Thyagaraja Aradhana is an annual aradhana (a Sanskrit term meaning act of glorifying God or a person) of Telugu saint composer Tyagaraja. The music festival is observed in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka[2][3] and Tamil Nadu, primarily in Tiruvaiyaru in Thanjavur district of Tamilnadu, the place where Tyagaraja attained Jeeva Samadhi.[4][5] The aradhana is observed on Pushya Bahula Panchami day when the saint attained Jeeva samadhi, where the musicians render the saint's Pancharatna Kritis.[6][7]

Thyagaraja Aradhana
The idol of Thyagaraja in his temple in Tiruvaiyaru
GenreCarnatic music
DatesJanuary / February
Location(s)Thiruvaiyaru in Tamil Nadu and Tirupati and Kakarla in Andhra Pradesh[1]
Years active1846–present
Sri Thyagaraja Swamy samadhi Temple in Tiruvaiyaru
Granite plate outside of Sri Thyagaraja Swamy samadhi Temple in Thiruvaiyaru

History edit

The aradhana (Ceremony of Adoration) is held every year on the anniversary of the demise of the saint. This is on Pushya Bahula Panchami day (the fifth day of the waning moon in the Hindu lunar month of Pushya). The Aradhana is conducted by the Sri Thyagabrahma Mahotsava Sabha and is held in the precincts of the samadhi (memorial) of the saint located at Thiruvaiyaru village, Thanjavur district, Tamil Nadu, India.[8]

The Aradhana in its present format is not even a hundred years old. Thyagaraja died in 1847. A few days before his death, he had formally renounced everything and become a sanyasi. When he passed on, his mortal remains were buried on the banks of the river Kaveri and a small memorial was built at the site. His disciples returned to their respective villages and observed his death anniversary at their own homes. The memorial soon fell into neglect and had become quite dilapidated by 1903, when two of the last surviving students to have been taught by Tyagaraja happened to make a nostalgic visit to the site. These were the elderly and eminent musicians Umayalpuram Krishna Bhagavatar and Sundara Bhagavatar. They were dismayed by the neglect and dilapidation; indeed, they had to search for the memorial in the wild foliage of the riverbank. They arranged for the renovation of the samadhi and decided to commemorate the tithi or death anniversary of their guru every year at the Samadhi itself.

From the following year, efforts were made by musical stalwarts to observe the death anniversary regularly at Thiruvayyaru, and to use the occasion as an opportunity for his followers to converge and interact with each other. In 1905, a lavish ceremony, complete with feeding of the poor and worship at the memorial as per Vedic tenets, was celebrated. While Umayalpuram Krishna Bhagavatar and Sundara Bhagavatar were the moving force behind the renovations and celebrations, the brothers Thillaisthanam Narasimha Bhagavatar and Thillaisthanam Panju Bhagavatar were the main financiers and organizers. By the following year, the brothers had fallen out with each other. From 1906 onwards, each began conducting a parallel Aradhana. Various musicians also began aligned themselves with one or the other brother and two rival factions came into being. The group (and the aradhana celebration) conducted by Narasimha Bhagavatar came to be called the Periya Katchi ("senior party," since he was the elder) and that of Panju Bhat became known as the Chinna Katchi. With the passing of the Tillaisthanam brothers, the Periya Katchi came under the control of the ace violinist Malaikottai Govindasami Pillai, and the Chinna Katchi under that of Soolamangalam Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar, the noted Harikatha exponent. Gradually, a convention emerged whereby the Chinna Katchi's celebrations began five days before the Aradhana and concluded on the Aradhana day, while the Periya Katchi's celebration began on Aradhana day and continued for four days after that. Both groups organised music performances and feeding of the poor and so the public was the real beneficiary during the nine days. On one point, both groups were united. They did not allow women to perform during the Aradhana. In those days, the only women who sang or danced in public were the devadasi or temple performers. Another point in common between the two groups was that they did not permit nadaswaram performances.

