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Home Fair & Festival Tours Tamil Nadu Musical Festival Tours Package
Tamil Nadu Musical Festival Tours Package
In India, there is a vast profusion of folk music, which varies according to locality. Though folk songs also follow the same base, classical music requires immense training & practice. In Indian music, musical sound is called nada & nada is considered as Brahman or Divine Reality itself.

Classical Indian music can be classified into two distinct categories, the North Indian or Hindustani & the South Indian or Carnatic music. The essential features & basis of both the styles are the same, in the sense that both are spiritualistic in nature. Foreign influences due to invasions by Persians, Arabs,.. Are more evident in the Hindustani form. There has been a constant intermingling & the styles that have evolved are the products of these various currents.

CARNATIC MUSIC

Location : Tamil Nadu
Greatest Composer : Thyagaraja
Father Of Carnatic Music : Purantharadasar

Carnatic Music, referred to as "Classical Music" in South India, is a very old tradition. Traditional Carnatic music consisting of hundreds of ragas is a rich treat to all music lovers. Most of these songs are Hindu devotional in nature, with melody as the basic structure and are enjoyed by almost anybody with taste.

History Of Carnatic Music
The Carnatic Music grammar is based on Melakartha Raga System prior to which Tamil music grammar revailed. Melakartha was introduced by Venkatamaki in AD 1620 during the rule of Nayaks in Thanjavur. Purantharadasar (AD 1484 - 1564) of Karnataka State is known as the "Father of Carnatic Music". He introduced the basic music learning process based on Mayamalavagoulai Ragam.

Key Content
Spiritualism has been the key content of Carnatic music. The beautiful interweaving of the devotional element and aesthetics has made it ethereal and eternal. The basic idea behind compositions has been to see and seek God. In fact, it has been said that the easiest way to attain salvation is to sing the greatness of the Almighty.

Eminent Composers Of Carnatic Music
Many eminent composers have enriched traditional Carnatic music. One of its greatest composers was Thyagaraja, who is regarded by many as a saint. Besides him, Muthuswami Deekshithar and Shyama Shastri are the other two composers who constitute the three pillars of Carnatic music. All the three belonged to Tamil Nadu and they enriched Carnatic music with compositions in their individual styles and it is their compositions that yet constitute the core of the concert repertoire. Following in the footsteps of these three, a multitude of composers appeared on the scene including Subbaraya Shastri, Annaswami Shastri, Ananta Bharati, Patnam Subrahmania Iyer, Vaiyacheri Ramaswami Iyer, Subbarama Dikshitar and Ramanathapuram 'Poochi' Srinivasa Iyengar. Among latter-day composers, the contributions of Mayuram Vishwanatha Shastri and Papanasam Sivan also deserve mention here.

Languages Used
In Carnatic music, all the South Indian languages have been used prolifically, in addition to the ancient classical Indian language, Sanskrit. The Telugu language has been especially widely used in the compositions. There is also a wide repertoire in Tamil and Kannada, and a smaller range in Malayalam. Occasionally, songs in more northern languages like Marathi, Hindi and Braj Bhasha (language) have been incorporated into Carnatic music. This adds to the rich variety of a ]

Carnatic music performance.

Dress Code
The dress code adopted by the Carnatic music performers is typically the traditional South Indian type. The male singers usually wear a Dhoti and Kurta. Generally, the attire is made of cotton or silk, but sometimes, the format has been maintained with slight innovations. The female singers are generally, dressed in saris, with typical South Indian jewellery to go with the dress. The women singers also typically wear flowers in their hair. This dress code has been maintained over several years.

Place Of Performance
In olden days, Carnatic music was performed in temples. That culture has been carried on to this day. Apart from this, performances are held in Sabhas, which are organisations that preserve this traditional art through a professional set up.

Occasions
It is customary for most of the South Indian temples and other organisations to have Carnatic music concerts during the major Hindu festivals. Apart from this, it is a regular practice to have the traditional wind instrument of South India, Nagaswaram in temples (for daily temple processions, apart from festival time special prayers). Carnatic music concerts are also performed in marriages and other grand Hindu rituals. Today, Carnatic music also has a global presence. Many musicians are performing internationally and there is a rapid cultural growth in various foreign countries, including USA, Canada, France, Germany, U.K., South Africa, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and China (mainly Hong Kong). South Indians abroad have taken the initiative to popularize this traditional art form. During the last two decades, music has been taught, practiced and performed in these countries by Indians settled there. This has also induced several foreigners to learn and perform this traditional art form, in addition to writing about it. History of the December Season The Madras (Chennai) Music & Dance Season celebrated during the latter half of December & early part of January is a cultural extravaganza that has no parallel anywhere in the world.

The Margazhi festival was started way back in 1927, as an event to commemorate with the founding of Madras Music Academy in the month of December. The Madras Music Academy was founded in December 1927 as the outcome of an All-India music conference held during the Madras session of the Indian National Congress. The Academy started conducting a music festival in a small way every December and with the subsequent growth of the Academy, to gigantic proportions.

