Trivandrum, Kerala’s capital city, which is also known as Thiruvananthapuram, is a small city – but don’t let that fool you for a second. What it lacks in size, it makes up for in spirit. A compact, but energetic hub, Trivandrum is where you should be if you want to experience city life in the south. Countless travellers stop by Trivandrum , to get to the coasts of Kovalam and Varkala, but Trivandrum has plenty of attractions – including a zoo and a bunch of Victorian museums - to keep you engaged and entertained.
One particular spot in Trivandrum that is of note is Vettucaud, which is a coastal city in the capital. Many visitors flock to Vettucaud each year, to visit the 500 year old Madre De Deus Church. If tales are to be believed, then the region was said to be visited by the renowned missionary, St. Francis Xavier, sometime between C.E. 1543 and 1547. Moreover, the church is a place for the locals, and is also visited by people from other communities.
In November, the Vettucaud Festival is celebrated, with the region congregating to celebrate the annual “feast of Christ the King”. Thousands of devotees throng the church doors, and pay their respects. Last year, close to 5 lakh people attended the festival. The festival lasts ten days, with extensive programmes planned through the festival period, including a Holy Mass. The ten day affair has special prayers held on all the festival days. The highlight of the festival is the ceremonial procession, which is when the statue of Christ the King is carried around.
For the history buffs, the statue of Christ the King has a story. Back in the day, the statue was sculpted in Changanacherry, and was presented to the church by the parents of Fr. CM Hillary, to remember his ordination to priesthood. The statue was later installed by Rev. Jose Viera Alvernes, the Bishop of Cochin, and was then dedicated for public veneration in 1942. Subsequently, the parish priest of the Madre De Deus Church was Rev. Fr. Michael John.
The Feast of Christ the King was originally instituted and propagated by Pius XI through his apostolic letter "Quam Primas" in the year 1925. The annual feast of Christ the King is being celebrated during the 3rd Sunday of November. It is a celebration of people from all walks of life.
If you ever find yourself in Trivandrum, and have an extra day to spare, then book yourself into a hotel in Trivandrum, and go visit the Madre De Deus Church. If you’re wondering how to get to Vettucaud, then you can get there from two main points. The first option is to take a train to Kochuveli station, from where Vettucaud is two kilometres away. The other option is to drive Trivandrum International Airport, or the domestic airport, both of which are a short drive away. Better still, if you’re there in November, then experience the Vettucaud Festival for a spiritual journey that you won’t find anywhere else in the world.