Bangalore Nagarathnamma was precisely such a temple performer, and one of the most famous professional concert artistes of her era. Nagarathnamma, who was then residing in Madras, was an ardent devotee of Thyagaraja and an aficionado of his music. Indeed, the soulful rendition of his kritis had been the mainstay of her career throughout her life, and she considered that she owed her considerable wealth to his grace. In 1921, the aged and childless lady decided to dedicate her life's earnings to preserving Thyagaraja's legacy and perpetuating his memory. In 1925, she began the construction of a temple enclosing the memorial. According to some sources, she purchased the land on which the grave stood, whereas according to other sources, that land was panchayat riverside land (village common land), and her construction was illegal, but tolerated by local residents due to its pious intentions. Nagarathnamma also had an idol of Tyagaraja sculpted and installed in front of the memorial. The consecration of the temple took place in early 1926. The two rival groups, while not interfering with all this, refused to let Nagarathnamma perform her music, or even Harikatha, within the temple which she herself had had constructed. They cited several instances from Thyagaraja's songs where he had complained about women in general.

Undeterred, Nagarathnammal began a third front which conducted its own music programs at the rear of the shrine. This third event featured many women artistes, and perhaps for that very reason, it began eating into the public popularity of the events hosted by the two Katchis. The doughty lady also filed suits in the local courts demanding the prevention of the Katchis from entering the temple, claiming that it belonged to her by right. She lost the case, but the hours of worship were laid down by the courts, dividing the Aradhana day equally between the two Katchis and her own group.

Matters continued this way till 1940, when SY Krishnaswami, ICS, convinced the groups to unite and it was in 1941 that the Aradhana as we know it was first conducted. Harikesanallur Muthiah Bhagavatar selected the five pancharatnas as being best suited for group rendering, so that a common homage by all musicians became possible. This idea was adopted and the choral rendition of the five songs was made an integral feature of the Aradhana. Before 1941, the three separate events had all been in the nature of music festivals, with no restriction regarding which of Thyagaraja's songs could be performed. It was only in 1941, when the three events were merged into one, that the convention of group singing of the five pancharatna kritis was decided upon.

Bangalore Nagarathnammal spent the rest of her days in Thiruvayyaru and bequeathed all her wealth to the Thyagaraja memorial, with the stipulation that women be allowed to pay their homage without any hindrance. When she died in 1952, she was buried close to Thyagaraja's memorial and a statue was erected on the spot. The statue directly gazes on Thyagaraja's memorial.

A huge complex is now under construction at Thiruvaiyaru at this site to accommodate the large audience that come to the concert in ever-increasing numbers every year.

Annual aradhana festival at Thiruvaiyaru edit

2023 - 176th aradhana festival - 06 to 11 January 2023.[9] Annual aradhana festival organised by Sri Thyagabrahma Mahotsava Sabha commenced at Thiruvaiyaru on Sunday 6 January 2023. Telangana Governor and Puducherry Lt Governor Tamilisai Soundarajan Inaugurated the festival. President of the Sabha, G.K. Vasan, deliverd the inaugural speech.[10] Ranjani Gayatri, S. Sowmya, A. Kanyakumari, Embar S Kannan, Sikkil Gurucharan, Srimushnam V Raja Rao, U Rajesh, Pantula Rama, Jayanthi Kumaresh, Priyadarshini, Binni Krishnakumar, Sudha Raghunathan and others performed solo concert.[11] New Carnatic kriti 'Sri Ramachandram Bhajami' sung by Priyadarshini in new raga 'Sri Tyagaraja' [12] created and music composed by Mahesh Mahadev named after Saint Sri Thyagaraja was released on 10 January 2023 at Tyagaraja Samadi.[13] [14] Tamil Nadu Governor R N Ravi[15][16] was present in the major event of the festival of rendering Pancharathna Kritis by musicians which was conducted on 11 January 2023 [17][11][18]

