Vellore Bhajan singers brave biting cold to carry forward tradition of rendering hymns on Margazhi night

Singing bhajans on the street for the entire Margazhi month has been the tradition in Ambur for generations.

Published: 13th January 2019 01:32 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th January 2019 01:32 AM   |  A+A-

Marghazhi season, Bhajan singers

The Bhajan singers of the Marghazhi season in Vellore. (Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

VELLORE: Chorus of hymns rends the air as the darkness is slowly disappearing to give way to light well before the day breaks, in the streets of Ambur close to the Naganathar Temple. A group of bhajan singers brave the biting cold, that binds the other residents to stay indoors, slowly meander through the streets rendering devotional songs, particularly 'Panniru Thirumarai'.

Musical instruments like 'Talam', Mruthangam and harmonium is played to match the tunes of the hymns.
Pious devotees of Lord Shiva wake up, though in small numbers, to host the bhajan singers. 

Singing bhajans on the street for the entire Margazhi month has been the tradition in Ambur for generations.

“I began to join the bhajan singers when I was studying 6th standard. I have been continuing to do it since then,” says 58-year-old K Hari Krishnan. He leads the troupe along with a retired teacher Annamalai in taking the tradition of Margazhi night time bhajan to the younger generations.

Students also show interest in the rendering of devotional songs shaking themselves out of the slumber on a cold night.

Hari Krishnan notes, “School students join when they have no examinations on the particular day. They are showing interest in singing the devotional songs.”

The troupe gathers in the Naganathar Temple on the wee hours, organise themselves, and set out on the streets. The bhajan begins around 5 am and lasts till 7.30 am. The singers move around Bazaar, Kamaraj Salai, Ellaiyamman Temple, Perumalcoil Street, Pillaiyar coil Street and Old Vaniyambadi Road before returning to the originating point.

Tirupugazh composed by Arunagirinathar is also rendered during the Margazhi night bhajan.

Some pious devotees offer the troupee a much needed refreshing tea, coffee or tiffin, to recoup energy and come to terms with the chill weather in the early morning. “If we are invited, we will step into the houses of devotees and sit there for 30 minutes rendering the hymns. They will offer us tea, or coffee, sometimes tiffin,” Hari Krishnan informs.

The current season began on Margazhi 1, that fell on December 16 and is going to end in two days, on the last day of Margazhi that fall on Jan.15.


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