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Dodde Koppalu is a small village that is found on the Yelvela road that leads to K R Nagara. To the left hand side of the yelvela road is the Hunsur village and to the right hand side of the yelvela road is the K R Nagara village. Taking a right turn from the Dodde Koppalu village and going ahead will lead one to Dornahalli Church which comes forth after the village and an old grove. The twin towers of the church are found to be visible from a distance. This church is also known as St Anthony Church Mysore which lies at a distance of three kilometers from Dodde Koppalu. Dodde Koppalu is also known as Dornahalli or Christina Koppalu because there are only Christians found in this village.
The village named Dornahalli is very popular because of Saint Anthony who is also called the man of miracles. The story of Saint Anthony is as old as 200 years.
Dedicated to Saint Anthony
Saint Anthony was a man from Lisbon and he took birth on 15th August 1195 AD. The birth name of this saint was Ferdinande and his father ranked at the top position in the ton was called Martin Thebeo. Ferdinande converted into a monk when he entered St. Vincensi’s convent in Lisbon at a very young age. His relatives and friends visited him frequently while he stayed at the convent. In order to get rid of these visits, he got connected to Holy Cross Convent by his superior’s permission. This convent was very far away from his town and therefore his relatives and friends could not visit him at this convent. He also altered his name to Anthony. Later on, he went on pilgrimage and became a member of Franciscan Society. He became a Rhetoric expert and it is spoken that the fishes also listened to the charming oratory that he gave. It was a colleague who discovered light being illuminated from Anthony’s room one night and on peeping through the key hole, the colleague found that . There are many statues and portraits of Saint Anthony found with his prayer book and Infant Jesus sitting on the prayer book. Anthony breathed his last on 13th June 1231 AD at a place called Padua and on 30th May 1232 AD he was beatified a Saint by Pope Gregory IX.
Establishment of St Anthony Church Mysore
Anthony Church Mysore is located at a village named Dornahalli. The
church, in the yesteryears, was built by a farmer and another church in
its place came into existence in the 19th century. Another church came
into being in the year 1920 and the foundation of this particular church
was laid by Dharmaraja Chetty. At present, when a number of cracks
began to appear on the church, it was destroyed and a new church was
built that retains the original fascia.
The structure that is
found behind this church is present St Anthony Church Mysore. This
church was consecrated in a T shape cross on 13th June, 1969. After
renovation, the church possesses enough space and it has the ability to
shelter more than thousands of people. There is a very huge cross found
above the hallway at the obverse nave and just adjacent to this cross
are the towers that are very tall and possess cross on their tips. In
1964, Mon Signor I.H. Lobo was ordered to start the construction of the
church and the construction was concluded by Rev. R. Felix Thavro. A
very small portion of St. Anthony’s artifact is found in the church.
Recently, in the year 1977, a man called Mr. Chandappa Shetty took over
the initiative of building a structure at the palace where a temple was
built by a farmer earlier. On Tuesdays, special prayers are held at main
church and on 13th June every year, an annual feast is also held at the
Discovery of the Shrine at Dornahalli
Saint Anthony’s statue was discovered miraculously by a peasant while he was working in his field. It was a statue made of wood that the farmer got hold of and thinking it to be a doll or a toy for his kids; he took the statue home and handed it over to his children so that they could play with the statue. Traditionally it is said that the farmer dreamt one night that a friar had appeared in front of him and said that the statue that he came across in his field was not a mere doll but it was the statue of a catholic saint called Wonder-Worker and that the friar wanted to get a shrine in the honor of the saint and by doing this the farmer and also his family would be sanctified. The farmer did not pay attention to this dream and his children did not stop playing with the doll. Within a week, the bullocks of the farmer died and his children also expired. This brought great realization to the farmer about his negligence regarding the dream. He got up next morning at executed the work of constructing the shrine as early as possible. The shrine was erected by the farmer by taking the help of a priest who visited Mysore once every year. This priest recognized the statue to be that of Saint Anthony’s and this is how the shrine came into being. Immediately after the erection of the shrine, the farmer was bestowed with wealth and respect and therefore the shrine became a place of worship for the people living around. Thousands of people started visiting the shrine from far off places and soon a small village of Christians grew up very close o the location of the shrine. Later on, the open shrine was converted into a church in 1920 by Dharmaraja Chetty, the Dewan of Mysore.
Festivals Celebrated at St Anthony Church Mysore
The day 13th June is celebrated as an annual festival at St Anthony Church Mysore and people from all over the world gather in Dornahalli on this day. The people usually occur at the church for their attendance at the holy mass so that their vows are fulfilled. The village of Dornahalli and the villages in the neighborhood are full with pilgrims and the entire atmosphere is that of a grand fair. Various kinds of retreats like Tora-tora, games, magic shows, giant wheel and hotels are arranged for the people who visit the village. Silver replicas of the organs of human beings, flowers and candles are offered at St Anthony Church Mysore thanking God for bestowing favors in the world through Saint Anthony. Hair tonsuring and feeding the poor are also found to be done by the people as a gesture of grace received. There are people who also try to collect the shrine soil as blessings. A very colorful procession of cars is held during the evening where people sing about God’s glory, perform the prayer of Holy Rosary and also bestow praises for Saint Anthony. People also indulge in the act of splashing puffed rice, flower petals and crystal slat on the cars in the procession.
Facilities at St Anthony Church Mysore
In the past years, the facilities available at the church for its pilgrims were not enough but at present there are a lot of facilities available for the people who visit the church. There is an accommodation in the church that consists of twenty rooms with double beds and attached bathrooms and toilet. A canteen is also found within the church premises along with a hospital and a marriage hall for the localites.
Mass and Feast Timings
The holy mass is held regulalrly at 6.30 am and on Sundays the holy mass is held at 6.30 am and 10 am and then the adoration at 6.30 pm. Every Tuesday a mass is held at 6.30 am. Special prayers and Novena procession is held at 6.30 pm and this is for the pilgrims at the church.
Among the feasts celebrated at the church there is the flag hoisting that is done on 4th June, Novena that carries on from 4th June to 12th June and the anniversary of St Anthony Church Mysore on 13th June.
Location of the Church and How to Get There
Dornahalli lies at a distance of about 38 kilometers from Mysore-Hassan route for bus and 33 kilometers from the city of Mysore. From Bangalore, people can reach Dornahalli either by bus or rail because Bangalore is at a distance of 170 kilometers from Dornahalli. Bus and auto facility is available for the tourists from Mysore to Dornahalli.
People who look for miracles and have a firm belief in them should make it a point to visit St Anthony Church Mysore. The church is a piece of immense beauty and it also stands for the trust and the belief of the people in God and his Saint. The route facilities to the church were not very good previously but at present things have changed and people can easily visit the church in a comfortable manner. Apart from this, there are many other churches in Mysore, that tourists love to visit!