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Monday, July 2, 2012

Golden Vimana for Gopalapuram Sri Venugopala Swamy Temple

There are many famous Temples inside the city of Chennai - some prominent because of them dating back to ancient times, some significant as sung by Azhwars / Nayanmars, some famous due to the visit of famous Kings, some constructed by Kings ………

The Radhakrishnan Salai / Cathedral Road has strategic importance as on its one side is situated the house of the present CM at Poes Garden  and on the other, that of  previous CM at Gopalapuram. 

At Gopalapuram is the famous – ‘Chaturbhuja Venugopala Swamy Temple’.  Wikipedia describes it be ornate wooden door reminiscent of temples of yore. There is an aesthetically painted gopuram that looks as though the last coat was given just the previous day. Inside is a cool prakaram(outer courtyard) with devotees sitting on stone slabs, quietly conversing or reading slokas. There is space at the back of the temple covered by the branches of trees. In the centre is the alluring Venugopala, the young manifestation of Lord Krishna.

It is not very ancient but is more than 8 decades old – it is at Gopalapuram Second Street.

Venugopala, which translates to the flute-playing cowherd, has four arms. The flute is held in two, while the other two hold the Conch and the Discus. This is a very unusual feature in the iconography of Krishna as it is usually Lord Vishnu who is described as having four arms. "Chathurbhujam" is a feature that is repeated time and again in the Vishnu Sahasranamam.  It is stated that though this place is known as Gopalapuram, there was no temple of Lord Krishna, one of the devotees who went in search of Vigraha, went to Kanchipuram, then to Swamimalai, then to Kumbakonam where a Brahmin worshipping the idol stated of his desire to find a place for housing the Lord. It was a divine will that made the perfect match for the Lord to the Temple at Gopalapuram.  The idol, is reportedly very very old – it is the vigraha of Venugopala in black granite about 3 feet tall and has a cow frisking behind him. The Lord, seen playing on his divine flute the symphony of life itself, faces East. He is a chinmaya and a granter of boons. The temple is the venue for religious and spiritual activities throughout the year.

Closer to the temple is the house of ex-CM Mu Karunanidhi, a pronounced non-believer..

This temple is to get ‘Golden Vimana’ – Consercration is on Thursday, 5th July 2012. 

Reproduced here is the article that has appeared in The New Indpress of date :  Author: Express News Service
•        Published Date: Jul 2, 2012

Rs 1.5-crore gold used at 83-year-old
Gopalapuram Venugopalaswamy temple

The Sri Venugopalaswamy temple in Gopalapuram, constructed eight decades ago, is all set for kumbabishekham (consecration) on July 5. And the speciality is that this temple will be the first in Chennai district to have a golden vimana.  The 83-year-old temple, established in 1929, has been completely renovated with the contributions of the devotees and Rs 25 lakh has been earmarked for performing consecration. Kumbabishekam was performed to this temple ten years ago on June 5, 2002.

The committee members of the temple told City Express that gold worth Rs 1.5 crore has been used for making the vimana. They said the officials of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department had told them that Sri Venugopalaswamy temple would be the first temple in Chennai district to have golden vimana.
The Thiruverkadu Karumariamman temple has a golden vimana but it falls under Tiruvallur district.

The renovation works which include refurbishment of the entire temple with new granite flooring and new vimanas for all the deities are in their final stages and the special pujas for consecration will commence from July 1 with Sankalpa Pooja.  Rituals which would follow in the coming days would be Ganapathy Homam and first and second Kala pujas (July 2), third and fourth Kala pujas (July 3), fifth and sixth Kala pujas (July 4) and seventh Kala puja and maha kumbabishekham (July 5).

The temple committee has made elaborate arrangements for the consecration. Annadanam will be done for devotees from July 1 till July 5.

The holy idol of the presiding deity, Lord Venugopalaswamy was unearthed in 1917 near a Shiva Temple in Thiruthuraipoondi village in Tiruvarur taluk. This idol was then brought to Gopalapuram, with the government’s permission and was consecrated at its present location in 1929. The speciality of this temple is that the lord Venugopala Swamy is resplendent with a cow behind him and Chathur Bhujams (four shoulders) – two hands playing the flute producing the Venu Gaanam and two hands blessing the devotees with Shanku and Chakram.

This temple is not devoted to any particular sect of Hinduism. In fact, holy idols of many deities are in place – Vinayagar, Murugan with Valli and Deivayanai, Ramar with Seetha, Lakshman and Hanuman, Aadhi Sankaracharya - all housed in the main Prakaaram. Separate sannidhanams are there for Kamakshi Amman & Ekambareswarar – with Dhakshinamurthy and Durgai, Ayyappan, Navagrahas, and Aanjaneyar. At the back of the temple is a Peepul tree and an Arasamara Pillayar.

The major celebration at the temple is Janmashtami, when the temple attracts a huge crowd in the evening, and is open till midnight to witness the birth of Lord Krishna. The other major celebration at the temple is the Marghazhi festival during the full Tamil month of Marghazhi. The lord is beautifully decorated throughout the month in his various incarnations.

Many acharyas, including Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Swamigal, Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal and Sri Vijayendra Saraswathi Swamigal of Kanchi Mutt have visited this temple in the past.

The Kamakshi Amman  idol made of marble was offered by Sri Chandrasekarendra Saraswathi. Sri Jagathguru Badari Shankarachariar Swamigal of Sakatapuram had visited the temple several times.

Copyright © 2012 The New Indian Express. All rights reserved.