Adhyayanotsavam Day 1: Tirukkurungudi

Adhyayanotsavam Day 1
Dec 19, 2017

Mattalam kotta vari cankam ninra uta….Kotai describes her dream wedding in these words. But it’s what ran through my mind in a loop as the first day of the Adhyayanotsavam came to a close at Tirukkurungudi. This festival, which I’ve now seen at several temples, is intense (as all festivals are) and emotionally demanding. I often wonder on Day 1 if I can survive to the end, to Alvar Moksam. Between the deep resonant recitation of the day’s Prabandham, to the astonishing alankaras, to the music and percussion bouncing off the walls, anubhava flowing in all directions in an almost visible electric current, your body feels completely possessed and taken over. Even though this festival is called the Adhyayanotsavam–The Festival of Recitation–it’s the visual spectacle that dominates the arangam. To anyone who has encountered alvar poetry, this is not at all unexpected. But it does give you kind of intimate insight into how the poems work and why they work the way do. It’s how poetry makes not just worlds, but gods too…enough with words. What can be said about such beauty?