Family trip to Velankanni can be a heartwarming experience. Spending time with loved ones at a destination as serene and religious as Velankanni feels good.

Located in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Velankanni is a popular Roman Catholic pilgrim centre. The region is visited by many devout believers each year. Keeping the sanctity in mind, we too planned a family trip to Velankanni. 

Velankanni doesn’t just cater to travelers who want to explore their spiritual side but also to backpackers, solo travelers and normal tourists. Besides the holy shrine dedicated to Mother Mary, the place also comprises of a few beaches and other travel-friendly spots.

I highly insist you venture out and take a family trip to Velankanni soon. This place is an offbeat location and so you have even more reasons to visit it.

A Family Trip to Velankanni

Belonging to a middle-class family, the budget has always been a concern for my family when it comes to travel. As a child, I wasn’t much concerned about the budget spent on trips. But growing up, I too felt the need of budget travel. Hence, I did learn some travel hacks that helped me travel on a budget without cutting down on the fun.

I’ll share all the lessons learnt in my current blog but first, let me provide you a few essential details about Velankanni. These will prove extremely useful for first time travelers.

Important Travel Information about Velankanni

Location Nagapattinam, South India
Best time to visit November
Recommended modes of travel Train
Level of safety High
Food options Mostly traditional south Indian cuisine and sea food
Budget stay options Lodges, Budget hotels
Top travel tip Plan your trip in advance so as to minimize travel cost.

Planning a Family Trip to Velankanni

The first thing to bear in mind while you’re taking a family trip to Velankanni is the mode of transport. In our case,  the first option to go down the drain was the air travel option i.e. flight. Not only was boarding a flight expensive but also had various hassles associated with it.

As a family, we preferred traveling via train. That way we would reach Nagappattinam – the closest railway station to Velankanni. Also, it was the most budget-friendly option. Not to forget the comfort.

Since it was rainy season we took normal sleeper class tickets. They costed us quite less.

Budget transport tips

Always prefer the most comfortable and budget-friendly travel option when it comes to transport. You must have seen people booking for AC coaches even in winter season. It isn’t needed. If safety is what worries you, then I can tell you that stay aware at all times. Just because you’re traveling on an expensive ticket on a bus, train or even a flight does not guarantee safety when it comes to your luggage. 
Family trip to velankanna

The shrine at Velankanni. Picture by Raina Lopes

Traveling Via Train – The Chuk Chuk Ride

While traveling by train, always take care of a few things. Sure, make your journey travel-friendly but prioritize your health too. It’s very important to eat food that is fresh and hygienic when you travel.

If possible (and traveling for a short distance), carry homemade food and a lot of clean water bottles. If carrying home-cooked food is not possible, at least ensure the hygiene of food that you choose to consume. Never carry or eat something which will drive your bowels crazy.

Although there are washrooms on a train and are cleaned regularly, there can still be some hygiene issues. Hence try having light food.  If you’re carrying your own food items, don’t carry meals that comprise of onion or those that easily rot. This may cause unnecessary wastage of food and extra expenditure.

On our family trip to Velankanni, we got fried rice backed. But it surely was a mistake since they started to smell and finally got stale within a few hours. After that throughout our journey, we enjoyed the classic masala dosaIdli chutney and coffee that was served within the train itself.

On reaching Chennai, the first sips we took were that of filter coffee.

On our way ahead, when our train was passing through Guntakal and Cuddapah in Andhra Pradesh we purchased some Hyderabadi beads jewelry. Unnecessary shopping is something we girls need to cut out while traveling. We didn’t go for buying anything other than the neck pieces because those can be bought at much cheaper price in our hometowns too.

Budget travel tips

Try carrying home made food with you if traveling to shorter distances. For longer routes, ensure the hygiene for any edible item that you consume. Remember, your health is always in your own hands.
family trip to velankanni

Travelling by train is more fun than you can imagine. Picture credits: Antriksh

Reaching Nagapattinam

Reaching Nagapattinam station, we again took public transport to reach the Velankanni Shrine rather than booking a cab. We had already made an accommodation reservation in a small lodge called ‘Grace’.

Lodges are clean, hygienic and comparatively cheaper as compared to some grand Hotels. They provide much better facilities like WiFi and warm water for a bath. At least, this is what my family trip to Velankanni experience has taught me.

Once settled and freshened up, we attended the procession, morning mass and visited all the churches and chapels. Also, took lovely photographs. Taking Photographs inside the church was prohibited and hence we respected the rules by not breaking them.

Lastly, we bought some sweets and Prasad for our dear ones. We also visited Velankanni beach and had lots of fun.

Budget stay tips

Do your research in advance and book a decent lodge. It’ll cost you lesser than a hotel and is surely safer. Also, the facilities provided like free wifi, warm bath etc are nice.
Family trip to velankanna

The site where it is believed that Mother Mary appeared to a small orphan boy selling buttermilk. Picture credits: Raina Lopes

What All to Eat on your Family Trip to Velankanni?

Velankanni offers some decent food choices. It seems as if Mother Mary has blessed this place and all those who believe in her.

The folks in general here are understanding and will help you in providing all the things you need. Every nook and corner of Velankanni is lined with food in the form of refreshment stalls and restaurants.

There are cheap and small restaurants which provide amazing food, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. One of the best things I saw was roasted and spicy fried fish and chicken lollipops decorated in a huge thali at the stalls.

We enjoyed our early morning coffee in a nearby stall with some Appams. The Idli, Sambhar and Rasam over here has a unique taste.

Budget eating tips

Try out the local cuisine and street food in Velankanni. There is no dearth of good food. No point wasting money on the same items at a plush restaurant.
Family trip to velankanna

The route from Chennai to Velankanni is full of budget food options. Picture credits: Raina Lopes

Top Things to Do on your Family Trip to Velankanni

There is so much you can do in Velankanni as a family. But here are the top three things that I highly suggest –

Take a spiritual tour

Velnkanni is a religious centre. Take a tour of its various churches and fell the bliss. Even if you’re not a Christian, respect the place and the grace it bestows.

Frolic around on the beach

Go frolicking around the Velankanni beach. Feel the waves from the sea touch your feet. Collect a few shells if you want and click lots of pictures.

Taste traditional food

Your trip to Velankanni cannot be deemed as complete if you miss out on the local food. Please try appams, dosas, idlis, vadas and traditionally prepared fish.

Recommended Off Beat Travel Destinations in South India

I hope anybody reading my blog finds it useful especially if you’re planning a family trip to Velankanni.
After extensive travelling and sightseeing in and around Velankanni, finally came the time to go back. As a family, we enjoyed it a lot and even felt more connected. We surely made the best of our time with a proper budget, cosy stay and learnt many lessons to plan our next trip.

Happy wayfaring.

About the Author

Raina Lopes is an avid nature lover who appreciates the serenity of natural beauty. She is a Mumbai girl who loves travelling and exploring new places. Raina also happens to be a part-time online tutor and Software Engineer by profession. She believes in miracles and magic. Fellow woman travellers, reach out to me on Sheroes.