Arts

Updated: September 25, 2010 22:58 IST

1,000 dancers pay tribute to Big Temple

    T. Ramakrishnan
    G. Srinivasan
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Chief Minister M.Karunanidhi being greeted by dancer Padma Subrahmanyam at the Millennium Celebration of Big Temple in Thanjavur on Saturday.
Photo: M.Moorthy
Chief Minister M.Karunanidhi being greeted by dancer Padma Subrahmanyam at the Millennium Celebration of Big Temple in Thanjavur on Saturday.

Padma Bhushan Padma Subrahmanyam led the millennium dancers, as Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, his ministerial colleagues and thousands of people from the town and nearby places watched

The 1,000-year-old Big Temple, built by the emperor Rajaraja Chola in Thanjavur and regarded as an architectural wonder, was the venue of a spectacular Bharatanatyam performance on Saturday.

As the highlight of the millennium celebration of the temple, a world heritage monument, over 1,000 dancers, predominantly women, led by Padma Subrahmanyam, displayed their talent for about 45 minutes.

Watched by Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, his ministerial colleagues and thousands of people from the town and nearby places, the performance was meant as a tribute to the Chola emperor and the greatness of the temple that withstood the test of time.

Dressed in colourful costumes, the dancers started with ‘Ganapathy Kauthuvam,' followed it up with ‘Thirvisaipa songs of Karuvur Devar' and concluded with ‘Sivapanchaksharam, stotras of Adi Sankara.' It was a rare sight to see the hundreds of artists dancing around the Nandhi Mandapam with the 216-ft-tall Vimana of the Big Temple in the backdrop.

One thousand years ago, dancers patronised by Rajaraja Chola paid their obeisance in the same temple to Lord Brihadisvara every day, according to inscriptions. On Saturday, the dancers gave their performance in praise of the emperor and the temple's glory besides paying obeisance to the Lord.

With available space (four ft by four ft) for each dancer, the dancers maintained uniformity and danced perfectly.

Earlier, 108 Oduvars rendered Thirumurai (a compendium of hymns in praise of Lord Siva) in chorus. They started with ‘Thodudaiya Seviyan Or Thuvenmathi Soodi' – Thevaram of Thirugnanasambandar and followed it up with ‘Kutrayina Varu Vikalakyile,' ‘Pitha Pirai Soodi,' ‘Manthiramavathu Neeru,' ‘Anjana Velvizhi Madamanthar.'

By the time Mr. Karunanidhi reached the venue, the Oduvars had completed their recital. But, they sang a verse in response to the request of the Chief Minister.

Mr. Karunanidhi, who wore a silk ‘angavastaram,' commended Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam for the dance programme.

When he came to know that she was planning to stage the programme to celebrate the 1,000{+t}{+h} year of the construction of the temple, he told her that the State government would join her in the celebration.

Dr. Subrahmanyam thanked the artists who came to the programme at their own expense. She appealed to the Chief Minister and the Archaeological department to see to it that an inscription referring to the dance programme was engraved in the temple. .

The Chief Minister released a book authored by R. Nagasamy, veteran archaeologist, on the 400 dancers of the temple during the period of Rajaraja Chola. M.K. Stalin, Deputy Chief Minister, received the copy. LED screens were put up around the temple.

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