20th Dec 2019, Brihadisvara Temple, Thanjavur, Thanjavur Maratha Palace, Thyagaraja samadhi in Thiruvaiyaru

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December 24th 2019
Published: December 26th 2019
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Brihadisvara Temple, Thanjavur
20th Dec 2019

I reached Tanjore on 19th Dec 2019 by 10.30 pm

Started to Brihadisvara Temple, Thanjavur around 8 am from the place I stay

Brihadisvara Temple, Thanjavur

Brihadishvara Temple, also called Rajarajesvaram or Peruvudaiyār Kōvil, is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva located in South bank of Kaveri river in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, India. It is one of the largest South Indian temples and an exemplary example of a fully realized Dravidian architecture. It is called as Dhakshina Meru (Meru of the south). Built by Tamil king Raja Raja Chola I between 1003 and 1010 AD, the temple is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the "Great Living Chola Temples", along with the Chola dynasty era Gangaikonda Cholapuram temple and Airavatesvara temple that are about 70 kilometers and 40 kilometers to its northeast respectively.

The original monuments of this 11th-century temple were built around a moat. It included gopura, the main temple, its massive tower, inscriptions, frescoes and sculptures predominantly related to Shaivism, but also of Vaishnavism and Shaktism traditions of Hinduism. The temple was damaged in its history and some artwork is now missing. Additional mandapam and monuments were

Brihadisvara Temple, Thanjavur
added in centuries that followed. The temple now stands amidst fortified walls that were added after the 16th century

Built out of granite, the vimana tower above the sanctum is one of the tallest in South India. It was, in all likelihood, one of the tallest structures in the world at the time of its construction. The temple has a massive colonnaded prakara (corridor) and one of the largest Shiva lingam in India. It is also famed for the quality of its sculpture, as well as being the location that commissioned the brass Nataraja – Shiva as the lord of dance, in the 11th century. The complex includes shrines for Nandi, Parvati, Kartikeya, Ganesha, Sabhapati, Dakshinamurti, Chandeshvara, Varahi, and others. The temple is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Tamil Nadu.

Thanjavur Maratha Palace (http://www.thanjavurtourism.com/maratha-palace-thanjavur.html), (https://tamilnadu-favtourism.blogspot.com/2016/05/thanjavur-maratha-palace-thanjavur.html)

The Tanjore Palace is around 5 Km from Brihadeshwara temple

The Thanjavur Maratha palace was originally constructed by the rulers of Thanjavur Nayak kingdom. After the fall of the Thanjavur Nayak kingdom, it served as the official residence of the Thanjavur Maratha. When most of the Thanjavur Maratha kingdom was annexed by the British

Brihadisvara Temple, Thanjavur
Empire in 1799, the Thanjavur Marathas continued to hold sway over the palace and the surrounding fort. The Bhonsle family continued to hold on to the palace even after the last king Shivaji II.

The palace complex consists of the Sadar Mahal Palace, the queen's courtyard and the Durbar Hall. The Royal Palace Museum contains a splendid collection of Chola bronzes. The Raja Serfoji Memorial Hall and the Royal Palace Museum are situated in the Sadar Mahal Palace. There is also a small bell tower. The Saraswathi Mahal Library is situated with the Thanjavur palace complex.

The Tanjavur Martha Palace Complex, Known locally as ARAMANAI, is the official residence of Bhonsle family who ruled over the Tanjore region from 1674 to 1855. The original name of the Tanjore Palace is SIVGANGA FORT, which is rarely used these days. There is a small moat around it which provided security against enemy access. Often mistakenly called the 'Thanjavur Maratha Palace' was not built by Maratha Kings, but by Thanjavur Nayaks. The maze-like complex was constructed partially by the Nayaks who took over Thanjavur in 1535, and partly by local Maratha dynasty that ruled from 1676 to 1855

The two

Brihadisvara Temple, Thanjavur
don't moss sections are the Sarswati Mahal Library Museum and Art Gallery

Thyagaraja samadhi in Thiruvaiyaru (http://thiruvaiyaruthyagarajaaradhana.org/)

The photograph shows all the 700 compositions (Out of 23000 he composed) by saint Thyagaraja still available today, on the walls of his samadhi

Thiruvaiyaru is a panchayat town in Thanjavur district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is situated on the banks of the river Kaveri, 13 km from Thanjavur, Thiruvaaiyaru has an old Shiva temple dedicated to Panchanatheeswar. Though pilgrims flock to this temple throughout the year, Thiruvaiyaru is more renowned for its association with Saint Thyagaraja, who, along with Muthuswami Dikshitar and Shyama Sastri, comprises the Trinity of Carnatic music. Thiruvaiyaru means Five Rivers around the city. The Five Rivers are Arisilaaru, Vennaaru, Vettaaru, Kudamuruttiyaaru, and Kaaviriyaaru

Thiruvaiyaru is the headquarters of the Thiruvaiyaru taluk. Near the Shiva temple is the one-roomed house where Thyagaraja composed some of his greatest works. On the banks of the river is the samadhi of the saint composer and it is here that the greatest music festival in the country takes place annually. The Thyagaraja Aradhana festival is held in January when most of the

Brihadisvara Temple, Thanjavur
leading exponents of Carnatic music come to perform and are watched by thousands of ardent fans of classical music. A huge complex is now under construction at this site to accommodate the large audience that comes to the concert in ever-increasing numbers every year.

Tyagaraja Aradhana is the annual aradhana (a Sanskrit term meaning act of glorifying God or a person) of Telugu saint composer Tyagaraja. The festival is observed in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, primarily in Tiruvaiyaru, the place where Tyagaraja attained Samadhi. The aradhana is observed on Pushya Bahula Panchami day when the saint attained samadhi, where the musicians will render the saint's Pancharatna Kritis.

The Aradhana in its present format is not even a hundred years old. Tyagaraja 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

Brihadisvara Temple, Thanjavur
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 Tiruvayyaru, 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 the 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 Tillaisthanam Narasimha Bhagavatar and Tillaisthanam 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

Brihadisvara Temple, Thanjavur
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 organized 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

Brihadisvara Temple, Thanjavur
a temple performer, and one of the most famous professional concert artists of her era. Nagarathnamma, who was then residing in Madras, was an ardent devotee of Tyagaraja 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 Tyagaraja'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 constructed. They cited several instances from Tyagaraja's songs where he

Brihadisvara Temple, Thanjavur
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

Brihadisvara Temple, Thanjavur
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 Tiruvayyaru and bequeathed all her wealth to the Tyagaraja 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 Tyagaraja's memorial and a statue was erected on the spot. The statue directly gazes at Tyagaraja's memorial.

Thyagaraja Festivals celebrated Globally

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

In the small pearl of the Indian Ocean, Mauritius Island, Tyagaraja Aradhana is celebrated with great devotion by the Vyasha Dhalia Ashram. 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.

In Lagos, Nigeria, from the year 2007 every February,

Brihadisvara Temple, Thanjavur
Tyagaraja Aradhana is being celebrated devotionally by Chinmaya Mission. Children trained by experienced Gurus along with music instruments rendering sampradaya kirthanas of the compositions of Saint Tyagaraja in this function.

Additional photos below
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Brihadisvara Temple, Thanjavur

Brihadisvara Temple, Thanjavur

Brihadisvara Temple, Thanjavur

Brihadisvara Temple, Thanjavur

Brihadisvara Temple, Thanjavur

Brihadisvara Temple, Thanjavur

Brihadisvara Temple, Thanjavur

Brihadisvara Temple, Thanjavur

Brihadisvara Temple, Thanjavur

Brihadisvara Temple, Thanjavur

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