Vijayalakshmi Subramaniam turned the focus on the temple town in her Kshetra Sangitam series.

The coastal town of Tiruchendur was featured in the thematic concert ‘Kshetra Sangitham’ presented by Vijayalakshmi Subramaniam under the auspices of Narada Gana Sabha recently. This was preceded by a brief lecture in Tamil by noted orator Dr. Sarada Nambi Arooraan wherein she highlighted several interesting facts about the famous temple of Muruga in Tiruchendur.

Vijayalakshmi Subramaniam commenced her concert with Prof T.R. Subramaniam’s Hamir Kalyani varnam ‘Senthil Vaazh’. Thanks to her intense training under vidvan S Rajam, Koteeswara Iyer’s kritis are her forte. An authentic rendition Koteeswara Iyer’s Kokilapriya piece, ‘Sukha vazhu,’ set the pace for the evening. Preceding her concert Vijayalakshmi, spoke emotionally about how she was blessed by Tiruppugazh Guruji Raghavan with a photograph of Tiruchendur Murugan and how a visitor landed at her house to hand over the special prasadam from Tiruchendur.

Ragas do have an inherent speed in them and Suratti was given the correct treatment at the right pace. H.N. Bhaskar (violin) did not lag behind. This was followed by a rare Dikshitar kriti, ‘Balasubramanyam Bhajeyham,’ with kalpanaswaras. Viruttams from Paghazhi Koothar’s works were brilliantly presented in Simhendramadhyamam and Saveri. It was interesting to note the contrasting speeds at which these ragas were presented.

Periyasamy Thooran’s ‘Muruga Muruga’ was of course a must. Vijayalakshmi’s voice modulation for the Tiruchendur Tiruppugazh in Maand reminded one of MLV. A verse from Arunagirinaadhar’s Kandar Alankaram in Sahana was detailed, backed up by Sivan’s ‘Chiththam Irangaadadheynayya’ (Mishram)with the emotional content intact. Mannarkoil J Balaji ( mridangam) embellished this kriti with some imaginative playing.

The vocalist’s eight-minute delineation of Thodi was laced with brigas giving it a nagaswara style. Bhaskar’s distinct reply added colour to the overall presentation. Yet another Dikshitar composition in ‘Sri Subramanyo’ at a breezy pace saw J. Balaji delving into a brief but well-executed tani. His tekkas during the anupallavi of this kriti were effective.

The concert was rounded off with Annamalai Reddiar’s Kavadi Chindu and verses form Adi Sankara’s Subramania Bhujangam in Sindhubhairavi and Madyamavathi.

Fact file

One of the six famed abodes of Muruga

Muruga worshipped Siva after destroying the demon king Soorapadman here. Pagazhi Koothar, a staunch Vaishnavite was cured of his stomach ailment when he offered his prayers at this temple.

Adi Sankara composed Subramania Bhujangam at this temple.

Generations of the family of Veerapandia Kattabomman were devotees of Tiruchendur Murugan. The ruler had the habit of having his food only after the uchikalapooja was performed at the temple.