If traditional performing arts interests you, then get a seat for two nights of Bhagavata Mela at the 2013 edition of the Sundaram Finance Mylapore Festival.
On the opening night, January 10 and on the next, a 25 member troupe from Melattur in Thanjavur will present two productions, one in Telugu and the other in Tamil.
This form of performing art traces its ancient roots to the Andhra region and only a handful of part time artistes practise it.
Mali and his team is one troupe and this team will present the two productions on the main stage of the fest, the Sannidhi Square ( eastern side of Sri Kapali Temple).
Main Stage Shows
The main stage shows hold the Fest together. On Thursday and Friday, they start with nadaswaram at 7 p.m allowing for the peak hour traffic to die down.
However, the buzz gets going at 5 p.m. Offered to guests are the Cyclerickshaw Tours that start from the Fest Office near the ther. 2 rickshaws, by turn will take 2 adults on a 45 minutes tour through the lanes and streets that lie between North Mada Street and Bazaar Road.
The Tour is offered on all 4 days of the Fest, the last one closing at 7.30 pm – best for people who wish to get a quiet dekko of the old part of this city.
Life on Inner Streets
As always, the inner streets will come alive after 7 p.m. on Thursday. Particularly new this year is a lane where young and amateur artists are invited to display their paintings and drawings, put them up for sale.
Alongside, portraits and small print requests will be done.
Alongside the temple tank, scores of young men and women skilled in arts and crafts will get behind counters to offer all sorts of little things – beaded chains, rings, scarves, art designs and lifestyle accessories.
Yet another street springs to the smells of traditional snacks.
Saturday and Sunday (Jan 12 and 13th) are the peak activity days of the Festival, with events through the day and late into the night. Live shows on one side, smaller events on the fringe and the street-based sales and displays as always.
Contests and workshops for children are at the core of the Fest.
Plus, the elai sapad spread offer at three Mylapore houses is on offer on Sunday – to give guests a feel of traditional food and dining.
The Kolam Contests on North Mada Street are on the weekend too.
Concerts in the Park
As always, the mornings of the Fest are reserved for the ‘mikeless’ concerts at Nageswara Rao Park in Luz. As walkers and fitness folks do the rounds of the park at 6 a.m. groups of teens present classical music at the Chess Square. A mega team is expected to surprise the audience on Sunday next.
Events include evening dance recitals at Sri Kapali Temple, exhibition of photos of a Mylapore of the past and of the present and sale of souvenirs.
Besides T shirts, framed pictures and caps, coffee dabra sets (limited number) will be on sale at the Festival office, near the ther on Sannidhi Square.
This Festival is completely funded by Sundaram Finance and is planned and designed by Vincent D’ Souza and the Mylapore Festival team.
A blog, FaceBook page and the fest web site provide details and alerts. Log on to www.mylaporefestival.com.