St. Mary's Church, Vallarpadam, Kochi
The Vallarpadam church (Our Lady of Ransom), is one of the major basilicas of the Catholic. The church was declared the status of a basilica on February 12, 2005.
Portuguese missioners built the church in 1524. According to tradition it was once known as the church of the Holy Spirit. The church was destroyed in a flood in the late 17th century and a new church was established on the same spot in 1676.
The famous picture of the 'Blessed Virgin Mary' was erected by Portuguese who brought it from their native land. The church was bestowed a special status by Pope Leo XIII in 1888. In 1951 the Union Government declared it a major pilgrim centre.
Located on the middle of Vallarpadam, the church is a jewel on the island physique of encircled backwaters. "Vallarapadath Amma", as the St Mary of Vallarpadam is called, is believed to have miraculously saved many lives from shipwreck and violent storms.
The feast of Vallarapadath Amma is being held on Sept. 24. The week-long celebration attracts people belonging to all religions.