December 24, 2017

Sri Govindu Naicker Bhajanai Koodam

In Madras, there were many Bhajanai Koodams (a.k.a. Bhajanai Kovils) where the Bhajan sessions were conducted regularly till the 1960s. Some Bhajan temples even had theses regular sessions till 1970s. These temples were not typical temples that have the sanctum enshrining the presiding deity, sub-shrines, sculptures and other regular features. They were meant for conducting the Bhajans and hence they would have one hall with few images/paintings of deities such as Ram or Krishna. The bhajans would be conducted infront of those pictures in the hall. There are few exceptions where the idols of Krishna-Radha-Rukmini are found along with the paintings.

The tradition of bhajans being conducted in these temples are almost lost in Madras. Even not all those old temples still exist. Some exist in the outskirts of South Chennai and few in North Chennai areas. Two such Bhajanai temples are found in George Town locality. One Bhajanai temple was converted into a proper Ram temple in the 20th century itself. There is another Bhajanai temple which still survives, but is not known even to the localities nowadays. This article focuses on that particular Bhajanai temple.

Sri Govindu Naicker Ramar Bhajanai Koodam is the name of this small Bhajan hall. It is located in Mint Street near the Thatha Muthiappan Street junction. The temple is surrounded by small garden. The compound is enclosed by high walls and the grille gate is always found locked.

Arneri Govindu Naicker, who served as a Dubash for Parry & Co., appointed the Pachaiyappa Trust to take care of his estate. He directed the trustees that the income from his estate should be devoted to the maintenance of certain educational and religious endownments. The Trustees have been taking care of these charities. In 1865 CE, out of this trust funds, a separate Primary School was opened, which still continues to function. This Bhajanai Koodam was also one of those religious endownments which was entrusted to the Pachaiyappa's Trust.

Happy travelling.

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