Hello Trichy! I am in the temple town of Trichy to uncover the food trail in and around the region. I head to the ‘Island town of Srirangam’ (atleast that’s how realty promoters market it). The crowds scare me that I almost give on the temple when I meet Ambuja Maami from the ‘Araiyar’ family who takes me right into the temple royally. The word Araiyar in tamil means Arasan or King. This family is suppposed to be the direct descendants of Naadhamunigal who first set the Divya Prabhandams to tune and choreographed abinayams (expressions) for the ‘Araiyar Sevai’. The ‘Araiyar Sevai’ is an art form over 1000 years where the men wearing the traditional ‘Panchakacham and Araiyar kulla’ that is adorned with Shanku, Chakram and Thiruman perform this beautiful form of ritual singing and dancing in praise of the Lord.
A random meet turns out to be a great start to learn about the history of this art form and the descendants. And do you know the best part? We get talking as we circumbulate the temple and over fresh hot filter coffee in her house. Thanks Ambuja maami
The Araiyar men wearing the traditional 'Panchakacham and Araiyar kulla' Photo courtesy: anudinam.org