Mallari in Gambheera Nattai, Adi Talam, by Injikkudi Subramaniyan

Mallari is a unique piece of music played on nagaswaram when the presiding deity of a temple is taken on procession. The deity, decorated with jewels and garlands is brought near the temple tower and nagswaram artiste plays the music with the accompaniment of thavil.

Mallaris, come in varied forms and thalams, and are generally set to ragam Gambeera Nattai. There is no sahithyam or lyrics in a mallari.

The thavil artiste begins the allarippu 'thom thom tha thom thom tha, kuntha kunthakum, kuntha kunthakum. Then the nagaswaram artiste renders the ragam Gambeera Nattai elaborately and plays sorkattus beginning in madyama kaalam, gradually increasing the tempo into duritha kaalam and subsequently reduce the tempo to vilambam.

Once again, the artiste switches over to madyama kaalam, duritham and does thisram before increasing the pace to duritham and finally comes back to madyama kalam. There are different types of mallaris played depending on the occasion. Thaligai mallari is performed when the food is taken from the temple kitchen (madapalli) to the deity. Similarly, theertha mallari is played when abishekam is performed or water for abishekam is brought from the temple tank or river. Ther mallari is played during the cart festival.



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