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Navarathri Sangeetholsavam

Navarathri is the 9 day festival dedicated to Goddess Durga. This festival is celebrated with huge fervour across India and Kerala is no exception to the rule. Sangeet means music and Ulsavam means festival. Therefore Sangeetholsavam means “music festival”. All throughout these 9 days, Kerala is full of life. This is a festive and joyous season for people all over Kerala. Classical music is played across the various stages in the state.

The Travancore royal family is held in high regards and respect by the people of Kerala simply because of their devotion to God and the importance they gave to Kerala’s culture and tradition. The kings in the Travancore kingdom were known by their birth stars, like Aththam Thirunaal, Thirvonam Thirunaal, Anusham Thirunaal etc. Swati Thirunaal was one of the famous rules from the Travancore clan. He was highly talented in the field of music and is considered to be the music maestro of Kerala. During the Navarathri Sangeetholsavam, it is his compositions, popularly known as kritis that are being sung my musicians all over Kerala.

These music festivals are held in great grandeur in all the major cities of Kerala. The highlight of these festivals is the brilliant sound technology that is used by the musicians. Most of the visitors from far across the globe come here just to have a look at the innovative sound amplifying systems used here. Earthen pots of different sizes are the fundamental tools needed for this system. Various earthen pots are hung from the ceiling through ropes made of coir. They are suspended in such a way that their mouths face downwards. The pots that are used for regulating sound are of various shapes, made from different thickness levels and the mouths of these pots are of different formats. There is no restriction on the number of pots to be used. These pots are arranged in various angles across the venue of the Sangeetholsavam. When the music program starts, these pots act as superb tools in reducing echo effects and bring out the music in absolutely lovely quality. This acoustic technique has surprised even the shrewdest sound engineers in the world.

In addition to the brilliant sound quality, the stages where the music shows are performed are illuminated by traditional oil lamps. In an era where fluorescent and LED lights are used in huge numbers even for the smallest of functions, the Navarathri Sangeetholsavam in Kerala stands out by using these traditional oil lamps for lighting. All famous temples in Kerala and especially the ones having Goddess Durga as the main deity are fully illuminated by oil lamps during the Navarathri music festival times. Tourists, especially those from foreign countries are absolutely awestruck at the complete harmony of the oil lamps used and their exquisite arrangement. Most of them shoot videos of these music festivals and capture pictures of the brilliance of sound regulating earthen pots and the oil-lamps hit stages . These pictures were then published in leading travel magazines and thus the Navarathri Sangeetholsavam came to represent the soul of Kerala in its purest format.

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