Tamil nad / Pondicherry Articles

எங்கே போகிறோம்? (Weekly article by Mythili Chandrasekaran - Sketch courtesy Mrs. Nithya Balaji )

எங்கே போகிறோம்?அது நான் சிறுமியாய் இருந்த நாட்கள்.1960களில் தற்போதைய சென்னை எனப்படும் மதராஸ், கான்க்ரீட் ஜங்கிள் எனப் பெயர் பெறாத காலம். புது மாம்பலம் ( தியாகராய நகர் ) பகுதியில்,...

Rare exhibits(Weekly Article by Historian Pradeep Chakravarthy)

PRADEEP CHAKRAVARTHY A collection of unusual musical instruments vies for attention with the philately, numismatics, zoology and botany galleries. (This is the fifth and last article on the five-part series on the Government Museum, Chennai.) As part of the anthropology section, the Government Museum, Chennai, has several artefacts of South Indian tribes including the Todas, Chenchus, Lambadis and Gonds. The artefacts include garments, jewellery and weapons. A collection of rare musical...

Where creativity thrives

PRADEEP CHAKRAVARTHY One of the oldest institutions in the city, the Government College of Arts and Crafts is a treasure trove of books on art. It was founded in 1850 by Dr. Alexander Hunter, an eminent surgeon in the British military service, as a private institution and was called the Madras School of Arts. Hunter had a commercial motive as well — of selling artistic wares. By 1852, the Government had acquired the college and moved it from Popham’s Broadway to its present...

MADRAS, land of the LORDS

August marks the founding of Madras and is therefore an excellent opportunity to survey the temples of Madras. Although Madras was the creation of the British with Fort St. George at its centre, the individual villages it slowly subsumed have ancient histories and temples. The temples of Madras can be classified into three categories – ancient, Colonial and later additions. Temples in Mylapore, Tiruvallikeni (that has our city’s oldest inscription from the 9th century),...

Songs of a forgotten genius

O ne of India's few traditions that is still going strong is Carnatic music. It cannot be disputed that Carnatic music as we know it today, owes it to Thanjavur for its birth and Chennai for its current day sustenance. Since the16th century, Thanjavur was the place where the rules of this music were created. It is therefore only to be expected that the finest music was also created in one of India's grandest and most erudite courts. A worthy successor to the Nayak patronage of music was the...

Life beyond the vault

As travellers most of us are aware of the Pyramids of Egypt, the tombs of New Delhi and Agra. But what about the tombs of Tamil Nadu? Among the many monuments that don’t make it to the itinerary of tourists is the Kailasa Mahal or Raja Gori in Thanjavur. Even local guides have little knowledge about it. For those who would like to know of Thanjavur beyond the Brihadeeswara temple, the mausoleum complex of the Marathas are fascinating structures of brick and stucco that take one back in...

From a bygone era

The Brihadeeswara temple built by Raja Raja Chola (985-1014AD) in Thanjavur is one of world’s most famous monuments. Most people believe its claim to fame is its magnificent size and intricate craftsmanship. What is less known is the fact that the temple has the best preserved Chola period murals that date from the time of the construction of the temple. Hidden from view by Nayak paintings that were painted over them in the 17th century, the murals were discovered in the 1930s and since...

Encapsulating the beauty of Rajagopala

(Beginning this week, we travel to four outstanding temples in Tamil Nadu, which are immortalised in songs that are rendered in concerts even today.) Many songs have attained special status just for the way M.S. rendered them. Among the gems is the ‘Viribhoni’ varnam in Bhairavi by Pacchimiriam Adaiyappa. The varnam is a short piece with Muktayi swaram and several rounds of chittaiswarams that capture the essence of the raga. Deceptively simple, they were probably placed in the...

Rare kriti on a famous temple

  The kriti, being the main part of the concert, one is spoilt for choice especially among the compositions of the Trinity, who developed the kriti and kirtanai to a majestic form. Both have a Pallavi-Anupallavi-Charanam format. Dikshitar sometimes skipped the anupallavi and ended with a samashti charanam. (eg. kriti, ‘Sri Kantimatim,’ by Dikshitar, that ends with samashti charanam) Daru (e.g ‘Bhavayami’) is in a similar format but longer and more narrative in...