Concert in Veena Navaratri

Played mrudangam for the veena concert of Veena Venkataramani at Narada Gana Sabha Main Hall today (21st Sep 2008). The concert was a part of the Veena Navaratri festival organized by The Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, Veena Foundation, Narada Gana Sabha, Sri Parthasarathy Swami Sabha, Sri Krishna Gana Sabha & Kartik Fine Arts.

A brief review of the concert has come in the newspaper “The Hindu”. The same can be accessed online at this link.



Veena: Veena Venkataramani

Mrudangam: R. Ramkumar (That’s me)


List of songs:

1) Ekadantam bhajEham – bilahari – misra cApu – muthuswAmi dIkSitar 

2) kanjadaLAyatAkSi – manOhari – Adi – muthuswAmi dIkSitar (S)

3) saraswati vidhiyuvati – hindOLam – rUpakam – muthuswAmi dIkSitar (AST)

4) shyAmaLE mInAkSi (nOTTuswaram) – shankarAbharaNam – catusra Ekam – muthuswAmi dIkSitar 


(Key: O=raga outline, A=raga alapana, N=neraval, S=kalpana swaram, T=taniavartanam)

Concert for Nadopasana

Played mrudangam for the vocal concert of Vid. Niranjana Srinivasan at Dakshinamurthy Auditorium, R.K. Mutt Road, Mylapore on 13th Sep 2008. The concert was organized by Nadopasana.



Vocal: Vid Niranjana Srinivasan

Violin: Vid Sudha R.S. Iyer

Mrudangam: R. Ramkumar (That’s me)


List of songs:

1) calamEla (varnam) – darbAr – Adi – tiruvOTriyUr tyAgayyar

2) vijayAmbikE – vijayanAgari – Adi – muthiAh bhAgavatar (S)

3) nArAyaNa divya nAmam – mOhanam – Adi – pApanAsam sivan (A)

4) shrI pArthasArathinA – suddha dhanyAsi – rUpakam – muthuswAmi dIkSitar (S)

5) pakkala nilabaDi – kharaharapriyA – misra cApu – tyAgarAja (ANST)

6) kAkkai ciraginilE – sivaranjani – Adi – subramaNya bhArati (O)



(Key: O=raga outline, A=raga alapana, N=neraval, S=kalpana swaram, T=taniavartanam)

Concert at Vidwath Samajam, Mylapore

Played mrudangam for the vocal concert of Vid. Ganga Mani at Sri Thiagaraja Sangeetha Vidwath Samajam, Mylapore on 27th Aug 2008.


Vocal: Vid Ganga Mani

Violin: Vid Karaikal Venkatasubramaniam

Mrudangam: R. Ramkumar (That’s me)


List of songs:

1) jalajAkSA (varnam) – hamsadwani – Adi – mAnmbuchAvaDi venkaTa subbaiyer (S)

2) shrI mahAganapatE – AbhOgi – kandDa cApu – n.s. rAmacandran (AS)

3) jaya jaya padmanAbha – maNiranG – Adi – swAti tirunAL

4) hiraNmayIm – lalitA – rUpakam – muthuswAmi dIkSitar (ANS)

5) dinamaNi vamsha – harikAmbhOji – Adi – tyAgarAja 

6) koluvaiyyunnADE – bhairavi – Adi – tyAgarAja (AST)

7) dasharatha rAma gOvindA – yadukulakAmbOji – misra cApu & catusra Ekam – bhadrAcala rAmadAsa

8 ) shAntam shAsvatam apramEyamanagham – shLOkam – yamunAkalyANi

shrI rAmacandra krupAlu – yamunAkalyANi – misra cApu – tulsidAs

9) shrI venkaTEsanAtham – brindAvana sArangA – Adi (tg) – gaurishankar sthapathi

10) ni nAma rUpa mulaku (mangaLam) – saurAshTram – Adi – tyAgarAja

(Key: O=raga outline, A=raga alapana, N=neraval, S=kalpana swaram, T=taniavartanam)

A Wednesday

Bollywood is on a roll! Four good movies released in the span of last 3 weeks – all with different themes. The latest addition to this list is “A Wednesday” – an engrossing, neatly made and well paced movie that kept me glued to my seat throughout. After a long time, Anupam Kher and Naseeruddin Shah seemed to have got roles that did justice to their capabilities. Jimmy Shergill and Aamir Bashir played their parts very well. A very impressive directorial debut by Neeraj Pandey!

Trip to Tiruvannamalai

Went on a weekend trip to Tiruvannamalai which is located about 185 kms from Chennai. The route we took was Chennai – Tambaram – Melmaruvathur – Tindivanam – Senji (Gingee) – Tiruvannamalai.  While traveling on the highway from Chennai to Tindivanam, one has to take a right turn about 4 km before reaching Tindivanam and proceed towards Senji. There are a lot of sign boards and it is difficult to get lost if one is following them properly. We reached Tiruvannamalai in about 3.5 hours (including the time for breakfast). 

Places visited:

1. Arunachaleswarar Temple:


Tiruvannamalai Temple (Photo courtesy



It is considered to be one of the most important Shaivite shrines and is located in a huge campus with the Annamalai hill in the backdrop. The temple is beautifully constructed with 9 gopurams. There are 4 gopurams on the external walls, one in each direction. The main Rajagopuram faces the east.  

Many greats have worshipped in this temple. Sri Ramana Maharishi did penance in a cave in this temple that houses the pAtALa lingam. Manickavasagar and Arunagirinathar worshipped here. Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar sang “aruNAcalanAtham” in sArangA on the Lord of this temple. rA refers to agni and there is a lot of usage of “rA” throughout this song as this kshetram is linked to agni, one of the five elements (The raga itself is sArangA which has rA in it)

2. Ramanashramam:



This is the ashram where Ramana Maharishi lived and is located a couple of kms to the south of the temple. The Maharishi left his home when he was 16 and had a unique experience then. The fear of death took over him and he started dramatizing what would happen if he died. Upon doing that he realized that he is actually the soul within the body and not the body itself. He left home, went to the Tiruvannamalai temple and started doing penance there. 

The ashram is a very calm place sought by people from around the world. I could spot many peacocks here which added to the place’s beauty. Free food is given everyday to people who visit the ashram. We stayed in the ashram’s guest house located across the road from the ashram. We were not charged for our stay and it was left to us to donate whatever we wanted to. The ashram has a library where one can read about Ramana Maharishi and his thoughts. 

3. Seshadri Swamigal Ashramam:


This is the ashram of another great ascetic – Sri Seshadri Swamigal. He was the one who identified Ramana Maharishi doing penance inside a cave in the Tiruvannamalai temple, brought him out and spoke about his greatness. This ashram is also a calm place very similar to Ramanashramam and is located near it (about 2 kms to the south of the Tiruvannamalai temple). One can book rooms and stay here. 


4. Girivalam:




Girivalam refers to circumambulation of the Annamalai hill. One is supposed to do this barefoot. People normally start doing this from the Rajagopuram of the Tiruvannamalai temple, travel clockwise around the hill and complete it by coming back to the Rajagopuram. However some locals opined that one can start from any place around the hill and should complete girivalam by coming back to the starting point. The total distance is about 14 km and is supposed to be covered barefoot. The roads were nice for most part of the trip, except for the portions within the city where there was a lot of traffic and had a lot of pebbles. We started at about 5.30 AM in the morning and covered this in about 3 hours. 

There is a huge crowd during pournami days and the roads will be full of people. Since we didn’t do girivalam on a pournami day, we found the roads a bit deserted and were advised not to begin it before 5AM in the morning.