The Vallarpadam church (Our Lady of Ransom) in Vallarpadam, Cochin, Kerala was declared the status of a basilica on February 12, 2005.
Portuguese built the church in 1524. According to tradition it was once known as the church of the Holy Spirit. The church was destroyed in a flood in the late 17th century and a new church was established on the same spot in 1676.
The famous picture of the ‘Blessed Virgin Mary’ was erected by Portuguese who brought it from their native land. The church was bestowed a special status by Pope Leo XIII in 1888. In 1951 the Union Government declared it a major pilgrim centre.
Located on the middle of Vallarpadam, the church is a jewel on the island physique of encircled backwaters. “Vallarapadath Amma”, as the St Mary of Vallarpadam is called, is believed to have miraculously saved many lives from shipwreck and violent storms.
“The prestigious Stirling Prize from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in association with The Architects’ Journal was awarded on Saturday 16th October 2004 at a ceremony televised live on Channel 4. In an unusually unanimous decision, the judges awarded it to Foster & Partners, led by Sir Norman Foster, for the revolutionary 30 St Mary Axe, also known as the Gherkin and the Swiss Re Building (the unique shaped tower in left-centre in the photo), London’s first environmental skyscraper.
30 St Mary Axe is a revolutionary design, quite unlike anything else nearby, and there were many worries that it would not fit in well to its historic surroundings. In fact, its distinctive shape complements and enhances the London skyline rather than detracts from it. Perhaps critics would do well to remember that St Paul’s Cathedral was disliked by many when Sir Christopher Wren first drew up the plans. London is a vibrant, living city, not a museum so it needs modern buildings at the cutting edge of design, not only for their utility, but also as a legacy for future generations.”