After a two-year pandemic pause, Goans embark on pilgrimage to Vailankanni

The first batch of pilgrims, around 80 to be precise, set on the pilgrimage on Thursday evening.

THE GOAN NETWORKUpdated: Friday, August 26, 2022, 02:00 PM IST
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Pilgrims heading to Vailankanni | The Goan Network

After a two-year break due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Goans are back on their annual pilgrimage to Vailankanni in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.

The first batch of pilgrims, around 80 to be precise, set on the pilgrimage on the Mangala Express ahead of the Novenas scheduled at the month end, which will take them to Kerala, before they change the train and take the new train heading to Vailankanni.

The pilgrims, mostly from the Aquem-Baixo and Rawanfond area, boarded the train at the Margao railway station on Thursday evening. They were all anxious to travel together to the pilgrim centre to offer their prayers as well as thanksgiving since this is the first time they will make it to the Novenas of Our Lady of Vailankani after a two-year break.

“We have been looking for this day since the last two years when the prevailing COVID situation brought running of all long distance trains to a halt and the pilgrim centre restricted to the pilgrims,” informed newly-elected Aquem-Baixio panch member Inacio Dias.

He added, “Many pilgrims must have made it to Vailankanni individually in the last few months, but this is the first time in two years that the pilgrims are heading to the pilgrim centre to participate in the Novenas and the feast of Our Lady on September 8.”

Dias pointed out that pilgrims have started the pilgrimage from Thursday, adding that hundreds of pilgrims are set to travel by rail and road to participate in the traditional Madi on August 9 followed by the Novenas.

While the direct trains to Vailankanni from Vasco depart every Monday, the government has made arrangements for special trains to ferry thousands of pilgrims from Goa to Vailankanni in the next 10 days.

Meanwhile, Rajya Sabha MP Luizinho Faleiro has said that Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnav has informed him of the decision to sanction additional special trains during the annual Vailankanni Festival at Vailankanni, Tamil Nadu in addition to the existing train services from Vasco da Gama, Goa to Vailankanni weekly every Monday.

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