CHENNAI: One among the numerous temples that dot the George Town area in Chennai is the Venugopala Krishnasvami temple on Pavazhakaran Street (Coral Merchant Street) in Muthialpettai. This medium-sized temple is one of the few in Chennai which has Krishna as the main deity in the principal sanctum.

The presiding deity, Venugopala (Krishna), made of stone is in a standing posture, with legs crossed and has four arms. The upper hands hold the sankha (conch) and chakra (discus) while the lower hands hold the fl ute (venu).

This image is unusual as Venugopala is usually seen only with two hands playing on the fl ute, whereas in this temple, he is seen holding the conch and discus as well. Another unusual feature of this deity is that Krishna does not keep the fl ute close to his lips but holds it with only two fi ngers of each hand. The fi ngers do not cover the holes of the fl ute as Venugopala is not playing on it.

It is as though the deity is ready to play, but not actually blowing on the musical instrument. Flanking the main image are his consorts, Rukmini and Satyabhama. Incidentally goddess Rukmini is also enshrined in a separate sanctum in the temple enclosure. The processional image (utsava-murti) of this temple is a standing Vishnu with four arms, fl anked by consorts Sri Devi and Bhu Devi and worshipped as Kannan. There is a fi ve-storeyed gopuram at the entrance to the temple.