Years ago, when I first visited this church, it looked age old exuding tranquility. Doves perched on the wooden planks placed beneath the roof of the church cooed intermittently. The sounds of the sea, splashing waves added to its aura.
I personally feel the best time to visit a church or a temple is the evenings especially, during twilight. Would it be too much if I say, when I am at such a sacred place, during evenings, I’d feel so close with the universe or God. To be honest, the feeling is difficult to put it in words but had always given me, inner peace.
When I came here for the first time around eight years ago, I had something to seek from God and when you were focused on getting something from him, the elements ( good or bad ) hardly come under your gaze. And it was after eight years, I really saw the place in its real beauty.
As I already said the church is on a sea shore, it is very near to Shankumugham beach, one of the famous tourist attractions of Kerala. Unlike it, the sea, here is calm. Years ago, there were hardly any tourists or people wandering on the shores. It used to be deserted. Not even the natives who lived nearby could be seen anywhere.
And it seemed the devotees were there just to pray and to frolic in the waves, they always had Shangumukham beach. I sometimes felt, the sea too understood that it should remain calm and should not interrupt the thoughts of the devotees.
This time, I just glanced around and saw the change happening to the place. The sea shore is no longer deserted and is abuzz with activities. Fishermen could be seen silently sitting and knitting their fishing nets.
Country crafts were kept upside down. Under its shade, there were couples sitting immersed in their own world. Some were frolicking in the waves. When I walked a bit, I could see a grandfather coming out of his hut with his grand children to sleep under the shade of a trees.
Even under the scorching sun, the vendors could be seen selling sliced mangoes and pineapples with a mix of chilli powder and salt, salted gooseberries, roasted nuts, popcorns, ice- creams and what not. And people hardly leave the beach even it is 8 pm.
It might not be wrong, if I say this place, considered purely, a pilgrimage centre is slowly on its way to become a tourist destination. If you want to enjoy a solitary walk on the beach, or sit just looking into the horizon without any bustling activity to interrupt your thoughts, Vettukad is the best option.
PS : The Madre De Deus Church, Vettukad, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala is a famous pilgrim centre under the Latin catholic Arch Diocese of Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
From Thiruvananthapuram Central ( Railway station ), the church is just 7.3 kms away. From Thiruvananthapuram Airport, it is a just 3.2 kms away.
“What do you think about a pilgrim centre turning into a tourist destination? “