Gopalapuram, Chennai

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Coordinates: 13°03′01″N 80°15′22″E / 13.050341°N 80.256114°E / 13.050341; 80.256114

Gopalapuram is a prime residential and commercial locality in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.

Location[edit]

The geographical coordinates of Gopalapuram is 13° 2' 50" North and 80° 15' 28" East. Nungambakkam, Royapettah, Mylapore, Teynampet are neighboring localities. It is located one kilometer east of Nungambakkam. Chennai International Airport is 17 km south-west of Gopalapuram. Chennai Central Railway Station is 3 km north-east. It is located in between Dr. Radhakrishnan Salai and Anna Salai

Avvai Shanmugam Road passes through Gopalapuram. To the north of that road, the area is called North Gopalapuram and to the south, the area is called South Gopalapuram. Gopalapuram comes under Chennai Central Lok Sabha constituency.

Temple[edit]

Chaturbhuja Venugopala of Gopalapuram

There is an 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. In front of the main sanctum sanctorum, a family is performing a puja. 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. I fancy I hear the strains of a flute. The Sree Venugopalaswamy temple on Gopalapuram Second Street in Chennai is over 70 years old. The temple looks as though it was constructed only recently. Perhaps the youth of the main deity is reflected in the ambience?

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. The story of how this temple came to be is awe-inspiring. Hearing it from an elderly devotee gives one goose pimples. Seventy-three years ago, the residents of the locality began calling the place Gopalapuram. Strangely enough, at that point of time there was no temple of Lord Venugopala there. The residents built a small 5 ft x 5 ft garbha griha in the present location. But no idol was installed, as the residents wanted a strone vigraha of Venugopala.

One of the Vaishnavites of the locality went to Kanchipuram to get an idol of the lord made. In Kanchi he was informed that only Panchaloha idols were being cast. The devotee then went to Swamimalai and there too there was no stone idol. The devotee then went to see an old friend in a village near Kumbakonam. There the friend informed him of the unearthing of a stone vigraha of Sree Venugopalaswamy with Chaturbhuja. It seems the village which had been bereft of rains was blessed with the installation of this idol and enjoyed plenty and prosperity (subhiksha). An 83-year-old Brahmin was worshipping this idol and it was his dream to find a good temple to house his Lord. Each passing day made him fear that he would not be able to find a suitable temple and that he would pass on before accomplishing the task. He prayed everyday that he should die only after finding an abode for Venugopala. It was Divine Will that found the perfect match of a devotee seeking a vigraha for an existing garbha griha and another devotee seeking a garbha griha for his powerful and beneficent idol.

The idol, officially[by whom?] dated as over 1,000 years old[citation needed], was brought by the villagers to Chennai. They personally inspected the area and the people who were to manage the temple. Only when they were satisfied did they agree to the installation of the idol. Government permission had to be sought as it was such an ancient one. The vigraha of Venugopala in black granite is 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. Especially to children says the devotee "Mukil", as he is known. In the front area of the sanctum sanctorum are the vigrahas of Rama, Sita, Lakshmana and Anjaneya. Alongside Rama is Subramanya with Valli and Deivanai. At the extreme right facing south is Adi Sankara. Vinayaka is right at the portal facing east. At the main entrance is a shrine with the marble idol of Kamakshi, given to the temple by the Shankaracharya of Kanchi. Shi Chandrasekarendra Saraswathy stayed one full night under the peepul tree in the backyard of the temple. He ordered the installation of a Vinayaka idol under the tree, says the temple secretary, Sri Narasimhan. "Maha Periyaval also advised us to do abhishekam of milk to Ambal and Anjaneya as often as possible as they are in a state of ugram," he says.

In the same shrine as Ambal, to her right, is Ekambareswara in linga roopam. There are also shrines to Ayyappa with 18 steps in miniature and the Navagrahas. On Sunday July 16, being Guru Poornima, celebrations were held and a number of devotees witnessed Vyasa Puja in the backyard of the temple. The pujas are done by Vedikas and the Vishnu Sahasranama archana is performed daily. The temple, managed by the Gopalapuram Hindu Religious Society, is open from 6 a m to 10 a m and 5 p m to 9 p m. Every year Krishna Jayanthi is celebrated for a month in a grand manner. This year the festivities begin on August 3 and conclude on September 3. They include music concerts and other programmes. The temple is the venue for religious and spiritual activities throughout the year.

Educational institutions[edit]

Gopalapuram has many schools which are considered to be the best in Chennai. The educational institution in Gopalapuram include:

  1. DAV Girls Senior Secondary School
  2. DAV Boys Senior Secondary School
  3. National Public School
  4. Church Park Convent
  5. Sarada School
  6. Gopalapuram Boys Higher Secondary School
  7. Ganapathy Girls Higher Secondary School
  8. Stella Maris College (Chennai)
  9. ICFAI Business School

Other Important Places[edit]

THEYA SOLARSS 9/2,Fourth Street, Gopalapuram, Chennai-86

Talisman A Tattoo Boutique, No3, 4th Street, South Gopalapuram, Chennai - 86

Diplomatic Missions[edit]

  1. US Consulate

Hotels & Restaurants[edit]

  1. Charminar Restaurant Hyderabadi Biryani
  2. Sheraton Chola
  3. Hotel Maris
  4. Copper Chimney
  5. The Bayleaf
  6. Gangotree
  7. Hotel Saravana Bhavan
  8. Hot Breads
  9. Baskin Robbins
  10. Cafe Coffee Day
  11. Cafe Amethyst
  12. Mcrennett
  13. Snofield
  14. Palki
  15. Amaravati
  16. Subway-220,darshan apartments,lloyds road,gopalapuram,chennai-86

Theaters[edit]

  1. Satyam Cinemas

The locality is famous for its huge playground and gym. The former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, M. Karunanidhi resides in this locality. Union minister Dayanidhi Maran too used to reside in this locality. Noted Tamil movie director P. Vasu also used to reside in this locality.Tamil film actor M. N. Nambiar also was a resident of Gopalapuram until his death 19 November 2008.

Other Institutions

Khadi Gramodyog Bhavan