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21st revival staging of
December 8, 2019 Tirukurungudi
The temple at Thirukurungudi, in the Tirunelveli district in southern Tamilnadu is a sacred center rich in history and legend. A massive structure in the heart of a cluster of small villages, this Vishnu temple is home to an array of stunning sculptures and workmanship of the 12th century Nayak rulers.
Thirukurungudi is the only sacred site for the annual ritual called KAISIKA NATAKAM. This is an all-night drama and dance performance laced with the story of a demon who demands the life of a devotee preparing to offer prayers to the Lord on this special night which falls in the lunar month of Kaisiki (mid-November/early December). The ensuing debate and the actual ritual, saturated with eloquent poetry in old Tamil, snatches of humour and dance attracted thousands to this shrine in the belief that it was a special blessing to remain awake all night in the presence of Lord Vishnu and witness this tale.
Alongside the revival of classical and folk arts in India during this century some of the obscure ritual arts had slowly drifted to atrophy. Traditional communities of dancers and musicians had fallen into disfavour with the elite and with them invaluable repertoire and literature of ritual-performances like Kaisika Natakam. Arangham has taken the responsibility of reviving this 10th century performance-art, unique to this temple. The responsibility extends far beyond the actual performance to social and cultural activism, to developing a new cluster of artistes who can study this ritual-art and perform it annually at Thirukurungudi at festival time.
Photos: Chella Video
6.30pm: BALA KAISIKAM, a shortened version of the KAISIKA NATAKAM ritual performed by the children of Tirukurungudi village
MOHINIATTAM by Nirmala Panicker and Ensemble
Main event: 21st revival staging of ritual dance theatre KAISIKA NATAKAM
Date: December 8, 2019
Time: 9pm to 3am
Venue: Azhagiya Nambi Temple, Tirukurungudi (near Tirunelveli), Tamilnadu