Situated along the coast of Bay of Bengal at a distance of 14 kms south of Naggapatim. Velankanni is prominent as a tourist destination and is given the nickname of 'Lourdes of the East' because like Lourdes in France, there is also a great influx of pilgrims in to the place. Tourists in thousands come and visit the church of Mother Mary. It has almost become the synthesis and the vital destination of all Marian Sanctuaries located in the world. Peoples from every religion, caste and creed come to pay respect to the great Lady.

The small hamlet on the sandy shore of the Bay of Bengal is 350 kms far from Chennai. Towards the south of the Velankanni village flows a small tributary of the Cauvery River. The sacred place was once a port and people of this region traded with countries like Rome and Greece, which was the ancient commercial center of the western countries.