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Palliport

     The history of Palliport is almost Biblical in nature - in that we are reminded of the story of Noah's Ark and that ancient flood. In 1341 a massive flooding of the Periyar River which, accompanied by unusual oceanic events in the Arabian Sea, created a land mass from the receding waters. The resulting island (25 km long) was named Vypin - this very name inherently hinting at the origin and nature of the island. The southern tip of the island is referred to as Fort Vypin while the northern end is called Palliport.
Palliport became a Christian cent er when the Portuguese came to settle here. Their arrival was marked with the building of a fort for their soldiers that also marked the transformation of the area into a social, political and religions center. The present “Our Lady of Snow” church stands as a monument to events that began long ago. Other reminders of the Portuguese era are the nearly Vypin fort, Jesuit College, a printing press and a seminary - all of these much appreciated by the present generations.
The missionary work initiated by the Portuguese was well organized, and met with considerable success. Many Hindus accepted the message of Christ and became Christians as a result. The very first Palliport Church (also known as “Our Lady of Snow”) was quite small, and more a chapel than a church. However, a full sized church was constructed and completed in 1577. The original small chapel was converted into a cemetery. The “Our Lady of Snow” church became a Parish on completion of the newly built church, and the original founding Christians and newly converted Christian became one congregation.
This was also the time of Tipu's aggression against the Christians and Hindus. This Muslim conqueror was determined to extend his power and influence by conquering the Christians and Hindus. The “Mysore Tiger” (as Tipu was known) came to Palliport prepared for heavy battle and would certainly have destroyed the church had it not been for a certain miraculous chain of events that saved the area. The legend says that the local populace rushed into the church for refuge and cried out to Our Lady for her protection. The statue of Our Lady atop the church is then said to have opened her hands (that were clasped in prayer) from which thick dense fog poured out covering the entire area. The church in particular appeared as a mist-covered hill, and Tipu was said to have returned disappointed. This was a notable point in time, as this incident had served greatly to enhance the faith of the local people and establishing Palliport as a pilgrimage center. Another closely connected story tells of Tipu firing his cannons blindly through the fog, hitting the nearly fort and knocking off its top. The fort still has a missing roof thus lending further credibility to the local legend. A strange flood had hit the Periyar River where Tipu's army was encamped along the banks. As a result of the flood, Tipu lost a lot of men, forcing the Mysore Tiger to leave Kerala and return to Mysore.
Praises and adoration are continuously given to “Our Lady of Snow” for the miraculous saving of the Church and the people. There is a small shrine in front of the main church by the banks of the passing river. This shrine contains an old picture that is said to have been washed in by a minor flood. The origin of this picture is uncertain but there is a possibility that it may have been a picture that was washed away from the main church in an earlier flood.
Parts of the church may have been reconstructed in some form or the other numerous times. The design and appearance of the church as we see it today, was blessed in 1943 after rebuilding.

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