Arthunkal St.Andrews Basilica is a very famous Christian Pilgrimage center in Kerala.This shrine is also familiar as 'Arthunkal Palli'.(Palli is Malayalam word for Church).It is also called as St.Sebastian's Church since St.Sebastian is its patron.
Arthunkal Church is situated at 'Arthunkal' in Alleppey District which is a coastal place and the west side of the Church is Arabian Sea.The Church is very ancient and was established by the Portuguese 500 years back.The Church is well known for the religious harmony of Kerala which is visited by devotees belonging to all faiths.Hindu pilgrims to Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple after witnessing 'Makara Vilakku Festival' while coming back this way, alights here to pray in this Church as a traditional custom.
It is believed that St.Sebastian heals several ailments including crippled, physically disabled people,mental disorders and so on.Hence during the feast days many such devotees also visit this Church in anticipation to get his blessings.
The feast of St.Sebastian which takes place every year in this Church is a very popular spiritual event in Kerala when devotees from all over the state throng in large numbers to this place.The 'Perunnal' of this Church is a two week celebration and this year in 2016 the feast days are from January 10 to 27.
Usually every year the most important feast day is on January 20. January 27, the last day of this celebration is also very important and known as 'Ettam Perunnal'.
The 'Perunnal' of Arthunkal Church which falls in the Malayalam month 'Makaram' every year is also famous as 'Arthunkal Makaram Perunnal'.
A procession carrying the statue of St.Sebastian to the beach and back in a chariot is an important event of the feast usually held on 27th January in which large crowd of devotees participate.On this occasion many ardent devotees crawl on their knees,some roll on the ground all the way from the beach to the Church as their 'nercha' (offering) to express their love,respect and devotion to the Saint.Offering small replica of bow and arrow is a traditional practice of this church.
Cherthala is the nearest Railway Station which is 8 km and Alapuzha Railway Station is 21 km.Cochin International Airport is only 68 km away.