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Trimurthi Sthalam Bikshandarkoil Carries 146 years of Veedhi Bhajan Singing Tradition

12-19-2020 08:14 AM CET | Arts & Culture

Press release from: Bikshandarkoil Chronicle

Trimurthi Sthalam Bikshandarkoil Carries 146 years of Veedhi Bhajan Singing Tradition

Trimurthi Sthalam Bikshandarkoil Carries 146 years of Veedhi Bhajan Singing Tradition

To sustain and spread spirituality among people at large, Bhajans choral singing started as chanting of names of God as a community in chorus. The members of the audience used to repeat the songs rendered by the lead singer after him. The bhajan sampradaya is said to have been established about 500 years ago by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. During 17th century Bhodendra Saraswathi who later became Kanchipuram Sankaracharya is said to have brought Bhajan tradition from Puri to South India.

In later years, Sridhara Ayyaval and Marudanallur Sadguru Swamigal further enriched the Bhajan tradition (Sampradaya Bhajanai). Well known music composer Sri Gopalakrishna Bharathi contributed a lot of simple Tamil lyrics for Bhajan singing. Another great Pudukottai Gopalakrishna Bhagwathar systematized the Bhajan procedures and his son Sanjeevi Bhagwathar brought out a book called Srimath Bhajanamrutham in Tamil.

A typical sequence for Bhajan would be Pundareekam - Prathivachanam, Dhyana Shlokam, Thodaya Mangalam, Guru Dhyanam, Guru Abhangs, Sadhu Keertanas, Jayadevar Ashtapathi, Narayana Teerthar Krishna Leela Tharangini, Panchapati, Dyana Keertanas, Pooja Sampradaya Kritis, Divyanamas, Deepa Pradakshinam, Dolotsavam, Anjaneya Utsavam and Mangalam.

The gap between both the Dakshinayana and Uttarayana is Dhanur Mas that is Margazhi derived from the star Mrigashirsha which is the ninth month in the traditional tamil calendar. During this month, the sun transits through Sagittarius sign, the house of Jupiter and ends with the Makara Sankranti. For 2020 - 2021, Margazhi starts on 16 Dec 2020 and ends on 13 Jan 2021. During this month temples are opened early in the morning and special pujas are performed.

During this month falls the very important days Vaikuna Ekadesi (25 Dec 2020), Arudra Dharsan Thiruvathirai (30 Dec 2020), Koodara Valli (11 Jan 2021) and Hanuman Jayanti (13 Jan 2021). In South India, during this month, it is customary for groups of Brahmin boys led by an elder early in the morning to go around the agraharam commencing from a temple and ending at a temple reciting songs devoted to various gods and this Veedhi Bhajan tradition has been going on for the past several centuries.

The temple at Bikshandarkoil adjacent to Uttamarkoil Railway station and Kollidam Tollgate is just 7.4 kms from the famous Rockfort temple of Tiruchrapalli and 3.8 kms from Boologa Vaikundam Srirangam Temple. Said to be built by the medieval cholas of late 8th century AD also referred as Thirukkarambanoor in Tamil literary works, the temple is unique in the sense that it houses all three gods of Hindus namely Brahma Vishnu Siva and hence is considered as Trimurti Sthalm.

For the past 145 years, during Margazhi month the agraharam of Bikshandarkoil springs into Bhajan mood.. Everyday the Bhajan Ghosti starts early morning at Chinna Vaykal Pillayar (Ganesh) temple, gives the wake-up call at Varadarajan Perumal temple and goes through the entire agraharam street to the Shiva temple at the street eastern end and retraces back to the Varadarajan Perumal temple and completes the singing of sacred hymns and devotional songs. Every house in the agraharam would have a fantastic kolam - alpana ( Rangoli ) with a pumpkin flower kept in the middle.

Steaming hot venpongal is distributed to all devotees everyday after the Bhajan. First day Pongal is always by the house of BR Halasyam Iyer and second day pongal by the house of vadyar BN Ramaratnam Iyer. In good old days the leaves of Poovarasa maram Thespesia populnea (commonly known as the portia tree Pacific rosewood, Indian tulip tree) was used for pongal distribution but in recent times it has been replaced by Cups (Donnai) made of Mantharai leaves.

For very many years, Vaidyanatha Bhagwathar led the Bhajan tradition with Halasyam Iyer playing a pivotal role. Periya Bhagwatar Balasubramanian and Chinna Bhagwatar Janakiraman added special renderings. Bidri Mama Narayanan brought in the Vittal Bhajans in a big way. Sundara Vadyar and Visu BH Viswanathan played stellar roles in taking the tradition from one generation to another. Presently Kanthu Srikanth plays the anchor role ably supported by Babu Narayanan, Naresh (LIC Ravi son), BK Ramaretnam, Vaidthyanatha Iyer, Raghunathan and LIC Siva. Brothers of Srikanth namely Murali and Sridhar join on weekends and special occasions. Ambi BH Srinivasan continues to play a silent but crucial role in all proceedings.

Well known Tamil film music composer Sangeetha Chakravarthy G Ramanathan popularly known as GR who introduced the beauty of carnatic music into films was born in Bikshandarkoil. Other dreamers performers achievers from Bikshandarkoil include Dr BA Narayanan Senior Associate Director at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals USA, S Viswanathan Sr Principal Consultant (AVP) TCS Chnnai, S Ramesh Retail Business (Viveks Panasonic, Brandshops) veteran, Madras University Syndicate Member S Ramanathan Principal Asan Memorial College of Arts & Science Chennai, ASA Krishnan Ministry of Electronics & IT New Delhi, Muthusamy Entreprenuer for manufacture of flavors – fragrances specialty chemicals

More names include BN Prakash Textile Engineer, Highly acclaimed engineers with trail blazing careers Gudai BV Natarajan (IIT Madras) & Seeni BV Ramaratnam, Prof BS Raman Pharmacy Professor JIPMER Pondicherry, BR Muralidharan CEO Equinox Mumbai, Social worker BR Karthikeyan Southern Railway Golden Rock, Prof BR Srinivasan Goa, BK Ramaretnam Software Engineer PNB Paribas Chennai, Prof BR Natarajan former Dean BITS Pilani and presently Professor Banasthali Vidyapith Rajasthan second best women’s university in the world.

With changing times, Solar LED lantern has replaced the kerosene oil Hurricane Lamp. The Bhajanai attracts non Brahmins who participate with great enthusiasm also in good numbers at Pillayar temple and perumal temple. Thanks to a liberal offer by Valambal Chellammal mami for using their house as Bhajanai Matam, efforts on to renovate the dilapidated house with sheet roofing. Everyday Pongal distribution costs INR 600/- and Radha Kalyanam Budget in which about 1000 people are fed is about INR 200,000.

This year for organizing the Margazhi proceedings including the Radha Kalyana celebrations, President is Ragunathan, Secretary is Muthusamy and Treasurer BR Kartikeyan. Large hearted tradition loving folks of Bikshandarkoil are welcome to come forward and donate for sustaining the century old legacy and heritage of this village.

BK Ramaretnam
West Agraharam Bikshandarkoil
Phone +91 89034 61735

Bikshandarkoil Chronicle focuses on highlighting the glory of this village in Tiruchirapalli district of Tamilnadu and its dreamers, performers and achievers.

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