Yet another edition of Svanubhava 2012, held at Chennai’s Kalakshetra ended, the response as enthusiastic as ever. Svanubhava 2012, left Frenchman Dominique Boulard and his wife agog with excitement.

The just concluded Svanubhava 2012, held at Chennai’s Kalakshetra, left Frenchman Dominique Boulard and his wife agog with excitement. “He (referring to Nedunuri Krishnamurthy) must be 80 plus. But what breath-control! We watched Bhagavatha Mela, a puppet show from Kerala and heard a violin duo in performance. So much variety under one roof. For free. Truly wonderful!”

The violin duo they were talking about were the Mysore Brothers Manjunath and Nagaraj. The brothers began with ‘Akhilandeshwari’ in Dwijavanti and included Bhairavi (‘Lalithe Sri Pravruthae’) and a Sindhu Bhairavi bhajan.

The duo played Lathangi (‘Mari Vera Dikkevvaru’) with confidence and imagination. Phrase after phrase carried musical vigour and virtuosity.

They were accompanied by Arjun Kumar on the mridangam and Giridhar Udupa on the ghatam.

Centres of culture

Historian Dr. Chitra Madhavan presented an interesting talk on ‘Temples as Social, Economic and Cultural Centres.’ Normally, post-lunch sessions tend to make one a little drowsy. But that day, Chitra was at her communicative best, and kept the audience spell-bound.

The talk was high on facts and gave an insight into processes, ideas and events behind the formation of temples.

The outstanding carvings, intricate workmanship and professional perfection of the masters of those times formed the determinants of her talk. She sought to establish the multi-functional capacities of temples. The slide show gave us glimpses of the Periya Kovil, Ranganathasamy Temple, and the temples at Thirumukkoodal and Ennayiram (near Villupuram). Besides being educational centres, Ayurvedic medicines were distributed through the hospitals attached to these temples.

“Temples of today are very different from what existed in the past. Those days, they were the seat of dance and music; they were the courts where judgment was given; they were centres of learning and above all, they provided employment to people,” Chitra said.

Young Abhinav felt this session would have served non-believers better. “Temples are not mere places of worship. There is more to it. This talk revealed that. History is more neglected than studied and parents should cultivate this sense of history in their children.”

Pallavi, a dancer from California, and Janani from Harishri Vidyalaya, Chennai, had similar things to say.

“The key to understanding our culture lies in our temples. Up and coming dancers would have benefited greatly from this talk. This festival has attracted people from all over India; it's United India for you.”

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