An ode to Aadi and Ayyanar

The time of the year is here when grey clouds bless us in blistering afternoons, the clap of thunder overtakes the city noise and the rivers swell as rains welcome the Aadi season.

Published: 26th July 2022 01:22 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th July 2022 02:38 PM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

CHENNAI:  The time of the year is here when grey clouds bless us in blistering afternoons, the clap of thunder overtakes the city noise and the rivers swell as rains welcome the Aadi season. To celebrate in full flair after a reserved affair in the pandemic, DakshinaChitra (DC) will be hosting the Ayyanar Aadiperukku Festival from July 28 to 31. 

“Aadi Perukku is often celebrated on a river bank (the major one in Tamil Nadu is Kaveri). When the water begins touching the banks of the river, people welcome it into their lives as it will provide irrigation for the next six months. This also marks the onstart of all the festivals at DakshinaChitra,” explains Muhilann Murugan, programme officer, DC. The same will materialise at the festival with performances as well, including ‘Moda Melam’ folk music by Duraisamy and the troupe.

“This is a very graceful artform which is from Erode and Kangeyam region. They usually perform this art for Mariamman, who is also associated with the Aadi month,” Muhilann adds. Moda melam or moda mathalam is a percussion instrument made with clay. The performance will be an ensemble of percussion instruments with this local feature. “One thing about this performance is that when we think about Sangam literature and Agananooru, there is a mention of this modal melam. We have used that line of inspiration to invite the performers for the festival this time”. 

Aadi Perukku will accompany the celebration of Ayyanar as well, who is seen as the guardian of the city, as Muhilann explains, at their in-house Ayyanar temple. “Ayyanar can be anything. He doesn’t need to be flourished in a huge temple. He can also be a stone on the side of the road,” he notes.

“Down south, Ayyanar has always been associated with the potter community. It is them who initiate the offerings and prayers. We are doing things in a similar way with our in-house potter doing the puja and offering terracotta figurines for the temple, followed by a procession and the mulaipaari,” he continues. Two areas in the DakshinChitra premises have already been sown with navadaanyam for the mulaipaari and the sprouts will be offered to thank Kaveri maata. Furthermore, the potter in-house will also make an offering of figurines shaped — by him — in the forms of a dog and goat (because we often see pets as something to worship, Muhilann explains).

Those who visit the festival on the first day will also be able to purchase Thammampatti wood carvings, which are signature artworks of craftspeople in the Salem region. “At the festival, we wanted to encourage craftsmen from the state. We have invited Mr Sengottuvel, who is a second generation artiste. He actually has studied Bio Tech Engineering but quit his job and started pursuing the craft. He is also teaching his son the same now,” he says. 

For more details, call Muhilann Murugan at 8220835682. The standard visitation fee will be applicable for visitors.  


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