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Lord Venu Gopala of Thotlavalluru, Andhra Pradesh

Govinda Dasu

Nestled amongst the green fields north of Vijayawada, along the banks of a canal carrying the water from the Krishna river, in the village of Thotla Valluru, is a beautiful small temple of Lord Venu Gopala Swamy. Apparently the temple was established by the followers of the great Vishnavite Saint Ramanjuacharya, who helped revive Hinduism in India, several hundred years ago. The remarkably well maintained gopuram leads one to the lovely temple. Inside, the dark Venu Gopala idol is decorated with an exquisitely engraved brass arch depicting two of his consorts, Rukmani and Satyabhama. On the right of the Lord is the sanctum of His heavenly consort Sri Devi, and on His left resides His earthly consort Goda Devi. Inscribed in the wall of Sri Devi’s sanctum, Anjaneya respectfully and adoringly watches over his Lord’s consort.

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Outside in the courtyard is a room with Venu Gopala’s vahanas. The beautifully carved brass  Anjaneya and Garuda vahanas, artfully painted enhancing features such as eyes and beak, rival those at Tirumala. The unique ashta-nari vahanam at Thotla Valluru depicts brightly colored women figurines vying to support their favorite Lord Venu Gopala.

This Venu Gopala temple culture is an apt example of the madhura bhakti marga evolving from the dwaita philosophy of Ramanuja. Indeed the mythical characters depicted in the temple remain representative of the lives of hindus making pilgrimages to Thotla Valluru over the years. Apparently the vishnavite jeers hailing from Ramanuja sect still visit annually for grand temple festivities. Howe
ver,  gone are much of the rich land holdings of the temple, usurped by local landlords. Apparently, those landlords are so abhorred that their families are no longer welcome in the temple. Unfortunately, gone or the throngs who visited this temple in the past as well. And, most noticeably totally gone are the devadasi’s who adoringly sang and danced for the Lord.

A little over a century ago my grand-father’s great-grand-father Mahakavi Dasu Sriramulu must have been enthralled by the temple and its culture, and beholden by the Lord Venu Gopala himself to pen his beautiful padams in his honor. Apparently he was sitting in this temple courtyard while writing the lyrics like valachiti rA ninnu, which we heard set to durbAru rAgam on the way to the temple. Perhaps, iddari pondElara in jhinjhUti rAgam is referring to Rukmani and Satyabhama. Although the culture of devadasi’s remains alien, this visit to Thotla Valluru temple provided us some context, if not clarity, for the adoring devotion of those women folk to the dark Lord Venu Gopala.

The temple is currently maintained immaculately by Mr. Panchangam Appanna Kumar, using the income from the remaining land holdings and occasional visitors like us. I strongly recommend a visit to Thotla Valluru to all my extended family on their next trip to Vijayawada area. Perhaps, someone amongst you will take good pictures and videos making a virtual visit possible. Mr. Kumar said that he will be bringing out a book on the heritage of this small old temple. Let’s contribute what we can to sustain this illustrious heritage.

 

Govinda Dasu Top Bhajan Picks

ShivaRudrastakam | Namami Samisaan Nirvan Rupam

 

Jai Ganesh Jai Ganesh Deva – जय गणेश जय गणेश देवा – Ganeshji Ki Aarti

 

ACHYUTAM KESHAVAM KRISHNA DAMODARAM | VERY BEAUTIFUL SONG – POPULAR KRISHNA BHAJAN ( FULL SONG )

 

Maili Chadar Odhke Kaise Dwar Tumhare Aaoon Hariom Sharan [Full Song] I Premanjali Pushpanjali

 

Maiya mori Mai nahi makhan khayo – soordas bhajan

Govinda Dasu Top Hindi Wedding Picks

Samjhawan Lyric – Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania | Varun, Alia Bhatt

Roke Na Ruke Naina (Full Audio Song) | Arijit Singh | Varun, Alia | “Badrinath Ki Dulhania”

Jane Kyun Log [Full Song] Dil Chahta Hai

Crook – Emraan Hashmi, Neha Sharma | Mere Bina Video

The Humma Song – OK Jaanu | Shraddha Kapoor | Aditya Roy Kapur | A.R. Rahman, Badshah, Tanishk

Chori Kiya Re Jiya Dabangg HD 1080p BluRay Video song

Salaam-E-Ishq (Full Song) Film – Salaam-E-Ishq

‘JALTE DIYE’ Full VIDEO song | PREM RATAN DHAN PAYO | Salman Khan, Sonam Kapoor | T-Series

“Jhak Maar Ke Full Song Desi Boyz” | Deepika Padukone | John Abraham

Sajan Tumse Pyar (Full Song) | Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya | Salmaan Khan

Dupatta Tera Nau Rang Da (Full Song) Film – Partner | Salman Khan, Govinda, Katrina, Lara Dutta

Iski Uski FULL Video Song | 2 States | Arjun Kapoor, Alia Bhatt

Maiyya Yashoda – Alka Yagnik Hit Songs – Anuradha Paudwal Songs

Jhalla Wallah – Full Song | Ishaqzaade | Arjun Kapoor | Parineeti Chopra | Shreya Ghoshal

Jashne Bahara – Jodhaa Akbar (w/ English sub) HQ

Tere Mast Mast Do Nain (HD) – Dabangg – Eng Sub

Poetry by Govinda Dasu’s great^3 grandfather

A versatile poet and writer of more than thirty three books on different subjects, Dasu Sreeramulu was born in Andhrapradesh. Even as a teenager, he wrote ‘Satrajiti Vilasamu – yakshaganam’, and also performed ‘Avadhanams’ in both Telugu and Samskrit.

