Paniya Matha ChurchPaniya Matha Church, also known as the Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Snow is no doubt the most famous tourist attraction of Thoothukudi. Its popularity among the tourists can be understood from the fact that it is believed to be visited by the great St. Francis in 1542. The church is located in Thoothukudi and is visited by many all around the year. The church is located at a mere distance of about 7 Km from Thoothukudi and takes around 10 minutes to reach the place.
History of Paniya Matha Church
History of Paniya Matha Church takes us back to the period of Portuguese in Thoothukudi. In the year of 1711, the church was built on a cliff by Portuguese rulers. The church was built near the port area of the city of Thoothukudi. As per the legends, St. Francis Xavier was believed to stay in Thoothukudi for a couple of years starting from 1542 and introduced people of Thoothukudi to the Marion worship after looking at their interest towards the female deities. The statue of our lady of snows has a rich history behind its placement in Paniya Matha church. It was originally placed in the chapel of the Augustinian Sisters in Manila and only after the death of St. Francis Xavier the same was shipped to Thoothukudi, as it was the wish of St. Francis Xavier. The statue was installed in a nearby island after being taken away, but was returned to the church in 1610 again. After the completion of its 400 years in 1982, the statue was raised to the status of a basilica by Venerable Pope John Paul II. People believe in the custom of drinking the water that washes the shrine of Our Lady and the oil from the lamp originated due to its many miraculous associations.
Architecture of Paniya Matha Church
The most famous part of the architecture of Paniya Matha church is the statue of Our Lady of Snows. It is a fine example of Portuguese architecture. Buttresses, vaults and the pointed arches are the perfect example of true gothic style of architecture of this church. Portuguese architecture can be easily seen in each and every wall of this church.
Festivals of Paniya Matha Church
Paniya Matha Church festival is one of the most famous festivals of Thoothukudi and is celebrated in the month of July and August every year. It is an annual church celebration and was started around 1720. People of Thoothukudi and thousands of tourists and pilgrims enjoy this festival with a lot of zeal and pomp. It usually begins on July 26th and ends on August 5th every year. It starts with the feasts of Saints Joachim and Anne, the parents of Mary.
How to Reach at Paniya Matha Church
The church is located within the city of Thoothukudi, which makes it very easy to reach all around the year. You can reach Tuticorin via all the ways of transportation including bus, train and flight, whatever is more feasible to you as per the time and budget of yours. Once you have reached Thoothukudi, take a bus, cab or auto to reach at Paniya Matha church.
Quick Facts about Paniya Matha ChurchAddress: Our Lady of Snows ,41, Beach road, Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu - 628001
Mass Timings of Paniya Matha Church
Every day: 5.30 am, 6.30 am, 5.30 pm
Saturdays: Novena mass at 11.30 am and Novena and Benediction mass at 6.30 pm.
Sundays: 5:00 am, 6.30 am, 8:00 am, 9.30 am and 5.30 pm