2022 - 175th aradhana festival

2021 - 174th aradhana festival

2020 - 173rd aradhana festival

2019 - 172nd aradhana festival

2018 - 171st aradhana festival

2017 - 170th aradhana festival

2016 – 169th aradhana festival – 24 to 28 January 2016.[19] This year annual aradhana festival organised by Sri Thyagabrahma Mahotsava Sabha commenced at Thiruvaiyaru on Sunday 24 January 2016. Inaugurating the festival, ‘Nalli’ Kuppuswami Chetti, president of Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, paid rich tributes to Bangalore Nagarathnamma Ammal who was instrumental in setting up the ‘adhishtanam’ for Sadguru Tyagabrahmmam. Collector N. Subbaiyan said music played a crucial role in promoting universal peace and harmony. G. Rangasamy Moopanar, president of the Sabha, and G.K. Vasan, chairman of the trust, spoke.[20]

2015 – 168th aradhana festival – 6 to 10 January 2015.[21] The inauguration of the festival at Thiruvaiyaru was inaugurated on 6 January 2015 by Justice V. Ramasubramanian, Madras High Court judge, by lighting lamp. Sri Thyagabrahma Mahotsava Sabha chairman G.K. Vasan and sabha president G. Rangasamy Moopanar accompanied him[22]

Performance on the 168th aradhana Festival at Thiruvaiyaru in 2015

2014 – 167th aradhana festival [23]

2013 – 166th aradhana festival – 27 to 31 January 2013.[24]

2012 – 165th aradhana festival.[25][26]

2011 – 164th aradhana festival.[27]

Festivals celebrated globally edit

United States edit

In the United States, the Cleveland Thyagaraja Festival is held in Cleveland, Ohio every year around Easter.[28] Hundreds of Carnatic musicians preside over, and perform in the festival.

Mauritius edit

In the small pearl of the Indian Ocean, Mauritius Island, Thyagaraja Aradhana is celebrated with great devotion by the Vyasha Dhalia Ashram.[citation needed] Abhishekam is done for Shri Rama in the morning and followed by the Kritis of Tyagaraja Swami accompanied by instruments such as mridangam, morsing, ghatam, khanjira, veena, violin and the flute.

Nigeria edit

In Lagos, Nigeria, from the year 2007 every February, Thyagaraja Aradhana is being celebrated devotionally by Chinmaya Mission.[citation needed] Children trained by experienced Gurus along with music instruments rendering sampradaya kirthanas of the compositions of Saint Tyagaraja in this function.

United Kingdom edit

In the United Kingdom there are various aradhanes. Thyagaraja Aradhana Festival UK - Londonil Thiruvaiyaru is organised and run by a committee in conjunction with Sri Duraiswamy music school run by Sri.Durai Balasubramanian, who was a former lecturer at Tamil Nadu Government music college. Many students from all over London perform Tygaraja krithis. The 8th aradhane took place on the 23.2.20. Artists Sriram Ganghadharan, Sri.R. Suryaprakash and Sri Rithvik Raja accompanied many senior artists of the UK.

France edit

Paris Thyagaraja Aradhana

Annually, in the month of May, "Paris Thyagaraja Aradhana", a global event, is organized by Indian Conservatory of Paris ([1]), in the heart of Paris, France. It attracts Carnatic musicians, artists, connoisseurs and music lovers from across the globe, across various nationalities, backgrounds and ethnicities to sing the compositions of Saint Tyagaraja. It is important to note that this event has received High Patronage from the Embassy of India in France, consecutively for last several years.

ICParis([2]) founded by Vid. Smt. Bhavana Pradyumna (here) and Sri. Pradyumna Kandadai works to strengthen cultural ties between India and France. With the main objective to promote Unity while celebrating diversity, ICParis has created multiple platforms through concert, performances, classes and workshops through esteemed artists and legends in Indian classical music, dance, scriptures and Yoga

