Indian architect has become famous as a “Mosque-Man” for designing several Mosque in India. With dozens of mosques, four churches and a temple to his credit, Govindan Gopalakrishnan, 85, is hardly your typical architect.
Instead, what has driven the octogenarian – popularly known as the “Mosque Man” – in his career spanning six decades is his love for “the oneness of humanity”, as he puts it.
The elderly builder, who keeps copies of Quran, Bible and the Hindu scripture Gita at his modest home in India’s southern city of Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, says he is a firm believer in religious harmony, reports Al-Jazeera.
“I observe roza (fast) during the holy month of Ramadan as well as the 41-day fast during the Sabarimala pilgrimage. My wife is a Christian, so I join her for the Easter fast as well,” he smiles toothily, referring to Jaya, his spouse of 60 years.
“One of my two sons is married to a Muslim lady. I welcome all religions to my home and give them equal respect.”
The self-taught builder’s career, he says, began soon after finishing school as he could not afford going to college due to financial hardships faced by his family.
Instead, he joined his father, a building contractor, as an apprentice.
Young Gopalakrishnan began by tracing the blueprints of buildings being constructed by his father in his notebook. He would then compare their details with the original structures, bombarding his father with questions on techniques, silhouettes and colour schemes.
Meanwhile, he also struck up a friendship with LA Saldana, an Anglo-Indian draughtsman of repute in the 1960s, who taught him the basics of sketching and drawing.