Tuesday, December 30, 2014
At the northwestern corner of Ekambareswarar Agraharam stands this building, smaller than any of its neighbours. Continuing the contrast, it also appears to be the only building on the street that remains in its original form. In a locality where space is at a premium, with all buildings along a line sharing common walls, it is quite surprising that a building remains stagnant across generations.
And this one has seen a few generations. Constructed in 1932, it was never meant to be a regular residence. Or commercial space. Called 'Govardhana Bhavan', it was built by the Gocooladoss Jumnadoss Charities as a kind of multi-purpose facility. The Charities was established by one of the early Gujarati settlers in Madras, Gocooladoss Jumnadoss (different spellings of his name exist, with fewer 'o's and a 'k' as well).
Govardhana Bhavan opens up as you get inside. It has rooms for travellers to stay in, a large kitchen, multiple dining spaces and separate quarters for ladies. It must have functioned as a choultry or guest house earlier; I was told that it is used to conduct weddings and get togethers also, these days!