As we wandered around near the bus stand, the distant sound of a bell reached my ears. I instantly started looking around to see where it came from. An old lady walking nearby seeing my puzzled face touched my arm and motioned towards the further ahead on the road. "Athu church lerundu varumma, poi paaru, atho anga irukku [ The sound is coming from the church nearby, go see it, it is just around the corner]". And true to her words, there it was, the beautiful structure standing tall amidst all the small roadside shops. The Rockfort Temple's tank was just across the road.
We had reached the Lady of Lourdes Church in Trichy. Apparently this Church of our Lady of Lourdes is an exact replica of the Basilica of Lourdes in southern France and is over 100 years old. The architecture, style, and craftsmanship is overwhelmingly beautiful.
The exterior is done up with intricate sculptures and the patterns are all so minute, it is amazing that people of those days had so much creativity and skill. As we entered the church, the sheer space had us going "Wow, to think we almost missed visiting here". The pews are all arranged neatly, and there were a few sitting in silence praying. As you look up, the stained glass panels depicting stories from the Bible are truly beautiful, and the sun's rays seem to add life to the people in the windows.
Photo of the sculptures on the exterior taken on Canon [film camera]
Near the alter, we noticed a long pedestal of sorts with flowers and little bundles, what looked like rolled up paper. One of the priests who was there told us it was prayers left by those who came to the church, and told us that we could also leave a note and be assured it will come true!
I did write a small note and when i was looking for something to tie it with, a woman who i spotted earlier praying gave me a piece of string, smiled and put her hand on my head "May Jesus be with you my child". I stood there smiling, almost sheepishly.
Photo of the full facade on Canon [film camera]
A hand on my shoulder jolted me back to reality. We then wandered the corridors of the Church before making a beeline for the exit.Just as we were putting on our shoes, A man approached us asking if we had 2mins to spare. Without pausing for a breath he went on about how he was very poor & unwell and needed money to go to the doctor. An elderly man who was just entering the Church shooed the man away and told us "he comes here everyday ma, is piss drunk and takes money from people saying he is unwell only to go get drunk once again".. "have you been inside the Church? where are you from?"...
We answered him and quickly walked across the road towards the Rockfort temple...