Relocating Sri Venu Gopala Swamy Temple
We have heard enough and more about the huge and magnificent Venu Gopala Swamy Temple that was submerged in the KRS backwaters and which used to make its appearance whenever there was drought and the KRS went dry.
It was last seen in the original location during the tenure of S. M. Krishna as the Chief Minister, which was also a period of drought and the KRS had gone dry, exposing its underbelly of slush, silt, muck and the ancient remains of the all - stone temple, that was submerged under the backwaters of KRS. Because the temple was built entirely with stone, it stood steady under the water for over seven decades without getting ravaged or dissolved.
As a result it was possible for a philanthropist and a pious person like Sri Hari Khoday to relocate the temple in its full original glory. The millionaire liquor baron and industrialist decided to re - locate the temple built entirely in stone and preserve it for posterity, after 74 years of its disappearance into the Kannambadi waters.
Sri Hari Khoday is the moving spirit (I do not know whether it is divine spirit or liquor spirit) behind this most expensive and difficult task of moving a temple bodily stone by stone, like what the United Nations did when Abu Simbel monuments at Lexus, Egypt got drowned, following the building of the Aswan Dam across the river Nile.
If what United Nations did was on a massive mind-boggling scale, creating history for such a gigantic task, here in our State, Sri Hari Khoday has done a similar feat, though on a smaller scale, costing apparently crores of rupees, every pie spent from his own pocket, I suppose or from the money he earned from the drunkards — I mean those who have a drink or two to elevate their spirits.
I had gone to see this temple a couple of years back, when it got exposed during the drought and wondered if it could be relocated at all.
But, when I went to see the work going on just before the present rainy season, I was in for a surprise. It was a feast to our eyes, a delight to the soul of those who are spiritually charged or divinely drunk. For a moment, I thought, without divine grace on the person or persons doing this kind of work, it is impossible to move forward.
During my visit three months ago, I saw the temple standing erect in all its granite glory, waiting to be completed with the remaining work, which may last for many more months. Surprisingly, there was a flickering light in the dark recesses of the Garbha Gudi, as if to keep alive the divine spirit of the deity, even as the work continues.
The view from the temple of the KRS reservoir and the dam is really heavenly, with greenery at the far ends, and the sheet of water shimmering in the golden rays of the setting sun, when I was there. Some of the pictures I took during the visit are published here.