Scores of pilgrims, peetadipathis and fathers from different places attended Gunadala Mary Matha Mahotsavams on the first day at Gunadala Matha Shrine on Tuesday.
Bishop Telagathoti Joseph Raja Rao, Rev. Fr. Mallavalli Balaswamy, Rev. Fr. Valle Vijay Joji Babu, Mansignore Muvvala Prasad, and Gunadala Shrine Rector Fr. Eleti William Jayaraju performed the ‘Samisti Divya Balipuja’ and inaugurated the three-day festival on Gunadala hill.
They performed sacred prayers and offered blessings to the devotees who attended the festival. The devotees had darshan of Goddess Mary Matha and offered ‘mokkulu’ (vows) on the hill.
Vijayawada peetadipathi Raja Rao, Fr. Prasad, Jayaraju and other priests offered ‘prasadam’ to the devotees and performed special prayers on the occasion.
Devotees lit candles, offered hairs, performed ‘Annaprasana’ to the children and tied ‘vuyyalas’ to the trees atop Gunadala hill. The temple was decked up for the utsavams and for ‘Navadina Japalu’, which concluded on Monday.
The temple management made elaborate arrangements for the devotees attending the utsavams as per the COVID-19 protocol. Medical camps, drinking water, toilets and other facilities were put in place at Gunadala Shrine.
Priests appealed to the devotees to wear masks and carry sanitisers to prevent the spread of COVID-19. A lot of emphasis was laid on ensuring hygiene and cleanliness at the shrine, the Bishop said.
Medical and Health, Revenue, Police, Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) and other department staff were deputed for the convenience of devotees, temple rector Jayaraju said, adding that spiritual programmes and prayers were performed on the shrine.
The Mary Matha shrine was decked up for the festival. A total of 10 lakh pilgrims are expected to have darshan of the Goddess during the utsavams, said Muvvala Prasad.