Bengaluru: Gushing well-spring turns pilgrims’ rendezvous at Mariapura

By Naveen Mitra

Bengaluru, May 24: One of the locales for christian devotees to spend a day in Mariapura. The village is studded with spiritual landmarks, which include the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Our Lady’s Shrine (Maria Bhavan), the open theatre (Mahime Hill), The world’s tallest statue of St Anthony, The statue of the Founder Fr Philip Sigeon, and so on. Likewise, 'Jaladeva Mathe Gudi' is a Marian shrine in Mariapura, a destination that welcomes and beckons to pilgrims from all over Bengaluru.

For centuries, the Blessed Mother Mary has been associated with holy wells and healing water. Marian healing wells can be found all over the world; her shrines are more likely to appear in locations such as hills, villages, streams, rivers, etc. 'Jaladeva Mathe Gudi', or 'the well of the mother of God', is one such beautiful pilgrim centre located at the site of Mariapura in south Bengaluru. It is a place of worship and prayer formany devotees who believe in the healing powers of the water.

Previously, there was a small well here, and at the centre of the well, the miraculous statue of Our Lady was placed. Citizens of the village have been seeking her refuge here for almost four generations, and they refer to her as the queen of the village, the one who protects the villagers, heals illnesses, unites farmers, provides food, and guards their cattle.

There is a beautiful story behind this pilgrim centre and the place where it stands today. Fr Philip Sigeon, the founder of Mariapura, had a companion called C Mariyappa, who was the first sacristan of the church in Mariapura. His younger brother, C Chinnappa, is the founder and donor of this place. In 1947, the then parish priest, Fr J D Pinto, along with Chinnappa, had a plan to dig a well for agricultural purposes. After exploring the area, Fr J D Pinto marked the location of the well. Then he prayed and blessed the land, seeking the intercession of the blessed virgin, before starting to dig the well. But as they started to dig, water gushed out at half knee height. Many gathered to recite the rosary as the water appeared; this surprised the priest and the neighbours. Hence, they lowered the statue of mother Mary and fell to their knees in awe.

The following day, every resident of the village was aware of the situation, and word of it had spread to every neighbourhood. It appears a large crowd had gathered to witness the gushing water. The parish priest then instructed the villagers to construct a shrine here and to consecrate the place in honour of Mary. So, they created a well, and the entire village gathered, and constructed a shrine and piled stones around the well.

This took place on August 15, 1947, the day that India attained Independence, which was also the feast of the Assumption of our Blessed Mother. The people of Mariapura were actively involved in the freedom struggle. On that day, the cry of the freedom movement in the town sounded like a trumpet blast of victory. In the same month of August, there was a custom of holding an eight-day novena (or Octave) of the Queenship of Mary in the village. The Octave and Rosary Prayers were performed from August 15 to 22, 1947. At the climax of the celebration, the Jaladeva Mathe Gudi was inaugurated on the feast of the Queenship of Mary on August 22, 1947. Fr J D Pinto offered the Holy Mass and inaugurated the well. All the devotees who had gathered on that day and the people of the town, dressed in white khadi, bowed down at the shrine. Fr J D Pinto named this place 'Jaladeva Mathe Gudi', or 'the well of the mother of God'.

The founder C Chinnappa, had rendered extensive service to the church during those days. On July 1947, He had constructed the circle in honour of Mother Mary in Harobele. Today the circle remains in front of the church as a great monument at Harobele. In his memory, the people of Harobele have engraved Chinnappa’s name on a stone near the shrine of 'Circle Devamate' to commemorate his contribution to the church. After a few years, Chinnappa moved to Bengaluru from Mariapura, where he got land for farming and lived with his family. It is said that his family members are based near Kammanahalli even today. In recognition of his social service and civic concern, Chinnappa Garden in Bengaluru is named after him.

The Well of the mother of God in Mariapura has been the site of numerous miracles; drinking the water here has healed sick people. During the drought, the town’s residents have survived by drinking the water from this source. The water of Jaladeva Mathe has been known to heal skin diseases and protect from pandemics. Many people claim that married couples who do not have children are blessed with children after visiting this place. The concept that Mother Mary will grant requests persists among the locals, even after all these years. The legacy of Jaladeva Mathe Gudi as a place of divine intervention and spiritual solace lives on, inspiring generations to come to seek comfort and guidance in the presence of the sacred well. In addition, the locals commemorate Jaldevmate’s memory on the first Saturday of each month.

The MEP missionary Fr Philip Sigeon is the one who envisioned the village of Mariapura as it stands today. His successors as Parish Priest have also dedicated their lives to Mariapura. One among those remarkable individuals is Fr A Thomas, a renowned priest of the archdiocese of Bengaluru who has served for 18 years as parish priest at Mariapura. He has worked for rural development and has provided Mariapura with numerous services. Due to his enormous accomplishments, Mariapura has gained national recognition as for its sound and light event which takes place during the lenten season (biblical plays), and has also attained international acclaim by hosting the world’s tallest statue of St Anthony. This year, as Fr Thomas celebrates the Golden Jubilee of his Priesthood, he has collaborated with the Jaladeva Mathe committee members to reconstruct the Jaladeva Mathe edifice. The reconstruction of Jaldeva Mathe Gudi will be a lasting tribute to his legacy and impact on the community.

On this auspicious occasion, Fr A Thomas has taken the lead to construct a 40-foot-tall statue of Mother Mary at this shrine. This large statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary is the brainchild of Simon, a Christian artisan and craftsman resident at Silvepura, Bengaluru. Dr Peter Machado, the archbishop of Bengaluru will be blessing and inaugurating the renovated shrine with a solemn mass on May 25. The unveiling of the new Jaldeva Mathe will be a momentous occasion, bringing together the entire community to celebrate Fr Thomas’s remarkable legacy and honour the Blessed Virgin Mary.

In such a serene atmosphere, Mother Mary, as Jaladeva Mathe, stands in Mariapura amidst the green meadows as the guardian of the village, constantly watching over her children. It is true that whoever goes to the gushing fountain has not returned empty-handed. The life-giving water from Mother Mary’s well erases pain and brings happiness to everyone.





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Title: Bengaluru: Gushing well-spring turns pilgrims’ rendezvous at Mariapura

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