A thin, cold air wraps the ‘Mada’ streets of Mylapore—the four streets around the iconic Kapaleswarar Temple. The locality has bestirred itself by six in the morning, with a few shops and coffee stalls open for business. And then the tunes of a bhajan resonate from one of the streets.
The singers are a group of thirty men, women and children, marching slowly, their chorus hanging in the air, as they halt at intersections to register their presence. After an hour of ambulatory singing, the group returns to its starting point—the eastern tower of the temple. After a short crescendo, the bhajan ends.
“We will be back tomorrow around the same time; this has been our daily ritual during Maargazhi (the Tamil month between mid-December and mid-January) for many years,” says K. Santosh, a finance manager in an MNC. He admits that not many are accomplished singers but are united by their love for music and devotion to Lord Krishna.
A similar interest in Tamil devotional hymns called...