Sri Gopalakrishna Temple, Amaravathy

Sri Gopalakrishna Temple, Amaravathy

Konkanis, who migrated from Goa in the 16th and 17th centuries fearing the ‘mass conversion policy’ of the Portuguese government in Goa, settled in the Fort Kochi and Mattancherry areas. There are sub-castes among Konkanis, and this division is mainly based on their occupations. One of them is sonar or thattan, who were traditionally goldsmiths. The word sonar has evolved from another word sona which means gold. They are also known as Daivajna Brahmins. Shri Gopalakrishna Temple in Amaravathy near Mattancherry belongs to the Sonar community.

Shri Gopalakrishna Temple is one of the oldest Konkani temples in Kerala and is believed to be almost 300 years old. Lord Krishna is the main deity in the temple. It is believed that Krishna at this temple is very fond of children. Children, irrespective of caste and creed, are offered sumptuous lunch in the temple on Sundays. The belief is that the idol of Gopalakrishna or Lord Krishna with the cow, was brought to Kochi from Goa by the ancestors of Sonars when they left Goa centuries ago. The Sonar community is small, consisting of about 100 people. About 30 families live near Shri Gopalakrishna Temple. The street near the temple was once called Thattatheruvu, which means street of the goldsmiths. This community had introduced their traditional jewellery in Kochi. With the rise of modern technology in jewellery making, traditional goldsmiths however have lost prominence in the market, leaving only a few in the trade at present.

The temple is built in the Kerala style of architecture. It has a beautiful, well-maintained pond. Apart from Lord Krishna, Ganapathy, and Lord Venkateshwara, the  Nava-Grihas, and Nagas are also worshipped here. Jaggery is considered to be the favourite offering to the deity here. Followers also offer money for annadanam, which translates to ‘an offering of food’.  

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On the run from Goa, finding a home in Kochi