The origins of this shrine date back to the beginning of this Century, when a little shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes (a little Chapel) was erected by a few Catholic laymen and Father A. Kieger OMI, in 1911, the area being then a part of the parish of Ragama. On 11 November 1917 Father A. Collorec OMI built a small Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes assisted by some Catholic workers from Colombo.
The Chapel was later enlarged to accommodate the increasing number of pilgrims, and in the 1930’s the side of the Church built a large Grotto to Our Lady of Lourdes. The Church and Shrine with the “Holy Well” by its side gradually became a place of pilgrimage to the Catholics of Colombo Archdiocese.
The Holy Father Pope Paul VI endowed the Church with the title of a Minor Basilica in 1973. The church, 29696 square ft in extent surrounded by huge trees with fascinating landscape, designed by Spanish architect Sir Heras. It is 319 ft in length and 125 ft in height. Another noteworthy feature of Basilika is the goddess structure carried by Portuguese architect Kridum.