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Tirupati: Aradhana Mahotsavam of Sri Thyagaraja held". The New Indian Express. 4 January 2016. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  2. ^ "Ritual Tyagaraja aradhana in Bengaluru this year". Deccan Herald. 10 January 2020. Retrieved 20 February 2023.
  3. ^ Ashraf, Fathima. "300 artists to pay homage to Thyagaraja at this music festival". The Times of India. ISSN 0971-8257. Retrieved 20 February 2023.
  4. ^ "Saint Thyagaraja temple, Thiruvaiyaru". Retrieved 20 February 2023.
  5. ^ "Renovated house of St. Thyagaraja to be inaugurated shortly". The Hindu. 19 May 2010. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 20 February 2023.
  6. ^ Friday Review (6 January 2006). "Tiruvaiyaru gears up - CHEN". The Hindu. Retrieved 22 November 2019.
  7. ^ Pillai, S. Subramania (2019). Tourism in Tamil Nadu: Growth and Development. MJP Publisher. p. 14. ISBN 978-81-8094-432-1.
  8. ^ "Saint Thyagarajar :: Thyagaraja Aradhana Festival". Archived from the original on 25 January 2009. Retrieved 2 March 2009.
  9. ^ "Welcome To Thiruvaiyaru Thyagaraja Aradhana". Retrieved 19 January 2023.
  10. ^ "இசையின் இசைவில் திருவையாறு பஞ்சரதன் கீர்த்தனை". ETV Bharat News (in Tamil). Retrieved 19 January 2023.
  11. ^ a b "திருவையாறு தியாகராஜர் ஆராதனை விழா: ஆயிரக்கணக்கான கலைஞர்கள் இசையஞ்சலி". Dinamalar (in Tamil). 11 January 2023. Retrieved 19 January 2023.
  12. ^ "Sri Tyagaraja - a new creation". Retrieved 16 February 2023.
  13. ^ Pinto, Arun (19 January 2023). "Sri Tyagaraja - a New Raga in Carnatic Music by Mahesh Mahadev". News Karnataka. Retrieved 19 January 2023.
  14. ^ "SamyukthaKarnataka ePaper". 25 January 2023. Archived from the original on 25 January 2023. Retrieved 16 February 2023.
  16. ^ Bureau, The Hindu (11 January 2023). "'Thamizhagam' contributed to the spread of Sanatana culture to the whole of Bharat: Tamil Nadu Governor". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 19 January 2023.
  17. ^ Maalaimalar (10 January 2023). "திருவையாறு தியாகராஜர் ஆராதனை விழா- தஞ்சைக்கு இன்று மாலை கவர்னர் ஆர்.என்.ரவி வருகை". (in Tamil). Retrieved 19 January 2023.
  18. ^ "Thiruvaiyaru Thyagabrahma Mahotsava Sabha Celebrated Tyagaraja Aradhana | ஸ்ரீதியாகராஜ சுவாமிகளின் 176 ஆவது ஆராதனை விழா | Tamil-nadu News in Tamil". Retrieved 19 January 2023.
  19. ^ "Thiruvaiyaru". Archived from the original on 14 January 2016. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  20. ^ "Thyagaraja aradhana begins". The Hindu. 25 January 2016. Retrieved 22 November 2019.
  21. ^ "Chennai December Season 2019: Tiruvaiyaru Thyagaraja Aradhana 2015 dates". 8 September 2014. Retrieved 22 November 2019.
  22. ^ Renganathan, L. (7 January 2015). "Thyagaraja aradhana fest begins". The Hindu. Retrieved 22 November 2019.
  23. ^ Srinivasan, G. (21 January 2014). "Carnatic musicians pay tribute to Tyagaraja". The Hindu. Retrieved 22 November 2019.
  24. ^ "Thyagaraja aradhana from January 27". The Hindu. 3 January 2013. Retrieved 22 November 2019.
  25. ^ Srihari, Gudipoodi (26 January 2012). "Aradhana gains momentum". The Hindu. Retrieved 22 November 2019.
  26. ^ Music (14 January 2012). "Images of Tyagaraja Aradhana in Tiruvaiyaru". The Hindu. Retrieved 22 November 2019.
  27. ^ Music (24 January 2011). "Thiruvaiyaru Thyagaraja Utsavam". The Hindu. Retrieved 22 November 2019.
  28. ^ "Cleveland Thyagaraja Festival". Retrieved 1 December 2019.