Arthunkal is a small village located about 22 km away from the town of Alappuza. It is one of the most important pilgrimage centres for hundreds of Hindus and Christians. Arthunkal derives its name from Arthunkalagra which was later modified into Arthunkal.
The Arthunkal Church, officially called the Arthunkal St Forane’s Church, was constructed in the sixteenth century by the Portuguese. Arthunkal Church was again rebuilt in 1638 in memory of the then Vicar Fr Jacoma Fenicio, who devotees thought possessed magical healing powers.
In 1647, a statue of St Sebastian was brought, sculpted in Milan and installed in the Church. The Arthunkal St Forane Church became the first Parish of Alleppey to be bestowed the status of Basilica. It is the first church to appear in the Alleppey Diocese, the seventh Basilica in the state and the third Latin Catholic Church of Kerala.