Momentous occasion at the Big Temple in Tanjavur 
- S Janaki, Chennai
Photo: Gnansundaram

September 30, 2010

It was a thrilling experience to dance with 1000 plus dancers at the Brihadeeswara Temple in Tanjavur on 25th September. The 1000th year celebration was indeed a momentous and historical occasion. The vast expanse of the temple was absolutely amazing and awe-inspiring coz the 1000 + dancers snugly fitted onto the raised platform space around the Big Nandi. Beyond this space were the open praakaaram, then the lawns and then the wide corridors. One felt like a small speck in the vast universe - Aangikam bhuvanam yasya, vaachikam sarva vaangmayam....

Janaki is 2nd from left, in pink costume
All the 1000 dancers performed three items in unison – the Ganesa Kavuthuvam, the Tiruvisaippa or Thanjai Rajarajeswaram Tirupathigam by Karuvur Tevar, and Adi Sankara’s ‘Nagendra haraya’. The Rajarajeswaram song was an apt selection by ABHAI President Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam as it describes the consecration of the “fort-temple” (the refrain goes as "Inji choozh Tanjai") 1000 years ago. If the song captured the grand spectacle of the temple, the caparisoned elephants, the royal presence of numerous kings in their shimmering finery, the performance by 1000 plus dancers too created a memorable grand colourful spectacle. 

And as the last strains of the song faded away under the velvet star-spangled moonlit canopy, it was overwhelming. Aahaaryam chandra taaraadi... I had mixed feelings. Our eyes were moist with tears - tears of sadness that such a beautiful occasion was coming to a close, that the unique offering was over; tears of happiness for having danced for the towering resplendent Lord Brihadeeswara in His abode, for being fortunate enough to be part of such a historical occasion.... Tum numah saatvikam Sivam.

S Janaki is the Executive Editor, Sruti.