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Utsavaprabandha: A musical work describing the principal festival in Sri Padmanabha Swamy Temple.

Among the musical descriptions, the Utsavaprabandha stands out as the most important. It is a graphic description of the ten day principal festival in the Padmanabhaswami temple. It is written in what is called Manipravalam which is the name given for highly Sanskritised Malayalam. It contains 12 songs and 42 verses in different metres, most of them long. It is divided into twelve sections each containing a song and a few verses. The first section is an Introduction and the last a Conclusion, and the remaining ten are devoted to the description of the utsava, one for each day. Many of the songs have only Pallavi and Charanas. The Charanas in most cases are five in numbers. The song describing the tenth day's procession runs as a continuous narrative without division into the usual components. Among the ragas used are the rare Navarasam and Mangalakaisika.

In 1839 Palghat Parameswara Bhagavatar, the chief Asthana Vidvan, sang the Prabandha in a distinguished assembly in the presence of the Maharaja. He was presented a pair of laced garments and a sum of Rs.300. The Nagaswaram players in the temple use these songs during festivals. During the night procession on the first day and the evening procession on the other days, the particular songs for the day is played soon after the Deeparadhana ritual near the Western entrance, after the alapana of the concerned raga during the Deeparadhana in a prescribed pattern.

To listen to Utsavaprabandha Kritis, go to compositions/afterworks links and check on “select composition by form” and click on “Utsavaprabandham”. Palakkad K.V. Narayana Swami is the most noted singer who has popularized the Utsavaprabandha composition.

( Extracts from Swathi Thirunal and his Music by Sri. Venkita Subramoniya Iyer. Courtesy : College Book House Publications, Thiruvananthapuram)


Dept. of Culture,Govt of Kerala,India, Centre for Development of Imaging Technology & Vailoppally Sanskriti Bhavan  
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