Tag Archives: Swati Tirunal

Songs on Kashi Viswanath

Varanasi is one of the most fascinating cities in the world. It draws millions of pilgrims from all parts of the world. Hindus believe that a dip in the river Ganges washes away their sins. The Kashi Viswanath temple is one of the oldest temples in the world and has been mentioned in the Skanda Purana. The temple has been destroyed and reconstructed several times since it was originally built. The current temple was constructed by Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore in 1780.

Here are some songs that have been composed in praise of the presiding deity of the temple – Viswanath or Visweswara.

Sri Viswanatham Bhajeham.The Chathurdasha Ragamalika by Muthuswamy Dikshithar is a unique composition which describes the lord of the 14 worlds in 14 different ragas. The name of the raga is interwoven in the lyrics. Here is the rendition of this song by M.L.Vasanthakumari.

Vishweswara is an evocative bhajan by Swati Tirunal, the Maharaja of Travancore who lived in the 19th century.

Here is a collection of bhajans on Kashi Viswanath.

Varanasi or Benares is a city that makes one think beyond the mundane. The first time I visited, the city drew me in and I knew I was going to return. Here is a piece I wrote about Varanasi for the Hindu after my first trip.

Manipravalam & More

Swati Tirunal was a multifaceted genius whose breadth of compositions ranged from varnams, kirthanams (including the Navaratri series, Navavidha Bhakthi series, Utsav Prabandham) to padams, tillanas, ragamalikas and the Hindustani bhajans and khayals. The Venkateshwara temple in Pittsburgh, USA celebrated the music of this phenomenal composer recently. Here is a short video from my concert featuring some of the works of this composer.

Manipravalam was a mix of Sanskrit and Tamil, a precursor to Malayalam. The Utsav Prabandham kirthanams describe the 10-day festival held at the Padmanabhaswamy temple in Trivandrum. The Manipravalam kirthanam in raga Huseini describes a conversation between two devotees watching the ceremonial parade of the idol seated on a lotus. The devotees speculate on the identity of the idol wondering if it is Indra, Chandra, Shiva, Surya, Kubera and after a series of negation realize that it is none other than Nirajanabha.

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Swati Tirunal – Thematic Concert 23 September Pittsburgh