This event was widely accepted & patronized by the public at large, due to various reasons, prominent among which are possibly, that it is a cool time in the otherwise hot & sultry city and secondly it is holiday time. This culture was adopted by various other sabhas that hold art festivals in different parts of the city.

A unique feature of this art festival is the fact that up & coming artistes also get a chance to exhibit their talents to this city of music & dance lovers at large along with the well-established artistes. Art lovers from various parts of the world visit the city during this season and in nearly all the sabhas, there is always a rush for tickets.

Fifty-three organizations conducted 60 festivals in a period of 117 days. They presented a total of 1604 music & dance performances in this period. The total included 134 music concerts & 280 dance performances. Possibly nowhere else in the world so many organizations conduct so many festivals offering so many music & dance performances in so short a period of time.

Thyagaraja Aradhana
The contribution of Saint Thyagaraja, one of the Trinities of Carnatic music, has been immense not only through his compositions but also through his Sishya Parampara, who have preserved and enriched the true tradition of classical music. Saint Thyagaraja is seen as an Avatharapurusha, who came to this world to savour the souls that suffer in this world. In fact, he is considered an avathara of Saint Valmiki. Thyagaraja's compositions are rich in devotional and philosophical content. They are noted for their superior structure, superb handling of ragalakshanas and apt choice of raga and words. The world of Carnatic music owes a lot to Saint Thyagaraja for the treasure that he is bestowed on them.

As a mark of respect and thanksgiving to the saint, Carnatic musicians from all over the globe get together and pay their reverence to the Saint by singing the Pancharatna kritis on the Pushya Bahula Panchami (the day the saint attained Samadhi) day. Vocalists and instrumentalists of various banis come to Thiruvaiyaru on the banks of the river Cauvery and take part in the aradhana festival, which is celebrated every year. As is the case with many great men, Thyagaraja's greatness came to be known only after his demise. Though he composed a lot and taught many students, his compositions spread wide only after his days. After Thyagaraja's demise, his sishyas performed pooja at his Samadhi. But the Samadhi could not be maintained properly due to poor patronage. It was Bangalore Nagarathnammal, a musician and staunch devotee of Thyagaraja, who dedicated her self & wealth to renovate and maintain the Samadhi. The credit for celebrating the Aradhana at the Saint's Samadhi itself goes to her. Every year, coinciding with the thidhi of the saints' demise, there is weeklong festival, when musicians pay their homage to the Saint by singing his compositions. On the Aradhana Day the Pancharatna (five gems) kritis are rendered in unison by all the artistes, in the ragas Nattai, Gowlai, Arabhi, Varali and Sri. All the five are Ghana ragas. On the Pushya Bahula Panchami day, the musicians go on an Unchavrithi (walking down the streets singing songs & collecting rice from people), for Tyagaraja had followed this during his lifetime.

After this, they go to the Samadhi and perform before the idol of the Saint. The nadhaswaram artistes start off the festival - followed by veena, venu (flute) - and violin. After this, all artistes (vocalists & instrumentalists) perform in unison. They start with Sree Ganapathini in Sourashtram & Guruleka Etuvanti in Gowri Manohari followed by the Pancharatna kritis. Simultaneously, abhishekam is performed to the Saint's idol. At the conclusion of the krithis, mahaarthi is performed to the Saint's idol.

Thyagaraja has left behind the immense wealth of his compositions and it is the duty of every musician and rasikas to pay their homage to the great Saint by rendering his compositions with bhava with an understanding of the meaning of the compositions.

MUSIC OF SOUTH INDIA

Day 01 ARRIVE CHENNAI
Arrive Chennai by International flight. Meeting on arrival and transfer to hotel. Overnight in Chennai.

Day 02 IN CHENNAI
Chennai. The Capital city of Tamil Nadu state, Chennai is India's Southern Gateway city and one of the biggest centres of trade, and communications. Afternoon city tour of Chennai visiting the Fort St. George, San Thome's church, Parthasarathy temple & Marina Beach. Later attend the Music festival. Overnight in Chennai.

Day 03 IN CHENNAI
Full day attend the various music festivals. Overnight in Chennai.

Day 04 CHENNAI/KANCHEEPURAM/MAHABALIPURAM
Leave Chennai for Mahabalipuram enroute visiting Kancheepuram to see the Ekambareshwar and Kailasanatha Temples. On arrival check-in at the hotel Mahabalipuram - a quite seaside resort with a unique and glorious 7th century Shore Temple and some of the most beautiful rock-cut caves in the world. Evening: Attend the Music & Dance festival Overnight in Mahabalipuram.

Day 05 IN MAHABALIPURAM
PM: Visit the Krishna, Varaha and Mahishasura Mardhini Mandapas besides the famous stone bas-relief, Arjuna's Penance. Later attend the Music & Dance festival. Overnight in Mahabalipuram.

Day 06 MAHABALIPURAM/PONDICHERRY
Leave Mahabalipuram for Pondicherry (133 kms/3 hrs). On arrival check-in at the hotel PM: Visit the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry Musuem, Matrimandir at Auroville, the Anglo-French Textiles showroom, Manakula Vinayagar Koil, Ashram's handmade paper factory, the Botanical Gardens and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church. Overnight in Pondicherry.

