I wanted to visit the famous Graha Maria Annai Velangkanni, which is a Catholic church located in the outskirt of Medan city. The easiest way to travel would be to book a taxi to take me there. The problem with Medan is that it is quite difficult to find a proper taxi – the ones that use meter; whereas pirated taxi are plentiful. In some hotels such as Swiss Belinn Medan, I could not find Blue Bird or Express taxi outside the hotel – I wonder where they had gone? Anyway, once you have booked a taxi to this church, it would be advisable to ask the cab driver to wait for you for about 30 minutes at the compound of this church ( extra charges of course ); and thereafter you can take the same cab back to whenever is your next destination. The reason is because this church is located in the middle of nowhere. The church is surrounded by residential homes along a narrow dirt road – so be warned and be prepared.
The Graha Maria Annai Velangkanni is one the most bizarre church I have even visited in my life. When I step out of my taxi and stared at the building, I thought I was visiting a Hindu or a Chinese cum Hindu temple combined into one. Couldn’t really make it out that this tall structure building is a Catholic church – and I am truly amazed and loved it! It is a church dedicated to the Holy Mary Annai Velangkanni or Our Lady of Good Health who appeared in Tamil Nadu in India in the 17th century.
On the ground floor of this church building is a community hall which is for activities held in this church. The prayer hall is located on the 2nd storey level and to reach it, you just have to walk the gentle spiral slope. Before you enter the prayer hall, all visitors have to take off their shoes. There are 2 large statues on the balcony itself – the statue of St Paul, the Apostle of nations and St. Francis Xavier, the Apostle of Asia welcoming visitors into the prayer hall. The prayer hall is well decorated with paintings, art and shrine and very peaceful too. I saw many young students sitting on the bench at the time. In front you can see the Lord with the words – ” Come to me, all who laboured and are heavily burdened, I will give you rest.” Very meaningful words and very peaceful environment; and so I did sat down and rest; together with the many young students sitting on the bench.
I understand that the church has its own spring water which was discovered at the Altar of the Marian Chapel. I am not sure whether they allow visitors to collect the blessed spring water in a bottle – do asked the staff when you are there. The Graha Maria Annai Velangkanni is really a must visit place in Medan. Do make the time and effort to see this unique church. Not only it is beautiful, the prayer hall is also a peaceful place to rest and sort out your thoughts or problems. And don’t forget to make a donation at the donation box ( any amount) – though it is a voluntary act, but I felt that it is the right time to do.
For those interested in viewing more photos of Graha Maria Annai Velangkanni, do check it out at the Image gallery of Indonesiapics.com