Procession of the gods at festival time

Celebrations inside Sri Kapali Temple lend colour and touch to the annual Sundaram Finacne Mylapore Festival. But the 2012 edition which got over some days ago hared space with the gods. Literally.

Every morning and on some evenings, the gods were taken out in procession through the multi-pillared mantap on the eastern side. The performers took a break and the stage was dismantled.

On Sunday evening, the pournami panchamoorthigal procession was a grand one and as the winners of the second kolam contest got down from the stage, clutching their trophies and gifts, Lord Ganesha led the retinue to the beating of drums and music of the band.

For the organizers, this was an opportunity to merge the cultural and the religious, the sacred and the open spaces. The Festival had its highpoints.

The Vanna Mayil production got better over the days – a DVD on the production which highlights the less known communities of Mylapore will be out soon. Dance guru Revathi Ramachandran who collaborated on this show even got her sishyas’ mothers to go on stage, highlighting saris to focus on the work of our weavers.

The dayakattam and pallankuzhi contests got bigger; the volunteers had a tough time setting off the contests. Such was the enthusiam of the contestants. The positives – many children are keen to play these games.

The Kolam Contest on Sunday was the biggest – 110 people designed kolams and many were so intricate that the judge short-listed 20 and then decided on the best 15, the winners.

Prem from ChennaiStream, with support from Pushpa Videos web streamed the contest – for people around the world to watch what has come to be a special event. That video is now available on the Fest web site (www.mylaporefestival.com).
Two low profile events got a lot of attention.

The artisans sponsored by TN Handicrafts Dev. Corporation who came from Thanjavur and Swamimalai demonstrated to Fest visitors their craft. To many, the art of making the world famous ‘Thanjavur plates’ was an eye-opener.

The exhibition of a collection of 35 photos of the black ad white era of events, people and places of Mylapore evoked a huge response. Collated by R. Saravanan, photographer of Mylapore Times, the series of campus life at Rani Meyyammai School, R A Puram aroused much curiosity and discussion.

Heritage Walks ( four were held on Sunday morning) also evoked a good response. They had to be bunched because Sunday is the only time that people have to join such walks. Some of these Walk will be repeated this year.

Sannidhi Square, the stage for the core cultural events of the Fest demands a lot and local businesses and residents have always been welcoming. Rasi Silks and Shanti Dresses, two well-known businesses and Kanchipuram Silks Spare space to accommodate equipment and artistes while Raman opens his doors through four days for dancers and actors to ready for their acts.

The Food and the Art Streets, as it always happens were packed to capacity. The cooks from Pattambi who offered Kerala snacks on their menu got a taste of what it means to cater to people at a street fest. The pittu-kadalai combo was the best seller here.

The Mylapore Quiz is now part of the quizzers calendar but quizmasters V V Ramanna and Ram Shankar didn’t make it easy for the 50-odd people who attended it on Sunday. Karthik Bhatt and Srinivasa Ramanujam were the winners.

This year’s ‘Spirit of Mylapore’ award, made by Sundaram Finance was given to Rasi Silks which has been a big city-based brand in silks. Its GM received the award on behalf of the owners.

Thanks to the Mylapore Police the Kolam Display was on North Mada Street till 7 p.m. and since it was floodlit, hundreds of people who headed to the Fest or Sri Kapali Temple took time to appreciate the creative carpet.

Clearly, with state support and local enthusiasm, the events in the open spaces are what makes this Festival special.

Photos and videos of the Fest are posted on the web site. For queries, e-mail to – mylaporefestival@yahoo.com

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