Introduction to Arthunkal Church

Arthunkal Church is a famous religious site located in Kerala, India. It is also known as St. Andrew’s Forane Church and attracts thousands of visitors and pilgrims every year. The church is an important symbol of faith and history in the region, drawing people from different backgrounds to witness its beauty and significance.

Location and Geographical Features

Arthunkal Church is situated in the Alappuzha district of Kerala, a state known for its lush greenery, backwaters, and cultural heritage. The church is specifically located in the coastal area of Arthunkal, near the Arabian Sea. Its proximity to the sea adds to the scenic beauty of the surroundings, making it a picturesque and tranquil destination for visitors.

History of Arthunkal Church

The history of Arthunkal Church dates back to the 16th century when Portuguese missionaries arrived in Kerala. It is believed that the church was initially built by the Portuguese, making it one of the oldest European-built churches in India. Over the centuries, the church has undergone several renovations and expansions, evolving into the magnificent structure that stands today.

One of the most significant aspects of Arthunkal Church’s history is its association with St. Sebastian, a revered Christian saint known for his martyrdom. The church houses relics and statues of St. Sebastian, making it a sacred place of devotion for Christians.


The geographical features surrounding Arthunkal Church are characterized by lush greenery, coconut palms, and serene backwaters. The region’s coastal location offers breathtaking views of the Arabian Sea, with sandy beaches nearby for visitors to enjoy. The tranquil ambiance of the surroundings complements the spiritual atmosphere of the church, creating a harmonious blend of natural beauty and religious significance.

How to Reach Arthunkal Church

Visiting Arthunkal Church is a memorable experience for pilgrims and tourists alike. There are several ways to reach the church, depending on your starting point:

  1. By Air: The nearest airport to Arthunkal Church is Cochin International Airport, located approximately 80 kilometers away. From the airport, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach the church.
  2. By Train: Alappuzha Railway Station is the closest railway station to Arthunkal Church, situated about 22 kilometers away. From the railway station, you can hire a taxi or use public transportation to reach the church.
  3. By Road: Arthunkal is well-connected by roadways, making it accessible by bus, car, or taxi. If you’re traveling from nearby cities like Alappuzha or Kochi, you can easily reach the church via road transport.

Tourism in Arthunkal Church

Arthunkal Church is not just a place of worship; it is also home to several top attractions that captivate visitors:

  1. St. Sebastian’s Feast: One of the most celebrated events at Arthunkal Church is the Feast of St. Sebastian, held annually in January. The feast attracts thousands of devotees and tourists who come to witness the grand procession, cultural performances, and religious rituals.
  2. Historical Architecture: The church itself is a masterpiece of historical architecture, featuring intricate designs, ancient relics, and beautiful stained glass windows. Visitors can explore the rich history and cultural significance of the church through guided tours and exhibits.
  3. Religious Significance: For pilgrims, the sacredness of Arthunkal Church lies in its association with St. Sebastian and the miracles attributed to the saint. Many visitors come seeking blessings, healing, and spiritual solace at this revered site.
  4. Scenic Surroundings: The picturesque surroundings of Arthunkal, including the nearby beaches and backwaters, offer opportunities for leisurely walks, photography, and relaxation amidst nature’s beauty.

Tourist Activities

Visitors to Arthunkal Church can engage in various tourist activities, including:

  1. Attend Mass and Prayers: Participate in the church’s religious ceremonies, including Holy Mass, prayers, and devotional services.
  2. Explore the Church Museum: Discover the history and artifacts of Arthunkal Church at its museum, showcasing religious relics, historical documents, and cultural exhibits.
  3. Visit Nearby Attractions: Explore other attractions near Arthunkal, such as Mararikulam Beach, Alleppey Backwaters, and traditional Kerala villages.
  4. Enjoy Local Cuisine: Taste authentic Kerala cuisine at nearby restaurants and eateries, offering delicious seafood, coconut-based dishes, and aromatic spices.

Best Time to Visit Arthunkal Church

The best time to visit Arthunkal Church is during the winter months, from November to February, when the weather is pleasant and suitable for outdoor activities. The Feast of St. Sebastian in January is a highlight, attracting a festive atmosphere and cultural performances.


While Arthunkal is primarily known for its religious and cultural attractions, visitors can also indulge in shopping for souvenirs and local handicrafts. Some popular items to buy include traditional Kerala sarees, spices, handcrafted jewelry, and souvenirs depicting the church’s architecture and history.

Nearby Destinations

Arthunkal Church’s proximity to other attractions makes it an ideal base for exploring the surrounding areas:

  1. Mararikulam Beach: Enjoy sunbathing, swimming, and water sports at this pristine beach located near Arthunkal.
  2. Alleppey Backwaters: Take a houseboat cruise or canoe ride through the serene backwaters of Alleppey, known as the Venice of the East.
  3. Kochi (Cochin): Visit the historic city of Kochi to explore its colonial architecture, spice markets, and cultural landmarks like Fort Kochi and Mattancherry Palace.
  4. Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary: Birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts can visit this sanctuary to spot a variety of migratory birds and wildlife in their natural habitat.