Marghazhi masa bhajanai !!

When I see people with scarves around their head covering their ears or wearing sweater during the so-called winter months in Namma Chennai, I wonder if it’s really so cold here !!!  For Chennai is known for its hot-hotter-hottest kind of climate through-out the year !!! Probably December and January are just pleasant where the sweat is less !!

Marghazhi – The Tamil month that starts by Dec 15th and ends by Jan 13th.  Probably night temperatures dip till 20°C. While the people in Chennai call this month the coldest, I find it very pleasant and comfortable to go around the city. You will be surprised to see many a people with their ears covered with the new headphone like protective gear 🙂 And some even with a kind of head band, but that covers only the ears 🙂 What multipurpose stuff people make huh !!! 😀

But the same me, felt that Chennai is terribly cold during the Marghazhi, as I readied myself, 3 decades back, to a cold morning Bhajanai – a musical troupe singing praises of the God, walking through the roads in the quiet early morning hours.

There is this theory that one day of the God equals one year in the life of man.  People have already identified the correlation to God’s timings to the months of the year.

The month of Marghazhi is supposed to be the most auspicious time to pray to God, as it’s the time the God wakes up from his slumber.  And all that you pray with a sincere heart during this month happens for good.

It was my maternal grandpa, who insisted that I should go along with him for the bhajanai, that cold morning, 3 decades back. And so I awoke early, by about 4am, and got ready to go with him for the bhajanai. My cute kollu patti (my mom’s grandmother), came and gave me her sweater, which is basically a blouse and is to be worn with a sari. As I was so thin, it hung loosely on my shoulders. I was actually thrilled to be wearing that sweater and assumed to myself that Chennai is really cold during Marghazhi.

Probably it was misty during the early morning hours, but people here found that extremely chill. The changes in climate all over the world have had its effects in the mist of Chennai too. Presently, the Marghazhi is quite a pleasant month, where we don’t sweat much at this coastal city of Chennai. Tourists flock the city for the famous Marghazhi Festival in all the Musical Sabhas. It’s also referred to as the December Festival.

Getting back to my bhajanai group, I find that I am the only girl in the whole group of elders (all of them were my grandfather’s friends), each one holding a musical instrument like a Sruthi box, Tambura and other small instruments to maintain the rhythm.

The leader of this singing group had to be a good singer, so that he can guide this group to some sort of singing, without any mishaps to the ragam or the thalam of the song.

When the leader sang and all of us would follow him, while walking the people in the streets in a synchronised manner. Probably we woke many a people out of their deep slumber.  Some people come out and gave rice or dal to this singing group. All these collection of grains were used in making the prasadam at the temple the next day.

The thought of prasadam invokes a big smile from the bottom of my stomach, as I’ve gobbled many a cups of this awesome prasadam everyday. This is one of the main reasons that I didn’t feel bad getting up so early. And that prasadam is the fantastic ghee dripping Venn pongal. That taste is so divine that it still lingers in my mouth, after so many years.

I’ve absolutely enjoyed those bhajanai sessions and the accompanying prasadam sessions. While I don’t remember any of the songs I sang, I still remember the taste of the Pongal! 😀

Now, to learn how to make this awesome Venn Pongal, head over here !!! 😀


21 Replies to “Marghazhi masa bhajanai !!”

            1. We call this Dhanur maasa. And we used to go to temple everyday at 5 too 🙂 Standing in the queue used to become more bearable thanks to the prasada 😛 And Amma used to make both the Kaara pongal (i.e Venn pongal) and sweet pongal at home too during the month 🙂

              Lovely memories Ums!


  1. Yes Swaru….that Venn pongal which we get from the temple is something to die for !!! We can never match that taste at home !
    Am glad to have taken you through memory lanes 🙂


  2. Wow! this is super eh? I didnt knwo about the bhajanai group walking to collect rice and dal…I thought it was always done in a Kovil..but again, my Madras knowledge is equal to zero despite having a dad who grew up there!

    It must have been super for you na 🙂


  3. Hehe..Its funny that I came here after reading about the Venn Pongal post of yours 🙂

    Absolutely agree.. prasadams taste best and that can never be matched by home made food! Brings back cute memories 🙂


  4. read your older post on margazhi. loved the kolam tale. brought back childhood memories.
    more than our kolams, we(me and my sisters) were interested in what our neighbours will draw. we used to go for a walk to see what others have drawn in that dawn and capture it with our mind camera. now here also i draw big kolams using the kolam books, but that enthusiasm is missing.
    and that story of bhajans ! lovely ! should share it with my children.
    thank you for this wonderful post uma!


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