March 26, 2003 

Inspiration for the day

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Gopalakrishnan, Thiruvananthapuram

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He is a Hindu, his wife is a Christian and his talent is in designing mosques.  Gopalakrishnan, Thiruvananthapuram has so far designed 65 mosques in Kerala and Tamil Nadu and this includes the massive Beemapalli Juma Masjid at Thiruvananthapuram.  Besides, he has designed a few churches and also a temple. 

It was the renovation work of the mosque at Palayam that set the course of his career.  When the work was completed in 1964 it was unlike the existing mosques of Kerala at that time.  The closed roof, tall minars and the dome appealed to the Muslim brethren of Kerala who wanted similar ones in their locality. And for that he was always willing.

As a child, he loved to sketch models of buildings. Though he joined AMIE, lack of money put an end to his academic pursuits.  When his father Govindan bagged the contract to renovate Palayam mosque, Gopalakrishnan assisted him.  It was then that the Chief Engineer of Kerala encouraged him to take up architecture as a career.

Another noteworthy work of his is the renovation of the Vavar mosque of Sabarimala to accommodate the increased flow of Ayyappa devotees.

“My design was questioned when I used lotus in Beemapalli.  How can lotus be a part of any religion?  Lotus is something noble and beautiful.  It is our national flower.  By designing lotus petals I was sincerely expressing my reverence to it”, he says.

“It is my conviction that all religions in essence are the same and meant for betterment and spiritual guidance.  My wife is a Christian.  We have 3 children and they are given the freedom to pursue the religion of their choice,” he adds.

A mosque designed by Gopalakrishnan 




Courtesy: Uma Maheswari.S (text), P.K.Gopinath (photo), New Indian Express, March 8, 2003

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