Infant Jesus Grotto at Simeria Tekri and the Growth of Devotion

Simeria Tekri is a small hillock situated five km away from Dabra, a small town on the North – South Golden Corridor. It is around 40 km away from Gwalior and 65 km away from Jhansi. The Late Bishop Most Rev. Dr. Frederick D’Souza had a desire to start a Catholic Mission in this area between Jhansi and Gwalior. A plot of land was purchased in 1993 by Rev. Fr. Frederick Mendonca . He also built a priest’s residence with a Chapel. He also started a school here. Meanwhile the diocese of Jhansi was bifurcated and a new diocese of Gwalior came into existence. Since Fr. Frederick Mendonca had opted for Jhansi diocese, he was called back to Jhansi. Rev. Fr. Lawrence D’Souza was appointed as the Priest- In charge of Dabra Mission.

The major portion of land was mostly covered with the hills which had to be broken to level the land. The leveling work was given to Mr. Harendrapal Singh Chauhan. There were huge stones left over. Mr. Chauhan suggested Rev. Fr. Lawrence to make use of these stones to make a grotto. Thus a grotto came in to existence. The Grotto remained empty without statue for six months. As Rev. Fr. Lawrence was contemplating to install a statue of Our Lady of Veilankanni, Mrs Teresa Rosalin Jacob of Jhansi expressed her desire to install Infant Jesus because nowhere else in the vicinity was any place of devotion to Infant Jesus. She donated Rs. 5000.00 for the statue but a statue of exact size could not be available anywhere around. The anxious priest in- charge contacted a certain supplier of holy articles in Chennai through Rev. Fr. V.J. Thomas, who was the procurator of St. Jude’s Shrine at that time. The supplier went to Veilankanni to procure a statue and brought it to Jhansi and delivered to Rev. Fr. V.J. Thomas on 8th February 2002 just two days before the blessing. He charged only Rs. 2000.00 inclusive of all expenses. Rev. Fr. Lawrence was extremely happy as he saw God’s hand at work in those events.

The Infant Jesus Grotto was blessed and dedicated at 10 a.m. on 10th February 2002. A solemn Eucharistic celebration was presided over by Most Rev. Dr. Joseph Kaithathara, Bishop of Gwalior. The faithful from Dabra, Tekanpur and Bhitrawar participated in the Holy Eucharist and the Blessing. Mr. Harendrapal Singh Chauhan and family, Mrs. T.R. Jacob with her daughters Yvonne and Mewis Barbara, Mr. Tinnu Agarwal and his family and Mrs. Bhavana Shivhare with her daughter Gauri were present on the occasion.

Thursday was set apart for the devotion to Infant Jesus. Meanwhile Mr. Anuranjan Soren, his wife Sangeeta and children arrived Dabra. They were regular devotees of of Infant Jesus. Gradually one could witness the school children, teachers and others kneeling and praying at the grotto. The following year Mr. Chauhan, now an ardent devotee of Infant Jesus requested the Priest In charge to celebrate the feast and to invite all the Catholics of Gwalior and Jhansi. He offered to provide meals for the devotees. Mr. Anuranjan Soren also extended his helping hand. To the surprise of everyone, a large number of people from various Mission Stations and Parishes of Gwalior and Jhansi dioceses arrived for the feast and participated in the Holy Mass, procession and Novena prayers. Late Bishop Most Rev. Dr. Frederick D’Souza presided over the liturgical celebration. Since then the feast of Infant Jesus was celebrated on the second Sunday of Febrauary.

How to reach Infant Jesus Shrine,Dabra

Coming by Train : from Delhi route,alight in Gwalior and get a bus to Dabra and get down at Simeriya Tekri.
From Jhansi route, alight in Jhansi get a bus to Dabra and get down at Simeriya Tekri.
Some tranins stop in Dabra Railway Station, in that case alight in Dabra and get a E rickshaw to Simeriya Tekri.

Simeriya Tekri is situated 40KM from Gwalior towards South and 5KM from Dabra towards Gwalior.

Pilgrim quarters are available.