Ross Hill Shrine

Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, India


Konda Gudi
Visakhapatnam Andhra Pradesh, India


Sunday @ 8.00 am (Telugu)

Once a proud village of fisher folk and poor people now acquired civilization and incarnated as Visakhapatnam of the modern man. Man is not a simple. He has extraordinary powers and prowess. He can control the air. He can win over the skies. He can manage the time. He can keep the oceans at bay. The Creator has bestowed man with great powers. He creates civilizations, raises cities and establishes factories and industries. Nature cooperates most bountifully with the efforts of man. It is true also in the case of Visakhapatnam. Dolphin Nose Yaraada mountain supported the efforts of man in creating one of the beautiful cities on the East Coast. Visakhapatnam sings the sweets melodies of the Italian of the East, Telugu. It is the international welcome song from Andhrapradesh. It earned a bright spot on the world map for the dignity of human labour. It has been the home and training ground for many scientists, poets and writers. Sir C.V. Raman began his career here and Sri Sri, the doyen of modern Telugu literature hailed from here. Visakhapatnam is the heart of the lively north Andhra and the heart beat of the Visalandhra.

Since 1866, Visakhapuri Mary Matha Shrine, Ross Hill, is intertwined with the history of Visakhaptanam. There is divine atmosphere on this hill. It is recognized as a holy place by innumerable devotees for more than a century. Today it is regarded as the most popular pilgrim centre and the place of meeting the Divine by the people of the city irrespective of the caste or creed. Most of them, especially City Catholics call this Shrine as Kondagudi ( Church on the hill ). Parellel to the Light House on the Dolphine Nose hill, that guides the sailors safely, Visakhapuri Mary Matha Shrine on Ross Hill is the spiritual Light House that leads all the boats of human lives on this earth to the shores of Peace and Joy.

Parallel to the Dolphin Nose green mountain range, there is a small hillock. Between them a stream runs inside, rounding the hillock all the three sides and creating a natural harbour and many other industrial and defence opportunities. Mountains are abodes of God. They are the signs of his never ending steadfastness, majesty and greatness. This hill is made holy by the presence of three great religious places of worship and thus it stands out as a loud testimony of Visakhapatnam’s religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence of religious traditions. At the foot of the hillock is a Darga with the tomb of a saintly muslim devotee and a little away, divided from it by the port railway cutting, close to the stream, Sri Venkateswara Swami temple of the Hindu brethren, and on high, like the crown of the mount, stand two tall towers which may remind one of the feudal castles, if not for the cross raised between them, and a statue shaded by a colonnade is a Catholic Church, popular as Visakhapuri Mary Matha Shrine. In fact, in the past all the three places of worship shared the spaces on the one and the same hillock but in the pretext of the progress they are separated. Progress divides!?

The shrine of Visakhapuri Mary Matha is undoubtedly God’s own project and his own plan. It was the genuine need of the faithful. It developed naturally as the pointer of the way to God. For that matter, as the shrines have their origins in God’s plans, they grow naturally, slowly but steadily. Human efforts like the tower of Babel that represent human selfishness and greed, will not give birth to shrines that can facilitate the meeting between God and man. The holy shrine of Visakhapuri Mary Matha has a century and half long history. If we glimpse its annals, we can clearly see the Wish and Providence of God. Though it is the man who builds, the real builder is God himself. One can only slowly recognize the uniqueness, prominence and holiness of God’s work. This is really a work of his own hand. No doubt about it.