Mangaluru: from and Udupi at the at in Kerala are believed to be .
Sources, who are in constant touch with the devotees at the centre, said all the 1,500 pilgrims stranded since Sunday morning were extricated from the campus in boats.
Power outage had dashed all hopes of establishing communication between those stranded and their family members.
One of the pilgrims, Rowen D’Souza, managed to walk 30km from the centre to the Thrissur bus stand, and fortunately found a bus to Kozhikode, which is a three-hour-drive, on Saturday afternoon.
Aster Pereira, her aunt, told TOI that they were able to exchange messages with Rowena, thanks to a power bank that she carried with her.
“Around 3pm on Saturday, her (Rowena’s) brother received a message saying she and a priest from Mangaluru had managed to walk to Thrissur and find a bus to Kochi. They are awaiting resumption of train services within a day or two,” Aster said.
Quoting Rowena, Aster said the Divine Retreat Centre, a Christian meditation and healing institution in Potta, was submerged up to the first floor, inundating their kitchen – where the centre cooks food for at least 5,000 devotees on a daily basis, as well as administrative offices and bringing down all electrical, phone and internet lines.
City-based priest Brother Oliver Mascarenhas, who until recently served as a preacher at the centre, said the pilgrims survived on bread and water for the last five days, as the kitchen was submerged and the Vincentian Catholic priests, who run the centre, had managed to use a helicopter to drop the food.
A spokesperson of Mangalore Diocese told STOI that they were in the process of getting an exact figure on the number of pilgrims from its diocese that were stranded in Kerala, and latest updates on them. “As of now, we do not have a number. There is no information on them as all communication lines have been snapped,” he said.
Brother Mascarenhas advised the family members of pilgrims stranded in Potta to establish with officials or staff at the bus stand and railway station in Thrissur, to learn the whereabouts of their relatives. “That is currently the best possible way to know the condition of the stranded pilgrims, as it has become pointless in trying to the retreat centre,” he said.
Meanwhile, messages are doing the rounds on social media that 200 people from Dakshina Kannada and Udupi have reached home safely.
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