As the scorching summer arrives, everyone flees to hill stations. But, we head to a village for a feast celebration. St. Aloysius Gonzaga Feast is celebrated every year in Akilandapuram.
However, the fun lies in meeting your entire cousin for a feast in a remote rural village of Tamilnadu. It’s not just a family vacation but a perfect celebration of all families get-together with pure joy! It’s such a beautiful experience not-to-be-missed. It was my second visit.
St. Aloysius Gonzaga fondly called St. Gnanapragasiyar is situated in Akilandapuram Village in Kayathar of Tuticorin district and is about 27 Km from Kovilpatti, Tamilnadu. In particular, people travel from everywhere to be in Akilandapuram for the feast celebrated during the second weekend of May every year.
We boarded the Kanyakumari express from Chennai and reached Kovilpatti station before dawn. The plan is to join the rest of the families on the bus from Tanjore. As they’re far, we went to have a cup of coffee just outside the railway station. Around 6 AM, the bus reached Kovilpatti and from there we started for Puliampatti along with other families.
St. Anthony’s Shrine, Puliampatti:
The first stop was at St. Anthony’s Shrine, Puliampatti which is 50 KM from Kovilpatti. Yet another beautiful church is in a remote village of Ottapidaram Taluk in Tuticorin. We refreshed and had our breakfast. We prayed and left for his nephew’s hair tonsuring ceremony.
St. Gnanapragasiyar church, Akilandapuram:
Around 12 PM, we started from Puliampatti to Akilandapuram which is almost 97 KM and took 2 hours to reach. We had our lunch in the community hall. It was so hot and I couldn’t feel the air from the ceiling fan. After a nap, everyone started to get ready for the evening mass. On Saturday evening there would be an adoration mass followed by dinner and on Sunday morning there would be a chariot procession.
Sunday marks the grand feast day celebrating the chariot festival. A beautifully decked huge wooden chariot that majestically carries a gleamingly ornated St.Aloysius Gonzaga (called as St. Gnanapragasiyar) floating in the midst of a huge crowd, trundling along the streets. It is so blissful to watch!! And, it is organized in such a way that the entire village gets involved in the celebration. It’s wonderful to see the spirit of village folks and people jointly pulling the big chariot and come together to pay respect to St. Gnanapragasiyar.
After lunch, everyone went for a nap. Meanwhile, we all headed to swim in the streaming well with his cousin to relinquish the scorching sunny day. Not to mention, it was such a exciting experience to swim in the well. Two hours flew swiftly and we returned to pack our bags to board the train at 7 PM to Kovilpatti.
We bid adieu and took the blessings of St. Gnanapragasiyar for another fruitful year to celebrate with all families. Undoubtedly, it’s the perfect celebration of families!
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