Though a lawyer by profession, he evinced great interest in literature, music, and dance. Eminent Kuchipudi artists of his time, Vempati Kodanda Ramaiah and Tadepalli Vissayya, used to take scholarly advice from Sreeramulu. By 1887, he composed many krutis, padams, and javalis, particularly on Venugopalaswamy of Totla Valluru. Devadasis like Chadalavada Pitchai, Rajaratnam, and Pinapala Bhavani were helped by him with suitable lyrics and compositions. He also founded a famous music school at Eluru. He is the author of ‘Abhinaya Darpanam’ a good treatise on music and dance.

Sreeramulu’s speeches in literary conferences used to be spiced with musical rendering of poems and songs. His magnum opus is ‘Sri Devi Bhagawatham’ a popular ‘parayana grantham’ in temples even today. This memoir is only one aspect of his multi-faceted personality.

Mudra (indentity): Dasu Rama

Govinda Prasad Dasu

This information is taken from the Dasu family website but it may be very useful:

ధార్వాడ,గోల్కొండ,వరంగల్,బందరు,నూజివీడు,చరిత్ర తెలిసినంతవరకు అనగా 1560-1600 ఏ .డి నాటికి అక్బరు కాలంలో వీరు మహారాష్ట్ర దేశంలోని ధార్వాడ నగర వాస్తవ్యులు.

These details about Govinda Prasad Dasu are different from Govinda Rao Dasu and Govinda Dasu himself. The number of Govinda’s in the Dasu family is large.

About the family of Govinda Dasu

The genealogy of Dasu family can be traced back to 1650 with Mr,Raghunath Rao as the earliest known member of this family hailing from Dharwad now in Karnataka state of India. At that time it was in Maharashtra and he appeared to have been an army officer. His successor Mr. Haridas Gangoji is understood to have lived in Hyderabad . He is known to have been a Hari Bhakta and a Haridas from whence the Dasu name appeared to have been adopted. The next descendent Mr. Raghunayakulu came to the coastal port town Maachilipatnam along with a Portuguese delegation work and settled down there. His successor was Mr. Gangaraju appeared to have gone to aplace called Nuziveedu in Andhra Pradesh as a Dandapathi.

Mr.Gangaraju had three sons, Janakiramayya, Sunderaramayya and Venkatramayya. Little is known about Janakiramayya and Venkatramayya’s descendents. However Sunderaramayya had a son Mr. Gangaraju (II) who was married to Mrs Chennamma who lived in Machilipatnam during 1750 /1760 working for East India company while it was being set up there. The progeny continued through his three sons Mr Akkiraju, Raghunayakulu and Brahmayya. Through their joint efforts they acquired large landed properties in various villages in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh. Mr. Akkiraju did the benevolent act of consecrating the temple of Lord Somalingeswara in Alluru village. Mr Raghunayakulu married Mrs Atchmma He worked as Diwan (Chief Advisor) for a local Zamindar at a place known as Guraja in Andhra pradesh.

The lineage of the present generations of Dasu family members is connected to Mr. Gangaraju(II) through his son Mr.Brahmayya and grandson Krishnayya. The illustrious member of Dasu family Mr.Sreeramulu(I) is the grandson of Mr.Krishnayya through his son Mr. Kannayya. As can be seen from the genealogical tables there is a division of the lineage branches during 1700 and little is known of the family members and descendents of Mr.Akkiraju and Mr.Raghunayakulu as of today.

We are now trying to preserve and maintain genealogical details to the extent that are available and could be collected. The data beginning from Sri Raghunatha rao till Dasu Sreeramulu garu was based upon the compilation made by Late Sri Dasu Vishnurao (I) . It is our earnest wish and hope that all Dasu family members who are now well spread out all over the world can use this as a media of tracking relationship and origin to one another.

Govinda Rao Dasu

This is my grandfather’s brother.

ధార్వాడ,గోల్కొండ,వరంగల్,బందరు,నూజివీడు,చరిత్ర తెలిసినంతవరకు అనగా 1560-1600 ఏ .డి నాటికి అక్బరు కాలంలో వీరు మహారాష్ట్ర దేశంలోని ధార్వాడ నగర వాస్తవ్యులు.

He was an important lawyer Hyderabad. He was married to a doctor.