Venue: Trivandrum, Kerala
Duration: Eleven days
Highlights: Performances by world-renowned artists
Chembai Music Festival is organized in Trivandrum, the capital city of Kerala, on an annual basis. It is held in the month of September, during the occasion of Ekadasi. The festival lasts for a period of eleven days and is celebrated in the memory of Chembai Vaidyanath Bhagawathar, a passionate devotee of Lord Sree Guruvayurappan. Eminent artists from all over the country take part in the Chembai Music Festival and adorn the festivities with their amazing performances. To know more about how it all started, its significance and the spread of the festival, read through the following lines.
The Chembai Music Festival was started to celebrate the memory of Chembai Vaidyanath Bhagawathar, an ardent devotee of Lord Sree Guruvayurappan. Sri Chembai Memorial trust organizes the eleven days long festival at Thiruvananthpuram, the capital of the state of Kerala, India. More than 2000 Carnatic musicians attend this festival and for five nights, the city echoes with the enthralling performances in Indian classical music. Old as well as new melodies combine to create an atmosphere of serenity and composure. One of the major attractions of the Chembai Music Festival comprise of the songs of saint Thyagaraja's 'Pancharatna Krithis', sung on the tenth day of the festival.
Types of Music
The festival comes to an end with a group concert on the eleventh day. On this day, one can hear the five most favorite songs of Chembai, namely 'Vadapiganapatim' on raag Hamsadhwani, Mamavasadaajanani on raag Kanada, 'Rakshmamsaranagatam' on raag Natta, Karuna Cheivanentuthamasam Krishna on raag Yadukulakamboji, and Paavanagurupavanapuradeeswara on raag Hamsanandi. Along with the established artists, young aspiring musicians also perform at the Chembai Music Festival. The major artists who perform here are Mandolin U. Srinivas, K.G. Jayan, Aymanam Pradeep, Aymanam Sajeev, Kumarakom Ganesh Gopal, Kottayam Murali, Thrissur V.R. Dileep Kumar, Krishna Mohan, Ramkumar Mohan, S. Eswara Varma, Vaikom P.S. Venugopal, Elanjimel Susil Kumar, S. R. Vinu, Thiruvananthapuram Surendran and Attingal M. R. Madhu.
Apart from the Chembai Music Festival you can also come during Guruvayur Ekadasi celebrated at the end of 'ekadasi' that is the eleventh day of lunar fortnight. It is considered an auspicious day for the Hindus. A grand procession of elephants is organized to Parthasarathi temple. There are many temples that you can visit here. The famous one being the Guruvayur temple that is considered one of the most sacred places by Hindus as they believe it to be the home of the Lord 'Vishnu'. The Elephant Sanctuary at Punnathurkotta, Guruvayur is a special tourist spot and many people from all over India come to visit this sanctuary every year.
Spread of the Festival
The music festival attracts many musicians and music lovers from all over India and abroad. It becomes an abode for people who love music. Carnatic music is never experimented and enjoyed like it does in Chembai Music Festival. It is a week of joy and celebration of human artistic abilities. Not only does the renowned and masters of Carnatic music display their art but youth of today, the amateurs too get a platform to perform and get a wide exposure. Hence, Chembai Music Festival becomes a bag of opportunities for many aspiring musicians and a delightful experience for those who come to enjoy the scintillating performances.
How to Reach
By Air: Thiruvananthapuram airport has direct flights to all the key cities in India so one can reach there from any city by a direct flight.
By Rail: Thiruvananthapuram railway station is well linked with the other parts of the country as it is one of the important stations of South India.
By Road: A good network of road connects Thiruvananthapuram with the other cities in Kerala hence buses are easily available form almost all other cities in Kerala.