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Swathi Thirunal

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Svāti Tirunāḷ‍ Rāma Varma (16 April 1813 – 26 December 1846) was the Maharaja of the Kingdom of Travancore, British India. He is also considered as a brilliant music composer and is credited with over 400 classical compositions in both Carnatic and Hindustani style. A well-formulated code of laws, courts of justice, introduction of English education, construction of an observatory, installation of the first Government printing press, establishment of the first manuscripts library were amongst the many initiatives taken by Svāti Tirunāḷ‍, as a King, to modernise Travancore. Contributions to Music and Literature : Svāti Tirunāḷ‍ was deeply interested in music right from childhood. Besides being an able ruler, he was a patron of music and was a musician himself. Researchers say that Svāti Tirunāḷ‍ affixed his compositions with the mudra Padmanabha padumanabha, sarasijanaabha, etc. and its synonyms. His education in music started with the first lessons from Karamana Subrahmania Bhagavathar and Karamana Padmanabha Bhagavathar. Later, he studied music from the then English scholar, Thanjavur Subba Rao as well. He continued to learn music by listening to accomplished musicians and practising himself. He encouraged both broad systems of Indian music, Hindustani and Carnatic music, though he was essentially a connoisseur of the Carnatic music tradition. He is credited with composing over 400 compositions in Carnatic and Hindustani music. Some of his favourite compositions were Padmanabha Pahi, Deva Deva, Devanke, Sarasijanabha and Sree Ramana Vibho. Svāti Tirunāḷ‍ was fluent in a number of languages including Malayalam, Sanskrit, Marathi, Telugu, Kannada, Hindustani, Bengali, Tamil, Oriya and English. This was a period when music and art were thriving in many parts of south India. The triumvirate of Carnatic music, Tyagaraja (1767–1847), Syama Sastri (1762–1827) and Muthuswami Dikshitar (1775–1835), lived and enriched music during this period. Svāti Tirunāḷ‍"s palace also was home to many musicians and artistes of the period, including the famous Thanjavur Quartet brothers, Tyagaraja"s disciple Kannayya Bhagavathar, Ananthapadmanabha Goswami (a Maharashtrian singer known as Kokilakanthameru swami), Shadkala Govinda Marar, and many others. The literary works of Maharajah Svāti Tirunāḷ‍ include Bhakti Manjari, Syanandurapuravarnana Prabandham, Padmanabhasatakam, Muhanaprasa Antyaprasa Vyavastha, Ajamila, Kuchela Upakhyanas and Utsava Varnana Prabandha. Legacy Swathi Sangeethotsavam : Prince Rama Varma, renowned South Indian Classical musician and descendant of Swathi Thirunal, organizes the Swathi Sangeethotsavam, a 10-day music festival featuring exclusively the compositions of Maharaja Swathi Thirunal. Eminent Carnatic and Hindustani musicians participate in this unique musical event, which is conducted every year from 4 to 13 January at Kuthira Malika, Trivandrum and attracts music aficionados from across the globe. Swathi Sangeetha Puraskaram : The award Swathi Sangeetha Puraskaram is instituted in the name of Maharaja Swathi Thirunal of Travancore to honour those musicians who have made valuable contributions to the field of music. It is also the highest honour for musicians by the Government of Kerala, India. In popular culture : In 1987, a Malayalam film titled Swathi Thirunal based on his life was released. It was directed by Lenin Rajendran. It stars Anant Nag in the title role, and Srividya, Ambika, Nedumudi Venu and Murali in other important roles. Compositions : Deva deva kalayami ta - Mayamalavagowla dEvanke - Darbari Dheem Ta dhuniku taka dhIm - Dhanasri jaya jaya padmanAbha murArE - Sarasangi kamala nayana jagadIswara - Vagadheeswari pAhi shrIpatE - Hamsadhwani sArasAksha paripAlaya mAmayi - Pantuvarali satatam tAvaka kara sEvitam - Kharaharapriya
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