Gunadala Mary Matha fest off to a grand start

The three-day annual Gunadala Mary Matha festival began on a grand note on the premises of Bishop Grassi High School on the foot of the Gunadala hill shrine where the inaugural con-celebrated Eucharist was attended by a large number of devotees.

Vijayawada catholic diocese bishop T. Joseph Raja Rao led the con-celebrated holy mass and vicar generals Mesapam Gabriel, Muvvala Prasad, shrine rector Fr. E. William Jaya Raju, Fr. Abhraham Thomas, Fr. Dovari Joseph and others took part in it and offered prayers to the Gunadala Mary Matha.

Meanwhile, devotees thronged the shrine scaling up the hill to reach the grotto in the middle and to the cross located on the top of the Gunadala hill. Devotees offered prayers to the idol of Gunadala Mary consecrated decades ago and lit candles in large numbers throughout the day.

Though sudden rainfall and continuous drizzle caused inconvenience to the devotees, the dip in temperature and cool climate came as a relief.

The Gunadala Mary Matha festival committee made elaborate arrangements for the three-day festival.

Cultural and devotional programmes throughout the day marked the celebrations. Kolatam, dances, devotional hymns, dance ballets and others were presented by various groups on the premises of the shrine.

Train halts

In view of the festival, a few trains provided temporary stoppage at Gunadala, Ramavarappadu and Madhura Nagar railway stations until February 11.

The Renigunta-Kakinada Port Express, Kakinada Port-Renigunta Express, Vijayawada-Kakinada Port MEMU, Kakinada Port-Vijayawada MEMU, Rajahmundry-Vijayawada MEMU, Vijayawada-Rajahmundry MEMU and Visakhapatnam-Vijayawada passenger trains stop at Gunadala railway station.

Machilipatnam-Vijayawada DEMU and Vijayawada-Narsapur DEMU halt at Ramavarappadu and Madhuranagar stations, according to the South Central Railway (SCR) officials.

Special buses

The Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) is also running special buses for the three-day festival.

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