Angamaly’s Spiritual Abode

Angamaly is one of the three closest towns to the Cochin (Nedumbassery) International Airport, and among the three, it is also the easiest to get to – the other two being Aluva (Alwaye) and Perumbavoor. There is the railway station and the ease to go to the airport that has powered this town more along with the presence of the National Highway running through its heart. The connection from Kanyakumari to Salem thus goes through here. The town is also known to have been a big centre of Christianity long before the foreigners arrived in India.

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There is no shortage of religious places in Angamaly. It is also close enough to other four towns, Kalady (the birthplace of Adi Shankaracharya), Malayattoor (where Saint Thomas the Apostle had prayed), North Paravur (where the same Apostle had established one of the seven and half churches) and Chalakudi (known for its closeness to the most popular waterfalls in the state, Athirappilly along with Vazhachal and its close relative, Ezhaattumugham). Kodungallur, the place where Christianity began in India, and where the oldest mosque in India is situated, is not that far away either; you can also check out for Kodungallur Bhagavathy Temple there.

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My usual visit to this town is to watch movies at Carnival Cinemas as it is the easiest to reach considering all multiplexes, but lets shift the focus to another place which I have been visiting very often – St. George Catholic Basilica, one of the biggest church buildings in India, renovated from the old church which was established in A.D 450. It is a structure that becomes a symbol and reiterates the memory of an ancient civilization that thrived here under the local rulers who have been supporting, there was that mutually beneficial relationship with respect and honour, unlike what we have these days with mutual conversions.

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The Basilica is an extremely beautiful structure, whichever way you look at it. The place is reached by taking a left while travelling from Aluva to Angamaly, just before reaching the town. It is only of walking distance from the National Highway and bus stop. If you come by car, there is a lot of parking space on the front side of the church. Take some time to look around, especially at the dome and the two towers and enjoy the beauty. There is a traditional lamp with a cross in the front and the nicely designed front doors made of wood, or in case it is not a busy time, through one of the side doors which are always open during the day.

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Along with realizing that there is a lot of space in the church building and spending some time looking at the big chandelier, your eyes will surely get caught on the glass paintings on both sides which reflects on the floor when the sunlight flashes through – one of the reasons why it is the best to visit the church when sun is working nicely at full power. It is like another world coming to life inside the building (like history comes alive in Night at the Museum, spirituality awakens in here), with the beauty of the glasses creating a kaleidoscopic image on the church floor, making the colours combine.

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The images include the creation of world, the fall of mankind, the tale of Cain and Abel, Abraham’s big sacrifice, the arc of Noah, the dream of Jacob, Joseph being sold by his brothers, the burning bush, the receiving of Ten Commandments, Daniel saved from the lion, David’s victory over Goliath, birth of Jesus Christ, baptism by Saint John, return of the prodigal son, transfiguration of Christ, the calming of the sea, the crucifixion of our Lord, The risen Son of God, the Coming of Holy Spirit and many other things that come between them, along with the other things of spiritual significance, like the Lamb of God.

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The thirteen stations of the Cross come between them, hung on the wall. There are small pillars around, and once you reach the front, you have to look at the beautiful altar which is nicely organized and arranged. It is different, and you can see that from the photo itself. The old church which was made the Perpetual Adoration Centre is also open at all times for worship on the side, and it is also a nicely decorated structure inside. If you visit Kerala, especially the Central area of the state, do have a look at this beautiful church. I am wondering how awesome it would be to get married in this church 😀

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*All photos used in this blog post were taken by me on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310 and Nokia N95. The last photo is from the inside of Perpetutal Adoration Centre. Here is a link to the church website: http://www.angamalybasilica.com/

TeNy

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Strongest of Memories

This is something that I thought I should share on another day which would be considered more as the day of bigger relevance, but I don’t see any reason why I should delay this. To be frank, I think that I should have posted this one a long time ago. The one below is a poem which I had written on the demise of Jean Mathew, one of the earliest elderly brother figures I ever had; and to think more about it, I can’t remember any other. We had lost him to brain tumour on the third of March 2013.

He should be the most hardworking person I have ever known. Even at the worst of times, he was known for his faith, belief and hope, with a courage to face whatever comes next. He was active at http://jeanmathew.blogspot.in/ and http://photoshealingwords.blogspot.in/ during the toughest of times. The poem below has been shared before in his memories collected in a book form, but never online, and so I thought I would share this here too. This is no In Memoriam, ThyrsisAdonais or Lycidas, but just what I could come up with at that time. May be I can come up with something better on another day.

The memories go back to the 1990s
It was to Malampuzha that our first big trip
Happened like never before, with bliss
And I stood there with Jean chettan in front of
A structure which was India’s map in grass
And there was our first photo taken together.

One of our earliest photos, scanned from the old collection

One of our earliest photos, scanned from the old collection of memories.

And just in a few years, during that sojourn
At Palai, among the first few computer games
Which I ever knew, one of them named Paperboy
Along with some random Tetris and Racing stuff
And then at Vagamon, still one of our best photos
With the wind, Jean chettan and myself.

And that is not everything about photos though
As he captured the best moments of the world
Freezing time and space for us all to behold
And each snap by Jean chettan brought thoughts
With Bible verses gracefully attached to them
Those lambent snaps added further sunshine.

Cropped from his photo collections with inspirational Bible Versions.

Cropped from his photo collections with inspirational Bible Versions.

I still remember how much of hardwork
Jean chettan put into everything he did
And whenever I see any photo of those
Which were fallen autumn leaves or that
Which fell from the sky as pure white snow
I feel the radiance of what he captured.

Even as I shall never be able to show the same
Undisputed courage and strength in adversity
Or be that much hardworking as Jean chettan ever
His self-evident faith and optimism has done
A lot and has given strength to more than one soul
And left me further vivified in my own beliefs.

TeNy