Church

Kerala, located on the west coast of India, is known as 'God's Own Country' because of its scenic beauty, and Kochi is the shining jewel in this beautiful state. Vallarpadom, which forms part of Kochi, is a small idyllic island on the Vembanad lake, with a serene and calm atmosphere. The serenity and peace, which is a salient feature of this island, can only be attributed to the presence of the historic church of Our Lady of Ransom. This church forms part of the diocese of Verapoly and revered by Catholics as a very sacred church.

The church was built by Portuguese missionaries in 1524. It is said that the missionaries discovered a painting of the Lady of Ransom, and later in a dream, they were asked to establish a church in Vallarpadam, which they dutifully did.

Many miracles have been attributed to the Lady of Ransom and most are of people being saved from accidents at sea. As per tradition the church was earlier known as the church of the Holy Spirit. The original building was destroyed by floods in the 17th century and rebuilt later. The present building is said to have been built in 1676.

As per local folklore, a lady and her child from a Hindu family who were shipwrecked, survived for three days, sheltered under a rock. The lady prayed that she would commit her life to serving the Lady of Ransom, and she was saved.

Even today, all processions in connection with festivities of the church begin from the ancestral house of the Hindu lady, which is called Paliath.The images of the lady and child are also seen in the picture of the Lady of Ransom inside the Vallarpadom church.

The local fishermen always bring their new boats to be blessed by the Lady of Ransom before they are taken out to sea for the first time. When prayers are answered, the blessed devotees dedicate their lives to the Lady of Ransom, and sweep the church compound to convey their spirit of dedication. The altar of the church is filled with offerings of devotees who had been blessed by the Lady of Ransom.

The church was given the status of a Basilica in December 2003. The number of pilgrims who visit the church is increasing every year. The major festival of the church falls on the 24th of September and thousands of devotees throng the small island to take part in the feast. The new Goshree bridges which connect Vallarpadam with both Vypin and Ernakulam have made it very easy for the believers to come to the church. The church today is not only a major pilgrim center but also an important tourist attraction.

Vallarpadam Perunnal is an annual feast cum fair organized during the Perunnal (Feasting) days. The feast lasts for nearly a week. The fair draws thousands of visitors from all over India and is a highly prestigious event for the localites of the area. The exhibition includes sale of country boats, crafts and straw mats.

Nearby tourist places to St.Mary's Vallarpadam Church



Pope Leo the XIII had bestowed 'special status' to the church in 1888. The Vallarpadam church was declared as a pilgrim center in 1951.

How to reach the Church
  • Through Aiways: The airport is situated 5 km. away from Ernakulam. Cochin airport has domestic and international terminals.

  • Through Railways: Ernakulam is connected to all cities in India by railroad. There are two main stations, Ernakulam Junction and Ernakulam Town also known as north station along with additional train stations in Cochin terminal, Aluva and Tripunithura. Ernakulam Town junction is prominent and most of the trains pass through this station.

  • Through Roadways: Kochi is connected by good roads with various centers of south India by national highways and linked to all towns in Kerala. The central bus station is situated in the heart of Ernakulam city and is very close to the Ernakulam Junction railway station. Long route private buses operate from High Court Jn., Railway Station and Kaloor Junction.