The Pudukkottai seemai is an important heritage site with a unique music tradition. There are only five musical inscriptions in Tamilnadu all belonging to the 8-9th centuries, and interestingly all these lie in the Pudukkottai region, the most important being the one in Kudumiyanmalai. More recently, the Pudukkottai kings were great patrons of music and dance and many great musicians had adorned their court. In particular, the Semmai can boast of two great schools. The Pudukkottai school of mridangam originated by Pudukkottai Manpundia Pillai and his disciples Pudukkottai Dakshinamoorthy Pillai and Pazhani Subbudu were the most important mridangists. The other is the Veena tradition made popular to the public by the seventh generation Vainikas belonging to Tirugokarnam, Subbarama Iyer and Samabasiva Iyer (more popularly known as Karaikkudi brothers).
The Brihadambal Sannidhi was the venue of daily dance and music performance by famous artists. The Tirugokarnam vainikas played an important role in this. After independence the practice was discontinued, and in course of time the temple lost its charm.
In order to inform the locals as well as the music world the heritage this temple, Brihadambal Aradhara was initiated by S. Swaminathan 2013, an annual function in which music world pays tribute to the goddess by singing kritis on her. This year this will be on the 9th of January 2015.
A few songs on Brihadambal are chosen for group singing. Dr Namagiri, a grand-daughter of the Veena Brothers has published a book of these kirtanas with notation and Dr Karakkudi Subramanian of Brihadvani, son of Sambasiva Iyer, is prepared to coach interested persons in Chennai.
The date of the Aradhana is chosen for the convenience of musicians and music lovers, for it would fall on the day before the Tyagaraja Aradhana. The chosen day is also the aradhana day for Manpundia Pillai at his Samadhi in Pudukkottai, conducted by his disciples. The Brihadambal Aradhana would be conducted in the evening at 5-30. Thus it would be possible to reach Pudukkottai in the morning by Rameswaram Express, attend the both the programmes and take themidnight train to Chennai or attend the Tiruvaiyaru Utsavam the next morning.
This year there would an additional event: visiting heritage spots (Narttamalai, Sittannavasal, Kudumiyanmalai and Kodumbalur) in Pudukkottai on the 8th, as part of annual meeting of Swaminathan’s classmates in Pudukkottai.
For more information contact S. Swaminathan (2467 1501, 94456-06501; firstname.lastname@example.org), N Radhakrishnan (2499 1057, 95000-16971; email@example.com) or P. Krishnamoorthy (94440-61914;firstname.lastname@example.org)
Courtesy: Amirtha Vahini