KOCHI: Braving the scorching summer heat and billowing dust from Metro sites, hundreds of devotees from different parts of the district and far off places started their pilgrimage to Malayattoor shrine by walking. Roads to Malayattoor are dotted with groups of pilgrims carrying crosses, including women and children, a familiar annual sight during the days preceding Good Friday.
Devotees will reach Malayattoor Kurishumudy, the international pilgrim centre of St. Thomas, the hill shrine, on Good Friday. The annual church feast is during the holy week.
“It was several years ago that we, a group of four friends, decided to walk the route to Malayattoor in four or five days. We feel a healing miracle taking place after walking to the shrine. Over the years, the devotee group has grown and now there are nearly 20 members,” said Sebastian John, a devotee from Neryamangalam.
There are several pilgrim groups in the city like Fort Kochi, Thoppumpady, Chellanam and Kannamali who regularly visit the hill shrine by foot every year. Churches and other groups open resting facilities and offer food for the pilgrim groups clad in saffron clothes and chanting prayers.
“This time, the journey will be very tough due to the extreme weather conditions. We might not be able to walk during noon. Dust from the Metro construction sites and increased vehicle density also will be challenging,” said a pilgrim from Kannamali. After reaching Malayattoor, these groups will join thousands of others to climb the hill shrine - the Kurishumudy....