The first day of the Sundaram Finance Mylapore Festival began with the early morning kutcheri at Nageswara Rao Park, with the auspicious notes of the nadaswaram. The students of Mylai Rajendran filled the morning air with melody.
By evening the festive spirit slowly spread to the Mylapore temple area.
A few heritage homes in the Mada Streets were decorated with serial lights, creating an aura of festivity. Pitchu Pillai Street became the hub for artists, with Stella Maris' Fine Arts Department students demonstrating their talents. Student artists from the College of Fine Arts, Egmore, did quick pencil portraits of visitors, while nari kuravas sat close by selling their paasi mani.
The photo exhibition of people, events and places of Mylapore in the 50s and 60s, opened on Kumara-gurunathan Street, alongside the temple wall. Also here will be the display of entries to the Festival Photo Contest. (see mylaporefestival.com for info on this contest).
The programmes in the quadrangle, held off the eastern temple gopuram, were delayed because of a court case filed by two stores here, on some issues related to the conduct of this fest.
The show began with a nadaswaram recital by Mylai R. Mahendran and party, followed by the concert by forty young violinists, of C. A. Rajasekar Violin Academy (CARVA). The children delighted the audience with their performance. Some were so young, they were barely out of the kindergarten!
The shows wound up with the folk art show by Parasuraman and party.
At Sri Velleeswarar Temple, (S. Mada Street) the classical dance performance was presented by the students of Divyanjali. Padmaja, who had come all the way from Kalpakkam to dance with her guru Divyasena's other students was excited that she was dancing in the temple.
Her mother and grandmother were delighted, they said that she was dancing at the heritage area where they grew up and lived.
This weekend, head to where the action is
There is still two days of music, dance and heritage events for people to soak in at the Sundaram Finance Mylapore Festival. And the highlight of the festival is of course the kolam contests to be held on both days at the far end of North Mada Street and East Mada Street. More than 200 women will prove their artistry on the street, weaving patterns. A special contest is also on for children. (begins 3.45pm)
Also on the cards is a heritage tour by cycle rickshaw. Starting from the Luz Church, the tour will take people through the lanes of Mylapore and to the nooks of San Thome on Saturday and on Sunday. Both tours are full . . . but there will be more after Pongal!
On both days, there will be Carnatic music at Nageswara Rao Park (6.30am daily). The walkers are so delighted that they plan to have a fellowship on Sunday!
Back to the Sri Kapali Temple area, the 'Kokkalikattai' stilt performers will wade through the crowd, showing off their skills and art!
Bharatanatyam dance shows are on at Sri Velleeswarar Temple (6.30pm on Sat. and 7pm on Sunday).
You can watch Thamizh street plays by 'Chennai Kalai Kuzhu', on both days at around 6 pm at the quadrangle off the eastern gopuram of the temple. On Saturday evening, a Thamizh mythological drama, 'Ramayanathil Oru Iravu', goes on the boards.
Be all ears, 'The History of The Music Academy: 1927 to 1962' a talk by writer-historian V. Sriram will take place at the Lady Sivaswami campus on Saturday. And on Sunday social historian Randor Guy will talk on 'Legal Eagles of Mylapore'.
Brainstorm at the Quiz on Tamilnadu, which is to be held at the Lady Sivaswami campus on Sunday afternoon. That evening, Aseema Trust presents Bharatanatyam and Kalaripayattu dance shows by children on the stage outside the temple, at about 5 pm.
The troupe is scheduled to fly in from Spain where it is attending a major fest. The Mylapore show is a special!
A special treat awaits all those who are crazy about vintage Tamil songs. Especially T. M. Soundararajan fans - 'Ezhisai mannarin ezhisai Geethangal', a film music concert by Madhu's Viswaraag on Sunday, after 6pm.
Pitchupillai Street is the 'Art Street' for you; so be there. Avail of the sale on Tamil books by leading publishers, at the Kapali East Tank Street.
Handicrafts Bazaar self help groups and a food fest are the other features of the festival.
Get the aura of 'Indian Wisdom' at the photo exhibition at Nageswara Rao Park brought to you by the French Embassy and the Alliance Francaise, Chennai.
Kids can take part in the painting competitions at both Lady Sivaswami campus (there is one more on Sunday, 4 pm, by Namma Mylapore, inside the temple tank, off S. Mada Street)
If you are serious about soaking in at this fest, then do not leave the place without picking up some great souvenirs -T-shirts in different colors and sizes, jute and paper bags made by a women's NGO and sketches of Mylapore. They are on sale at the info booth near the temple ther, off East Mada Street.