International Journal of Hindu Studies

, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 451–474 | Cite as

The Other Trinity: Saurashtra Histories of Carnatic Music

  • Archana VenkatesanEmail author


The paper examines the place of Veṅkaṭaramaṇa Bhāgavatar (1781–1874), Kavi Veṅkaṭasūri (1818–90), and Nāyakī Svāmikaḷ (1843–1914)—three nineteenth-century figures—in the Saurashtra reimagining of the history of the South Indian music tradition. Worshiped as the mummūrti, these three poet/saint/musicians are regarded by the Saurashtra community of Madurai as the alternative to the deified figures of Tyāgarāja (1767–1847), Muttusvāmi Dīkṣitar (1775–1835), and Śyāma Śāstri (1762–1827), canonical to the South Indian classical music tradition as it develops in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Engaging with recent scholarship on the cultural histories of South Indian music, the paper moves between the center and the periphery, between the cities of Madras and Madurai, to chart the (continuing) work of the Saurashtra community in rewriting the script for South Indian music.


Saurashtra Madurai South Indian music mummūrti music trinity Veṅkaṭsūri Veṅkaṭaramaṇa Bhāgavatar Naṭanagopāla Nāyaki Svāmikaḷ 


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Religious StudiesUniversity of California, DavisDavisUSA

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