Venue: Thiruvaiyaru in Tamilnadu
Duration: Eight days
Highlight: Celebrated in the memory of the great saint Tyagraja
Thyagaraja Music Festival is formally known as Thyagaraja Aradhana. It is annual Carnatic music festival mostly held in the month of January and February. Many champions of Carnatic music arrive in the small village Tiruvayaru in Thanjavur district. The festival is loved and cherished by the thousands of ardent fans of Indian classical music who turn up for the event religiously, every year. The music festival is organized in the fond memory of saint Thyagraja. One of the major highlight of this five day musical extravaganza is the recital of Pancharatna Kritis' by a galaxy of musicians at the samadhi of Thyagaraja. It is with this respect and love for the guru the music fest is organized and celebrated.
Thyagaraja Music Festival, as the name suggests, is celebrated in the memory of the great saint cum musician Thyagraja. It is held on an annual basis in Thiruvaiyaru, Tamilnadu, where Thyagraja spent his whole lifetime and also attained Samadhi. The festivity is an eight day long musical show, which is graced by the leading Carnatic singers and musicians from all parts of the country. History says that there was a woman called Nagarathnammal a rich temple dancer who came to Thiruvaiyaru to pay her homage to Thyagraja's memories but due to discrimination against women she wasn't allowed to dedicate her earnings to the saint. So, she brought the land on which Thyagraja's memorial stood and built a temple on it. Even after her being declared the owner on the temple, she wasn't allowed rights over her own property. Later, after numerous court cases in 1941 the first 'Aradhna' as we know today was held and it continues even today. The music festival is so popular that it has continued for decades and completed its 162nd anniversary in the year 2009.
Type of Music
The main attraction of the Thyagaraja music festival is the group performance by the prominent musicians of the Pancharathna Krithis. To honor the works and pay homage to the great saint Thyagraja, what can be a better idea than the performance of Pancharathna Krithis, his five compositions that came to be popularly known as the five gems. Thyagraja is admired for his five gems even today. He is and will remain the role model for all those associated with Carnatic music. The Pancharathna Krithis are: Jagadananda Karaka - Raga Naata, Dudukugala - Raga Gaula, Sadhinchene - Raga Arabhi, Kanakana Ruchira - Raga Varali, Endaro Mahanubhavulu - Raga Sri.
Spread of the festival
This music festival gives opportunity to all musicians to showcase their talents. Well known and renowned musicians are celebrated and loved by their fans every time they perform at this stage. This music festival turns out to be a useful platform for the ones who are aspiring to be classical singers and artists. Not only in India but Thyagraja Aradhana is celebrated in Ohio, USA. It is celebrated around Easter and thousands of Carnatic music lover gather there to cherish India's rich heritage.
The small town Thiruvaiyaru is just 16km from the famous Thanjavur district known for its art. Thiruvaiyaru itself has a famous temple Dakshina Kailasam. This temple is built on a vast land and in ancient as build during the Cholas and Pandavas time.
How to Reach
By Air: The nearest airport to reach Thiruvaiyaru is at Tiruchirapalli, which is located at a distance of about 71 kms. Regular flights are operated from this airport. Thus, the place is well connected to the major cities of the country by air.
By Rail: Nearest railway station is situated at Thanjavur, which is very well linked to the important cities such as Trichy, Madurai, Nagore etc.
By Road: There is a direct bus service from Thanjavur, which lies at a distance of 13kms from Thiruvaiyaru.