Day 07 PONDICHERRY/TANJORE
(245 kms/8 hrs including the visit). Leave Pondicherry for Tanjore visiting Chidambaram & Gangaikondacholapuram enroute. On arrival check-in at the hotel Thanjavur was the royal city of the Cholas, Nayaks and the Mahrattas. Thanjavur derives its name from Tanjan-an asura (giant), who according to local legend devastated the neighbourhood and was killed by Sri Anandavalli Amman and Vishnu, Sri Neelamegapperumal. Tanjan's last request that the city might be named after him was granted.

Thanjavur was at height of its glory during Rajaraja Cholan. Let us take Thanjavur back to its past glory in the information age. Thanjavur is still the canter of all the classical arts and music. It has produced many classical musicians and bharathanatyam dancers and is also well known for its unique painting style called Tanjore Painting and Thavil, a percussion instrument. Overnight in Tanjore.

Day 08 IN TANJORE

AM: Visit the Brihadeswarar Temple. The great Temple of Tanjore (Thanjavur) was built between 1003 and 1010 in the reign of the great King Rajaraja, founder of the Chola Empire, which stretched over all of South India and the neighbouring islands. Surrounded by two rectangular enclosures, the Brihadisvar (built from blocks of granite and, in part, from bricks) is crowned with a pyramidal 13-storey tower, the vimana, standing 61 m high and topped with a bulb-shaped monolith. The walls of the temple are covered with rich sculptural decoration.

PM: Visit Thiruvayyaru (13 kms) to witness the Thyagaraja festival Overnight in Tanjore.

Day 09 TANJORE/MADURAI
Leave Tanjore for Madurai (182 kms/4 hrs). On arrival check-in at the hotel Madurai - is Tamil Nadu's most happening cultural arena. Today, Madurai is the thriving pulse of Tamil Nadu industrial growth. Truly, we believe that the Gods are here to stay! Situated on the banks of river Vaigai, Madurai is the second largest city of Tamil Nadu, a southern state in India. Madurai is more than 2,500 years old and has a rich cultural heritage and history. Madurai was an important cultural and commercial centre even as early as 550 AD. Madurai was the capital city for the great Pandya kings. Afternoon city tour of Madurai visiting the great Meenakshi Temple dedicated to the consort of Lord Shiva with its towering gopurams (rising high above the surrounding country side). Visit the Tirumala Nayak Palace - A gracious building in the Indo Saracenic style, famous for the Stuccowork on its domes and arches. Visit Alagar Hills and Tirupara Kundran Rock Temple.
Evening: Attend night ceremony at Meenakshi temple. Overnight in Madurai.

Day 10 IN MADURAI
AM: Visit Thiruparankundram: Dating back to 2nd century B.C., and located 10 kms. South of Madurai, it is one of the 'Aarupadaiveedu', the 6 Muruga temples in the state. It is a cave temple where Muruga married Deivayaanai, after slaying the demon. There are separate shrines in a line for Shiva, Vishnu, Durga and Vinayaka. A hillock is attached to the temple, the rock from which the temple is said to have been built. Overnight in Madurai.

Day 11 MADURAI/PERIYAR
Leave Madurai for Periyar (134 kms/ 4 hrs approx). On arrival check-in at the hotel Thekkady where rolling hills, tea & Cardamom plantations welcome you. It is one of the largest wildlife reserves in India, it is more popular as a tiger reserve. Afternoon take a boat ride on the splendid Periyar lake which is the best way to experience the sanctuary. The greatest attraction here is the herds of wild elephants that come down to the lake to frolic in the water. Tiger, Sambhar, Bison, Spotted Deer, Leopard, Malabar flying Squirrel, stripe necked Mongoose & so on can be spotted in the forest. Kumily, an important spice trade centre lies in the periphery of the sanctuary. Overnight in Periyar.

Day 12 PERIYAR/KUMARAKOM
AM: Visit the Park by boat. Leave Periyar for Kumarakom (124 kms/3 hrs approx) On arrival check-in at the hotel. Kumarakom, a unique backwater destination situated on the banks of the Vemband Lake, which is considered the gateway to the backwaters of Kuttanad. The Kumakom Bird Sanctuary is a favourite haunt of migratory birds from across the world, which makes it a renowned bird watching centre. Rest of the day free at leisure. Overnight in Kumarakom.

Day 13 IN KUMARAKOM
Day free at leisure. Overnight in Kumarakom

Day 14 KUMARAKOM/ALLEPPEY/COCHIN
Transfer to boat jetty to take a backwater cruise to Alleppey. Disembark at Alleppey and drive to Cochin (60 kms/1 hrs approx). On arrival check-in at the hotel. PM: City tour of Cochin. Evening: Witness Kathakali Dance show. Overnight in Cochin.

Day 15 COCHIN/MUMBAI
Day free till departure. Later transfer to airport to board flight to Mumbai. Meeting on arrival and transfer to hotel for wash & change and Dinner. After dinner transfer to International airport to board onward flight

Day 16 DEPART MUMBAI

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