Alright, buckle up for some scoop on St. Mary’s Forane Church in Alappuzha. This is the Church shown in the blockbuster Tollywood movie Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa by Gautham Vasudev Menon.
Nestled in Champakullam along the majestic Pamba River, the church exudes an air of elite significance. It is situated in the secluded rural expanse of Kuttanadu, which comes under Alappuzha Taluk. The church’s architecture resembles Portuguese-style constructions.
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In the past, Pulinkunnu lacked a church, so worshippers would travel by boat overnight to Champakulam. However, on one occasion, they were mocked upon arrival due to their lateness. This left them feeling disheartened, so they sought help from the King. The King showed compassion and allowed them to build a church at his old boathouse. This church was dedicated to the holy mother in the year AD 1557. As time passed, the congregation grew and a new building was constructed. Today, the present-day church stands, which was built approximately a century ago.
The Chapakulam Kalloorkadu Church, also known as St. Mary’s Forane Church, has a rich history dating back to 427 A.D. As one of India’s earliest churches, it holds a special place in the country’s religious heritage. This Syrio-Malabar Church is both the oldest and most prominent Syrian Catholic Church in Alappuzha, with a long-standing reputation for influence. According to legend, the Apostle St. Thomas himself laid the foundations of this church. Its fascinating history and impressive architecture are a major draw for tourists visiting Alappuzha.
The church’s exterior is impressive, with a towering roof that appears to reach the sky. Upon entering, it feels like stepping into a craft fair showcasing beautiful woodwork and stained glass. The interior is vast, with long echoing spaces designed by architects who clearly favoured grandeur. Overall, the church exudes majesty and offers a playground for appreciating the impressive architecture.
The church gained prominence through its feature in Gautham Vasudev Menon’s blockbuster film Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa. Unlike other filmmakers who chose backwaters as a romantic backdrop, GVM captured the sheer splendour of this village church. For those unfamiliar with the movie, it beautifully showcases the church in all its glory.
Following the success of Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa, the church experienced a rush in visitors. Drawn by the tranquil and serene atmosphere it offers for worship, people from all walks of life have been enchanted by the beauty of this sacred place.
Whether you’re a devotee, an architecture lover, or just someone looking for a great Instagram backdrop, this Church, St. Mary’s Forane Church in Alappuzha, has got you covered. It’s not just a place of worship; it’s a divine with centuries of history, miracles that’ll make you raise an eyebrow, and architecture that puts your Pinterest board to shame. Amen to that!
Visit for the spirituality, and stay for the heavenly eye-rolls.
By Road: St. Mary’s is located at a distance of 18 Km from Alappuzha by road.
Waterways: Linked by boat service through the backwaters to Alappuzha (1 hr), Kollam (8 Hrs), Changanacherry (3 hrs), Kumarakom (3 hr), Cochin (4 hrs) etc. From Champakulam main (Karuka), the Church is only a few steps away – towards the North.