Sunday, August 28, 2011

Pilgrimage to Velankanni

On my morning walk, I passed by a few men and women, all dressed in light orange-colored clothing. It was a sign that the pilgrimage to the Velankanni shrine in southern Tamil Nadu had begun. During the last part of August and into September, several thousand devotees from the Chennai region make the trek by foot to the church known as Our Lady of Good Health, site where the Virgin Mary and infant Jesus are said to have appeared to a few locals in the 16th century. Likely, most of those making the 350 km walk (217 mi) in about two weeks are Christian. Once at the site though, they will be joined by those of various faiths seeking for miracles, personal requests, and curiosity.

Those making the trek are helped along the way by those who provide water, food, and shelter.

This photo was taken during last year's walk to the smaller Velankanni church in Besant Nagar, Chennai. I was waiting to join some local Christians who were walking there from their apartment in Mylapore. This weekend, I will join them to the church in southern Tamil Nadu.

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