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Monday, October 26, 2015

Sri Krishna Temple at Pavazhakkaran Street, Muthialpet, George Town [Madras]

I remember worshipping at this Temple a couple of decades ago, when a young U.Ve.  MA Venkatakrishnan Swami delivered a kalakshepam.  Understand that Sri Velukkudi Varadachar Swami [father of Sri Velukkudi Krishnan Swami] lived nearer and regularly delivered many kalakshepams here.

The history of Chennai, is far older than British settlements, yet British have a big place in its history.  The black town area came to be known as George Town from 1911 in honour of  King George V when he was crowned,  the Emperor of India.  The Western part of George Town is the Muthialpet area, traversed by couple of  roads running from Madras High Court to Clive Battery, nearer Royapuram Railway.   On the Thambu Chetty Street stands a 375 year old Sri Kalikambal Temple.  This post is on Sri Venugopala Temple [ Sri Krishna Temple ] at Pavalakkaran Street.

It was once the place where diamond and coral trade flourished.  The Jews imported corals, both in the form of beads and in rough. The place in Muthialpet where they lived was known as Pagadalpet [Coral-town] dating back to 1700s.   A book titled – ‘The English Gentleman Merchant at Work: Madras and the City of London 1660-1740’by Soren Mentz, mentions that the financial crisis affecting the English market even ruined some of the private merchants in Madras, through respondentias, as they suffered financial losses when the Captains were declared bankrupt.  After a voyage to Madras in 1721, Captain Martin was declared bankrupt and private merchants like John Adams lost their investment.

Here is an interesting mention found  in ‘Vestiges of Old Madras’ by HD Love – the Jews were chiefly engaged in diamond trade – they operated partly on their own and partly in conjunction with Hebrew traders of London, who exported Coral and in Madras, a street came to be known as Coral Merchant Street.  A single ship called Lynn carried out £ 4000 worth of silver and  £ 2000 worth of coral consigned by 5 firms.  

In the Pavazhakkaran Street [Coral Merchant Street], Muthialpet, Chennai – is an old temple [some claim it to be more than 8 centuries old] dedicated to Lord Krishna.  This beautiful temple follows Thennacharya sampradhayam.  The moolavar is  Sri Venugopala Kannan, standing beautifully with flute in hand, with legs crossed in typical posture alongwith consorts Rukmini and Sathyabhama.   There are also sannadhis for Sri Rama and Sri Andal. 

 Informed elders state that centuries ago, Thirumazhisai Azhwar stayed here [was it the idol of Thirumazhisaippiran taken away from his sthalam during invasion !] – and even today during Sarrumurai – vazhi thirunamam of Sri Bakthisarar is recited daily. 

Had the fortune of worshipping at this holy temple on Sunday, 25th Oct 2015.  In the evening there was ‘Thiru Pavithrothsavam ‘ being performed.  There was recitation of Thiruvaimozhi 8m pathu and "nedumarkadimai seiveyen pol" sarrumurai.   Here are some photos of the Temple and of Perumal [Uthsavar]

Adiyen Srinivasa dhasan.


  1. very interestingly written ~history of Pavazhakkaran + significance of the Temple. Thirumazhisaippiran is believed to have been here, at Sri Parthasarathi temple and thence at Mylai Sri Adhikesavaperumal temple for a few years ... Adiyen dhasan

  2. I lived in coral merchant street 1954 to 1964 in my Chitthi and Chitthappa's house. During Margazhi month I have seen bhajan procession move from one end of coral merchant street to this temple. Children and elders join the group. Procession stop and move at each house. The musical sound will bring many to the street. Housholders ladies and children give rice to the bhajan party and do namaskaram and pradakshanam.Bhajan leader mama will put few akshadai in our tumbler/plate.The procession ended in the temple where pooja was done and a very tasty hot pongal given to all as prasadam.

    1. Hmmm... Just got to see this interesting post.

      The leader mama you referred in the above post is my Mama Thatha called as Chintamani Iyengar. I was brought up in that street between my age 5 till 18 in 70s and 80s. Nostalgic memories indeed.

      Upanyasam by Shri Velukkudi Varadachariyar was a prominent event and experience to all of us in this temple.