Andhra Pradesh

Gunadala shrine remains closed for devotees

The Gunadala church

The Gunadala church

The famous Gunadala Mary Matha church has not been reopened for pilgrims as it is located in a containment zone and hence devotees are requested not to visit the shrine in wake of the pandemic situation, according to the church authorities.

Thousands visit the shrine from different places in the State and the neighbouring States every day and have darshan of the Goddess. The church has remained closed for the last three months due to COVID-19 lockdown.

After the government allowed reopening of shrines across the State from June 8, many churches have opened with necessary precautions but facilities like dormitories and ceremonies like ‘anna prasana’ and ‘nama karanam’ have not been resumed.

Vijayawada Bishop Rev. Telagathoti Raja Rao said of the 863 churches in Krishna district a few were located in red and containment zones.

“Services resumed in about 800 shrines as per COVID-19 protocol. However, the churches in containment and red zones have not been opened and public are requested not to visit such shrines,” the Bishop said.

Gunadala Mary Matha shrine Rector Fr. Eleti William Jayaraju said as per the instructions of the government, the Collector and municipal authorities, the church was kept closed as a precautionary measure.

Online services

“We are offering services online and through different television channels. Those who want to perform prayers and take blessings of the Goddess can watch the channels. Prayers are being performed for the well-being of the society and global peace,” he said.

Vicar-General Muvvala Prasad said that only a limited number of pilgrims were being allowed into the churches for prayers and steps were being taken to sanitise the premises regularly.

“Instructions have been given to devotees not to bring aged persons and those suffering from fever, cough and other symptoms to churches,” he said.

The church managements were instructed to provide sanitisers, hand washers and masks. No ‘prasadams’ and ‘teerthams’ were being offered at the shrines and no celebrations were allowed, the Bishop said.

“The churches in the red zones will not be reopened until further orders by the government,” Rev. Raja Rao said.


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Printable version | Jun 29, 2022 11:09:09 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/gunadala-shrine-remains-closed-for-devotees/article31879209.ece