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Ganesh Chaturthi is around the corner and there is much merriment all over. It marks the official beginning of the festival season in several parts of the country. Across several cities, the main markets have been flooded with the seasonal Ganesha idol sellers.
Ganeshas of all shapes, sizes, forms and types are available in the market. From sizes smaller than your palm to larger than your home, Ganeshas are being sold. The biggest events take place in Maharashtra. Thanks to the efforts of freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak, this festival gained national importance over time in the 20th century. But long before it became a festival of this gaanpathi, Ganesha was always worshipped and celebrated across South India.
Being a prominent seat of Shaivites and Shaktas, several geographic belts in the South worshipped Ganesha in different forms. In the ancient Ramappa temple in current Warangal in Telangana, one can find one of the earliest sculptures of a dancing Ganesha. This temple was built by the Kakatiya rulers in the 13th century.
Did this intricately carved little Ganesha inspire him? We will never know!
It is obvious that the music of the region, Carnatic as we know it now, was one way of celebrating Ganesha. Several poets, saints and composers down the centuries wrote elaborately, in Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Sanskrit, expressing their devotion to the elephant headed god.
Carnatic music began blossoming into fullness during the Vijayanagara Empire times. One of the ganapatni composers to pay his obeisance to Ganesha was Purandara Dasa — He systematized the method of teaching Carnatic.
Ganapati Thalam – Dr. R. Thiagarajan | Shazam
He became a student of Vyasathirtha, the royal Guru of Emperor Krishadevaraya and composed a number of songs as he traveled around the towns to various temples across the Vijayanagara Kingdom. Karnataka has some of the most ancient temples dedicated to Ganesha. Be it Idagunji or Anegudde, Ganesha worship has been a long-standing tradition. There are many more shrines dedicated to Ganesha. It is difficult to point out to the exact temple or holy site that Purandhara Dasa might have visited while he composed because not all songs give away the names of places in them.
The best version of this song is by M L Vasantakumari who played a significant role in popularizing the songs of the Dasas in her illustrious musical career. Since that track is not available, let us listen to the same rendered by Bombay Jayashree:.
In fact in Yakshagana, tha,am ancient dance theatre tradition of Karnataka, ganapzthi act on stage begins without paying obeisance to Ganesha. The same procedure can be seen in the Kuchipudi dance drama tradition of Andhra Pradesh. In Karnataka, the Pooja is often for Ganesha worshipped in the temple of Idagunji.
Vinayak – Sri Ganapathi Thaalam – Sanskrit
The Poorva-Ranga or the prelude to any play is a short invocation to Ganesha to bless the stage, the actors and the audiences. The most famous group Keramane that saw some of the greatest legends of Yakshagana in the 20th century has kept this tradition alive for several generations. Watch one such Ganesha Pooja before the main performance here:.
In fact, every other Carnatic music recital begins with this popular Kriti. But many wonder where this temple of Ganesha is situated. Vatapi was the ancient name of the city of Badami in current day northern Karnataka. The famous clash of Chalukyas and Pallavas took place here in the year As was the custom of war, the winning Pallava ruler looted the city of Badami and fled with several precious artifacts.
Among those was an idol of Ganesha.
This Ganesh Chaturthi, explore devotion to the deity in five Carnatic tunes | The News Minute
His commander-in-chief Paranjyothi brought it to his hometown of Thiruchengattankudi in the Thiruvarur district in Tamil Nadu and enshrined it in a temple dedicated. The Uthrapathiswaraswamy Temple here is dedicated to lord Shiva.
In the same temple complex, the commander built another temple for this new Ganesha and installed it. Many centuries later when the Carnatic composer Deekshitaar went traveling around the region, he wrote a set of sixteen songs dedicated to Ganesha installed in sixteen different temples.
Listen to it sung by the Carnatic superstar Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna:. From there we come to Kerala where the great philosopher saint Shankara Bhagavadpada in the 8th century composed a number of songs as he traveled the length and breadth of the country. Whichever holy place or temple he visited, he left his footprint in the form of an exquisite Sanskrit composition. There are several in praise of Ganesha.
This particular composition gained great popularity when it was set to tune and sung by none other than Bharat Ratna awardee M S Subbulakshmi. She, with her impeccable pronunciation in Sanskrit, made it a regular item in many of her concerts in later years. Listen to one such vintage concert:. With so much music, can rhythm be far behind?
The art of Carnatic percussion is easily one of the most complex and difficult art forms to master, anywhere in the world. In ancient Shaiva temple rituals in South India, whenever the Kumbhabhishekam was performed to the main god, ganapathhi chanted the ritual of Ganapati Taalanam.
The authorship of this particular text remains a mystery.
In the modern times, the legendary Ghatam Vidwan Vikku Vinayakaram has revived the same. He not only revived it but gave it a new flavor. Set to Adi talamwith each beat of five Maatras and late set to two and half beats, the Ganapati Talam is a lively composition that thala energize any performance.
Ganesha, the remover of obstacles is the first Hindu god worshipped. This weekend as India gears up for yet another Ganesh Chaturthi, what better way to celebrate him than music? Veejay Sai is an award-winning thxlam, editor and a culture critic. He writes extensively on Indian performing arts, cultural history, food and philosophy. Skip to main content. This Ganesh Chaturthi, explore devotion to the deity in five Carnatic tunes.
Veejay Sai Follow veejaysai Saturday, September 03, – Dancing Ganesha in Ramappa Temple in Warangal It is obvious that the music of the region, Carnatic as we know it now, was one way of celebrating Ganesha. Monolithic Ganesha in Hampi There are many more shrines dedicated to Ganesha. Since that track is not available, let us listen to the same rendered by Bombay Jayashree: Watch one such Ganesha Pooja before the main performance here: Listen to it sung by the Carnatic superstar Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna: Listen to one such vintage concert: Listen to it here: The News Minute newsletter Sign up to get handpicked news and features sent to your inbox.