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    A feast for music lovers

    THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The famed Carnatic musical carnival of Thiruvananthapuram, Navarathri Festival, began at the Navarathri Mandapam on Tuesday. The first day’s concert, in conformation with tradition, was spun around the main ‘kriti’ in Sankarabharanam, ‘Devi Jagadjanani’, rendered by Perumbavoor G Raveendranath. S R Mahadeva Sarma accompanied him on the violin, K V Ganesh on the mridangam and Adichanallur Anilkumar on the ghatam. Prince Rama Varma sang on the second day of the festival on Wednesday, accompanied by S Varadarajan on the violin and Palakkad Mahesh Kumar on the mridangam. Amrutha Venkatesh will give the concert on Thursday and Bangalore G Ravikiran on Friday. On Saturday, the vocals will be rendered by R Dilipkumar and on Sunday by Parassala B Ponnammal. On coming Monday, October 3, Sanjay Subrahmanyan will present a concert, while T V Gopalakrishnan will perform the next day. The concluding day’s concert on October 5 will be given by Trichur V Ramachandran. The nine musical nights are celebrated every year under the aegis of the Travancore royal family. It is believed that the festival became part of the annual calendar of the kingdom in accordance with a promise given by a Chera ruler to the medieval poet Kambar, the author of the Tamil Ramayana. Kambar, foreseeing his imminent death, handed over the idol of Saraswathy that he had worshipped to the Chera King, after eliciting the promise that the Goddess will be propitiated with a nine-day musical offering every year. The royal family of Travancore, who are the descendants of the Chera dynasty, have kept the promise till date. After the capital was shifted from Padmanabhapuram to Thiruvananthapuram during the reign of Marthanda Varma, the Goddess is brought in procession from the Padmanabhapuram Palace to the Navarathri Mandapam, where she regales in the musical celebration for nine days.The ‘kirtanas’ sung on the nine days were written and composed by Swathi Thirunal. He composed nine songs in the ragas Shankarabharanam, Kalyani, Saveri, Thodi, Bhairavi, Panthuvarali, Shuddha Saveri, Nattakurinji and Arabhi respectively, to be sung as the main ‘kriti’ on each day. During the first three days, the Devi is worshipped as Saraswathi, as Lakshmi during the next three days and as Durga on the last three days. The concerts begin at 6 pm every day.