AHMEDNAGAR, Sept 20: The annual yatra of Matmauli, marking birthday celebrations of Mother Mary, was celebrated with religious fervour at Haregaon in Shrirampur taluka on September 18 and 19. The celebration was attended by over three lakh of devotees from different parts of the state.
A mass celebrated by Bishop Thomas Bhalerao, head of Nashik diocese, on Saturday evening was the main event of the two-day yatra. Earlier, a statue of Blessed Virgin Mary and the holy sacrament were taken around in a procession in the village.
Before the mass, the congregation of the devotees observed a two-minute silence to pay homage to the soldiers who became martyrs during the Kargil operations and Fr Arule Das, a Roman Catholic priest, who was recently killed by miscreants in Orissa.
The celebrations began on Saturday morning with a prayer service conducted by Fr Michael Waghmare, local parish priest. The prayer service was attended by a large number of devotees from Shrirampur, Kendal, Newase, Ahmednagar and other nearby places had organised padyatras to attend the yatra. The dindis of the pilgrims had covered a long distance on foot, singing Bhajans and prayers.
The mass was followed by staging of a Marathi play, Kalchakra, and singing of bhajans by Bhajan Mandalis from different places. The religious celebrations concluded with a mass celebrated by Bishop Bhalerao at St Teresa Church on Sunday morning. Later, as per the tradition, a State-level kabbadi tournament was also held.
The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) had made special arrangements to cater to the devotees arriving at the pilgrim centre from different places. For the convenience of the pilgrims, a temporary depot was established at Haregaon from where people could directly travel to Ahmednagar and various other nearby towns without having to go bus depot at the taluka place of Shrirampur.
Copyright © 1999 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.