The Sree Ramaseva Mandali is holding its annual summer fete from April 4

The Fort High School grounds, Chamarajpet, will be abuzz come April 4. This is where the Sree Ramaseva Mandali will host 250 artistes participating in 85 concerts and 40 religious discourses during the Ramanavami summer music extravaganza this year.

As always, the mandali includes exclusive features in its Ramanavami carnival bringing in religious discourses, morning and evening concerts, children's specials, awards distribution and much more.

Says S.N. Varadaraj, general secretary, Sree Ramaseva Mandali, “Our special kitchen constructed at the pandal provides 500 meals a day for the entire fiesta. ‘Melody and meals' is a tradition that my father, the founder, S.V. Narayanaswamy Rao, set and it continues even today.”

That's not all. Each year the programmes are held on a professionally mounted pandal, a structure which has wood and iron trusses with zinc and waterproof fabric cover, and has wooden planks for flooring that is acoustic-friendly.

“It was Rajaji's (C. Rajagopalachari) advice that Ramanavami must be staged in an open-air pandal, and we continue to do this,” says Mr. Varadaraj. The seating capacity has increased to 4,500 with a 60 x 40 foot extended dais to accommodate at least 80 people,” says Mr. Varadaraj.

The programme list is three-foot long and invites curious looks. “My father started the mandali activities as a two or three-day Ramanavami music fete in 1938, and his passion and dedication to music have brought us to a level where the programme list after 73 years runs three-ft long for a six-week musical spectacular. We believe it is Hanuman's tail that is permanently growing” Mr. Varadaraj says.

April is the melody season in Bangalore, and Ramanavami is the facilitator. Says Mr. Varadaraj, “During Ramanavami, the pandal was home to my father for two months. With the goodwill already laid by him, we brothers are able to freeze programmes with top-rung musicians over phone today.”

No wonder Bade Ghulam Ali Khan in 1956 is said to have waited for a week to see the downpour stop and sing for Ramaseva Mandali audiences thereafter.