NadaHaram at Thiruvaiyaru
I believe its the 6th year in a row CARVA is making it to 'Saint Thyagarajar's Jeeva Samadhi' at Thiruvaiyaaru (every year during the 1st weekend of May, at the onset of agni natchatram :D this time) where during the aAradhana all the mavens of Carnatic Music pool in to express their gratitude to the saint. It was a double treat - we got to play music under the shelter of the saint's jeeva samadhi annnnd we had a mini summer vacation \:D/.
The main objective of the whole trip was to play in front of the saint himself (in whatever way we could). Quite honestly it ain't all that feasible to have the experience we had during the Aaradhanai that takes place in january.
The heat was totally on but that didn't dampen, NO didn't dry up the spirits of the people. The enthusiasm was high all through the two days amidst the scortching heat. It would have been much more easy on us had the cauvery been flowing, for all that was left was the sands of the river bed.
Post dusk on the 6th was the NadaHaram (garland of nAdam), being done for the 1st time at Thyagarajar's samadhi. About 40+ students sitting around the praharam, played "hare rama hare rama" in kAnada-kalyAni-dEsh in sequence for about 15 minutes, followed by an amruthavarshini piece and then recital of a virutham - "Jayathu Jayathu' in sanskrit. This was followed with singing by students of carnatic singing.
In my opinion, these kids nandu (just 5 years old) and deepu (proly 8 years old) were the best of the lot. The confidence with which they sung was astounding, maybe not immolate but definitely fraught with confidence. Don't be surprised if you see the tabaloids talking of 'Ashok Nagar Sisters' in a decade.
This short proram was a really great experience. And then we were sitting on the sands on the shores of the cauvery, right where the Aaradhanai is conducted. Oh yeah the kids were playing kabadi and more, with their own rules ;)).
The following morning (7th) was the main event. I was part of the junior group of about 15 students, to play basic krithis. I'd say it was quite an ordinary performance. Here is the list of songs we played -
- girirAja suthA (R: bangaaLa)
- thelisi raama (R: poornacandrikaa)
- ninuvinaa naamadi (R: navarasa kannaDa)
- ananda saagara (R: garuDadhvani)
- shara shara samaraika (R: kuntala varaaLi)
- rAmabhakti saamrajya (R: sudda bangaaLa)
- thuduku gala (R: gowLa)
- banTu reeti kOlu (R: hamsanaadam) ****
- sobillu sapthaswara (R: jaganmOhini)
- saamajavaragamanaa (R: hindOLam) - splendid percussion
- sseetha kalyAna (R: kurinji) ***** - amazingly pleasing rendition
- jO jO raama (R: reeti gowLa) - I almost went into sleep
The biggest attraction was the thanjavur temple. It is said that this gOpuram is built such that its shadow will not be seen on the ground #-o. The aAvadayaar (the pedestal on which a siva lingam is mounted) was close to 6 feet and the lingam was about 25 feet, the serpent taken into considerttion it would span upto 30-35 feet. Another speciality was of course the wall paintings, which depict stories of the ancient periods, unfortunately tarnished with peoples scribblings. More than it being a temple, it almost looked like a fort to me.
And finally the Panchanadeeswarar temple, the place surrounded by 5 branches of cauveri. Enroute to the temple u'll find thavil makers all the way. Yet another one of the massive temples of marvel in the thanjavur district by the cholas. Another interesting point to note is this particular spot in the temple where from you shout the word 'aiyAra' (on of lors shiva's name) and it would echo distinctly 7 times. Unfortunately its utsavam time (over a 10 day period), so not quiet enough to notice it well. The kids had a lot of fun once they started shouting :D.
Guess a full account is gonna take me over a week to write, but time is at premium so let me cut this down here :). Adios for now ...