Thursday, April 9, 2015

Time for music as agni nakshatram dawns

And now, it is time for music and dance at the Navaratri Mantapam at the temple. Post-panguni religious celebrations that take their toll on man and god, and as agni nakshatram breaks out in the city and peaks at summer time, music helps to unwind.

The concerts, by top ranking artistes are drawing large crowds. The top photo was taken at Sanjay Subramanyam's concert and the second one shows Vijay Siva in concert.

The concerts are on till April 17, every evening.

The Panguni tradition that Mylaporeans keep

Dozens of Mylaporeans keep a Panguni festival tradition to this day.
Providing food to guests and people who head to Sri Kapali temple in Mylapore.

At Balasubramaniam's residence, this year marked the 101st year of this Panguni tradition. This Mylaporean is 92 years old and his daughter Revathi made arrangements to feed 750 people on Arabathumoovar day. 
Helping them is caterer N. S. Anandan who lives down the road.
The elai sapad menu included badhusha, medhu pakoda and jav-arisi payasam. Also on each banana leaf was a two-rupee coin.
"In the old days we used to feed over one thousand people and left a one-rupee coin for our guests," said Revathi, resident of Chitrakulam North Street.

S. Jamuna's family also keep this tradition at festival time. This East Mada Street resident, now 65 invited about 80 youths who carry the vahanams from the temple around the mada streets to a  special lunch at her residence.
Joining her were sisters Indira and Padma and sister-in-law Kalpana and others - to make and distribute 11 kilos of kesari  and 60 litres of buttermilk on Arabathumovar day.
"This is a tradition we love to carry on," says Jamuna.

Down the same street are this trio - Gomathi Mangalam, Jaya Gomathinayagam and Rajendran - want to expand their 15-year-old tradition.
One afternoon is reserved for Sri Kapali Temple priests - a puja and elai sapad during penguin fest. 
For arbathumoovar day, the trio arrange to cook puliogare and sweet and ven-pongal which is served to devotees from 8 am to 8 pm.

The biggest service is provided by late flutist Narayana Iyer's family of Mathala Narayana Street, off the Mangolai junction.
The menu list is much like the one you would want at a big, fat wedding - sweet and ven-pongal, brinji, sambhar and tomato rice, vegetable biryani, idli and sambhar, mixture and sweets and bread -channa. Cooked in parts over the whole day, spaces on the street are used for storing, slicing and cooking.
'This is a 110-year old tradition that Narayana Iyer's wife began in a small way, " said one family member. "Funds keep flowing from February onwards."
Their estimate is that 25,000 people line up at their food window on this small street on Arbathumoovar day.

The food is great and available in plenty. People need to avoid waste and dispose the leftovers and plates properly. This would make the celebration wow.

- Info inputs by R. Saravanan.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Snapshots of the 'ther' event

Photos by Madhan, Saravanan, Vincent D' Souza.

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Day of the chariot; seen, heard and seen again

The sun was up, there was stillness in the air and sweat began to trickle down many foreheads of men and women, some 3000 of them who had gathered on East Mada Street to witness the roll of the ther on April 1 morning as part of the Panguni Fest of Sri Kapali Temple.

It took three big efforts to get the iron wheels of the chariot, heavily decorated and carrying the Lord of Mylapore moving. The crowd cheered, gasped, kept silent and then 'Kapali Kapali' rent the air - the chariot had moved out of the shed and in 5minutes rolled in front of the gate of BVB.

Many people quickly dispersed - this is a working day for many, As they scurried they bowed before the chariots of the Ambal, Singaravelar and Chandikeswar.
As sweaty bodies and khaki clad police found refuge or got into Karpagambal Mess for breakfast ( bill for two Rs.180 plus), Narikuravas and nomadic hawkers spread their wares - light pink lotuses fresh from suburban ponds, plastic mallipoo, Bombay bags and the staple beaded-chains.

East Mada Street fell quiet and the excitement grew on South Mada Street. Pandals opened and the first one began to serve sambhar and curd rice; hawkers were assured of food now. Elsewhere, volunteers offered thick buttermilk but people who gulped it dumped the plastic on the street leaving civic workers rot bend twice to clear the waste.
"Tell them to regulate the food dhanam, people waste food and dump it on the street, " said Lakshman Kumar and Suganthi who settled here after a Mumbai stay. They reside at Mundagakanni Amman Koil Street.

As the sun beat mercilessly and the sea breeze remained feeble, the chariot rolled past Sangeetha on South Mada Street and into R K Mutt Road.

It is expected to return to its space in Sannidhi Street by noon, even earlier since the crowds are thin. More people are expected to head to the temple zone after 4 p.m.
Mylapore's mada streets looked a bit like a village in celebration.
Elsewhere, the pandals for water, buttermilk and rice got going. On C V Raman Road, senior citizen 'Maiji' stepped out to launch the panda's service outside the residence of the Muthukrishnans.

Beyond Mylapore, there is as much celebration as there is around the temple zone.

Ther; set for the procession