New Church of Our Lady of Lourdes

  • 4.7

    Location: WQ66+9V6, Villianur, Puducherry 605110, India

    Estimated Visiting Time: 2-3 hours

    Website not available

    Be amazed in Pondicherry! About 9 km from Pondicherry city center, Villianur has an interesting place called the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes. This Roman Catholic Church in Pondicherry is dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes and is counted among the most revered temples in the city. In 1876 Rev. was Built by the French. At Thurber, the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes drew influence from the Basilica of France. The statue of Our Lady installed in the church was imported from Lourdes at the behest of Bernadette. The statue was placed in the churchyard in 1887 and was named after Pope Leo XIII. Apart from the temple, the main feature of this cathedral is the church tank, which is seen in most Hindu temples. The purpose of setting up this tank is still unknown; Whether it was built out of necessity or for some other reason, no one knows. However, during festivals honoring Madonna, many devotees are seen bathing as a long-standing ritual. In the month of June, the festival is celebrated. This holy pond is located near the church, just before the cathedral. It is said that the pond was once used for irrigation of the surrounding land, and it was rev. was built by the French. Right in the center of this pond is the idol of the Holy Mother which is one of the main features of this popular Christian temple in Pondicherry. In fact, the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes is the only cathedral in all of Asia that has a holy pond on its premises. A holy dip in this holy pond is believed to bring good fortune to a person’s life as well as cure his ailments. 


    It is an enchantingly beautiful temple dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is easy to access its location in Villianur Town. A huge stone statue of Our Lady of Lourdes was installed in 1877, which is the main attraction of this church. This statue is a testimony of miracles in the 19th century, after which it was declared a temple. Thousands of devotees visit this shrine every first Saturday of August. Holy water collected during this ceremony from Lourdes Church in France is poured into a holy pond located on the temple premises. This naturally formed pond water is believed to cure people suffering from various ailments and bring good luck. 


    In 1867, MEP missionaries from Puducherry wanted to build a chapel at Villianur which is 13 km from Pondicherry, on the road to Villupuram. So, they bought a piece of land at Villianur and after long discussions with the Hindu temple authorities of Thirukameswarer Gogilambigai temple in Thirukameswar Rev.Fr.Gau, Procurator of the Puducherry Mission started building a chapel at Kanuvapet on the outskirts of Villianur. The church building is said to have been sponsored by Dr. Leffin’s family in thanksgiving for the miraculous healing of his daughter. The chapel took 10 years to complete. And Rev.Fr.Tarbes, cousin of St. Bernadette, Visionary of Lourdes, was appointed as Parish Priest of the Mission of Villianur. Because he had a direct report of the apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes, this chapel is the first in the world to be named after Our Lady of Lourdes outside of Lourdes, France. A parishioner of Our Lady of Lourdes made a six feet tall statue for the site, which reached Puducherry on 4 April 1877. The box containing the statue was dropped three times on the way to the cathedral but arrived intact and was shipped. Near Vilayanur. In the late nineteenth century, the statue was claimed to be associated with several miracles. In 1885 Archbishop Lauenan went to Rome and delivered a report to Pope Leo XIII of the alleged miracles that had taken place in the temple. The archbishop received a pontifical decree on 21 February 1886 declaring the site an official shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes and canonically crowning the statue. On the archbishop’s return from Rome on 8 May 1886, a Pontifical High Mass was held with the celebration witnessed by some 40,000 people. At the mass, the archbishop crowned the statue in the name of the Pope and declared the church as the shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, Villianur, and attached permanent canonization to the shrine.

    Inside/Outside Views

    There was a natural pond in front of the chapel. It was once used as a water reservoir for the irrigation of the surrounding land and the water came from the large Osteri lake located 10 km from here. And this pond Fr. Lesbond, Parish Priest, with donations from Zigon organized by Mr. Lesage. In 1924 Mr. Larocgue received an idol from the Lords of the people of Zigon and after the consecration of the idol and the pond, there was a solemn ceremony to place the idol in the middle of the holy pond. People here believe that the water of the pond is miraculous and has the power to cure the sick and bring good luck. It is the only Catholic Church in Asia that has a holy pond in front of the church. 

    Opening Hours

    The Church of Our Lady of Lourdes is open all days during the week. Moreover, church hours are the same in every season. Also, mass times are different on weekends and weekdays.

    Weekday: 6:00 AM.

    1st Saturday: 6:00 am, 11:30 am, and 6:00 pm.

    Sunday: 6:00 AM and 7:30 AM.

    Entry & Others Fees

    No entry fees.

    How to Reach

    By Air: Chennai International Airport is the nearest airport. It is 135 km away. Chennai is well connected to many cities in India some of them are Delhi, Mumbai, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Pune, Hyderabad, etc. One can hire a taxi from the airport to reach the New Church of Our Lady of Lourdes. 

    By Rail: Villupuram, Central Railway It, 35 km. Villupuram is with Tiruchirappalli, Madurai, and Chennai by State Railway. The hospital is available from Villupuram to Puducherry. One can hire a taxi from the airport to reach the New Church of Our Lady of Lourdes.

    By Road: Pondicherry is best accessible by road, bus, or taxi. Private tourist buses from Chennai, Madurai, and Bangalore ply to Pondicherry. Buses connect Pondicherry with Thanjavur, Trichy, Chidambaram, and Coimbatore. There are frequent buses from Koyambedu in Chennai about every 15 minutes. One can hire taxis from the bus stand to reach his desired place. 

    Tips for Travellers

    Carry a water bottle and snacks with you. 


    Que-01: Is this place safe to visit?

    Ans: Yes.

    Que-02: Is photography allowed in this place?

    Ans: Yes.

    Que-03: What is the best time to visit the place?

    Ans: Winter is the best time to visit the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes. Marking its onset in the month of October, the winter season in Pondicherry enjoys cool and pleasant weather that is ideal for tourism in the region. The season ends in March.

    We wish you all the best for your journey. Happy Travel!!!

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