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St. Andrew’s Basilica is in Arthunkal in Cherthala in Kerala.

Looking for a spiritual destination that’s also a bit quirky? Look no further than Arthunkal Church, the largest shrine of Saint Sebastian in the world!

Originally built by Portuguese missionaries in the 16th century, the church was rebuilt by a priest with healing powers known as “Arthunkal Veluthachan,” or “fair-skinned father.” And don’t miss the life-sized statue of the vicar, which depicts his brutal execution with arrows and bloodstains.

But Arthunkal isn’t just a church – it’s also a coastal town and a popular pilgrimage site for people of all faiths. And the annual ten-day festival of St. Sebastian is not to be missed, with a procession of the saint’s statue to the beach and back, and even devotees rolling their bodies the entire 1km distance from the beach to the church!

Visit any day of the week between 5:30 am – 6:30 pm to take in the church’s beautiful architecture and tasteful woodwork. And if you’re feeling spiritual, check out the holy mass timings and even baptism schedules.

With so much to see and do, Arthunkal Church is the perfect destination for a religious and slightly bizarre adventure. The church is located 22 kms north of Alappuzha in Cherthala and can be reached in auto- rickshaws or private cabs. One can also opt for the state-run buses.

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