WELCOME TO PANIMATHA
Our Lady of Snows Kallikulam shrine is one of the prominent Marian shrines in India. It is located at Tirunelveli district in the state Tamilnadu of India. In the recent years, it became popular in India because of vision and apparition of Our Lady. A strong oral tradition attests to Our Lady’s apparition at Kallikulam. The tradition is built around the following few significant events:
On 1884, the villagers and Jesuits decided to build a new church at Kallikulam for Our Lady. They were undecided about the size and location of the church. They prayed to Our Lady and requested her intercession to choose the location and size of the church. At that time, on a hot summer morning, they found a piece of land wet with morning dew. They wondered about that unusual thing, and believed that that was a miraculous intercession of Our Lady to mark the location of the church. On 1885 they built a magnificent church on that location and consecrated to Our Lady of Snows.
On 29th March 1939, evening around 6.30 pm, Our Lady appeared on a hill near to the church. Six young people saw that apparition and informed that to parish priest and the village people.
Since then, thousands of people of all faiths, from all over India, have visited Kallikulam and have left spiritually strengthened and renewed. Countless unbelievers and physically or mentally afflicted, have been converted and healed. Not only do multitudes of Catholic travel there throughout the year but many non-Christians visit as well. Hundreds of miraculous cures are reported every year. Our Lady of the Snows devotions down through the centuries have proved the place to be of divine origin.
The shrine is a center of hospitality and spiritual growth, founded in Tamil tradition and culture. Here, Our Lady of the Snows, is popularly known as Panimatha. Panimatha is a Tamil word. In Tamil ‘Pani’ means ‘Snow’ and ‘Matha’ means ‘Mother’.
OUR LADY OF SNOWS CHURCH
People inhabited Kallikulam as early as 1700. They built a small temple to a Hindu deity for worship. The village leader performed religious service in that temple.
Sometime after, a lady with a child in her arm, frequently came in the dream of village leader and asked a particular portion of land at Kallikulam. That time Kallikulam village people were legally fighting for ownership of Kallikulam village land in the district court. That woman again came in the dream of village leader and assured her blessing to win their legal battle. On the next day, village leader and the people got final judgment in favour of them. So they decided to honor that lady. With help of a European Roman Catholic priest they came to know that that lady was Mary.
On 1770 AD, a thatched church was built in the name of Holy Mary by village people. Jesuits helped them to convert into Christianity and formed small Christian community. As catholic population increased, that church was enlarged, by Fathers Martin and Mossette on 1838.
On 1884, villagers and Jesuits decided to build a new church at Kallikulam for Our Lady. They were undecided about the size and location of the church. They prayed to Our Lady and requested her intercession to choose the location and size of church. At that time, on a hot summer morning, they found a piece of land wet with morning dew. They wondered about that unusual thing, and believed that that was a miraculous intercession of Our Lady to mark the location of proposed church.
On 5th September 1884, Rev.Father Cousanal laid foundation for new church. With donation and hard workmanship of people, church main building work was completed on 1886 and consecrated to Our Lady of Snows. The church tower work was started on 1941 and completed on 1942.
The church architecture is based on Roman architecture. It has three towers, one main tower and two sub towers. The main tower height is 160 feet and sub tower height is 68 feet. The church building height is 55 feet. The total length of church is 151 feet and width is 56 feet. The main tower has internal spiral steps for 143 feet. The main statue of “Our lady of Snows” and church bell were brought from France.
Our Lady of Snows church has religious significance for Christian community in India. It also has historical significance, as it is nearly 125 years old.
Our Lady of Snow Church,
Kallikulam, Tirunelveli District,
Tamilnadu, India – 627113.
Tel No.: 04637 235161.
For more information please visit: http://www.panimatha.com/