What is the Swathi Sangeethotsav? The Swathi Sangeethotsav is a commemorative festival of Indian Classical music conducted annually in honour of Maharajah Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma of Travancore who besides being the King of Travancore during the period 1813-1846 was a famous classical musician and composer.  This festival is also known as the Swathi Festival and/or the Kuthiramalika Festival.

As one of the famous national music events in India, the Swathi Sangeethotsavam invites the great maestros of both Carnatic and Hindustani music to this festival which highlights Kerala's contribution to Indian Classical Music. It also aims at developing and sustaining interest in classical music in the young budding musical talents of today.

Where does this festival take place?  This festival takes place in Trivandrum, Kerala at the Kuthiramalika Palace (East Fort) which lends its name to this festival.  The Kuthiramalika Palace is where Maharajah Swathi Thirunal is said to have composed many of his timeless pieces.

How can we reach the Venue? By Air: Thiruvananthapuram International Airport is located at Valiyathura 6kms from the city. Many international air carriers operate daily flights to the Middle East, Male and Sri Lanka from Thiruvananthapuram. Indian Airlines has direct connections to Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai and Delhi. Jet Air (Gulf Air) has daily flights to Mumbai and Chennai.

By Rail: The main railway station is the Thiruvanananthapuram Central station located at Thampanoor about one and half kilometres from the Venue. There are daily trains such as Parasuram express, Malabar express and Cannanore express. There are also daily express trains to Kochi such as the Venad express, the Kerala express and the Vanchinad express.

By Road: Thampanoor is the main bus terminal in Thiruvananthapuram. Kerala State Transport operates a comprehensive service from Thiruvananthapuram, throughout the state and to Tamil Nadu. The city bus terminal is situated at Fort from where most of the city service originates. State and National Highways connect Thiruvananthapuram to all major Indian cities. 

Details of the Venue: Puthen Malika Palace most popularly known as Kuthiramalika (Mansion of Horses), is a palace built by Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma, on the south-eastern side of Padmanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram.   The palace gets its name from the 122 horses that are carved into the wooden wall brackets that support the southern roof. The official name of the palace is Puthen Malika (New Mansion). The palace forms part of a vast complex of royal buildings in the vicinity of Padmanabhaswamy Temple. The building was left unoccupied for more than a century, following the demise of Swathi Thirunal in 1846. Built in the 1840s, Kuthiramalika is a fine example of traditional Kerala architecture, with its typical sloping roofs, overhanging eaves, pillared verandahs and enclosed courtyards. Intricate carvings adorn the wooden ceilings with each room having a distinctive pattern.

A portion of Kuthiramalika has been converted to a Palace Museum that houses some of the assets owned by the Travancore Royal Family. The collection includes Kathakali mannequins, Belgian mirrors, crystal chandeliers, paintings, armaments, musical instruments, traditional furniture and other artifacts. On the right side of the mannequins are the ivory cradles of various sizes. The palace has on display two royal thrones, one made of ivory and the other of Bohemian crystal with the Travancore emblem 'conch' adorning the top of the backrest. The palace has a large collection of idols and sculptures made from white marble. On the first floor are rooms that once served as the audience chamber, the library and an alcove that Swathi Thirunal used for meditating and for conceiving many of his famous musical compositions. This place offers a direct view of the Padmanabhaswamy temple gopuram. One of the rooms displays an illusion portrait of Sree Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma, painted by Svetoslav Roerich. The face and the shoes of the king appear facing the onlooker from every corner of the room.

Information for Tourists: Kuthiramalika Palace Museum, Trivandrum, Ph: 2473952
Entry Fees:
Indian Nationals             Rs 10
Children                          Rs 3
Foreign Nationals           Rs 20
Museum timings:
8.30am to1 pm and 3-5 .30 pm (Monday closed) Camera Fee 15 (no photo inside)
Visitors to the museum must remove footwear before entering the inner palace and must be accompanied by a guide. The guide waits for a batch of at least 5 visitors to accompany.
Location and history: The Padmanabhaswamy Temple is Trivandrum’s most salient landmark Right next-door, in the East Fort, stands the Kuthiramalika Palace Museum also called the Puttan Malika Palace. This enclosure of several palaces forms the nexus of the Trivandrum Fort. Built in the 19th century by the famous poet monarch of Travancore, Maharaja Swathi Thirunal Balarama Varma, the Kuthiramalika Palace preserves the relics that represent the rich heritage of the erstwhile state of Travancore.
Display and attraction: The Kuthiramalika Palace Museum displays King Swathi Thirunal’s paintings and collection of musical instruments and an assortment of war arms belonging to the royal family of Travancore. The very first room tourists enter exhibits 14 life-size images portraying stills from the legends of Kerala and the traditional dance form of Kerala, Kathakali. Visitors are fascinated by the exquisitely carved ivory cots and thrones of the rulers. A musical tree that reproduces the seven 'swaras' or notes of Carnatic music when tapped is a major draw.  The Kuthiramalika Palace Museum is a major tourist attraction of the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram and is easily accessible. It is located at a distance of about 1 km from the Thiruvananthapuram Railway Junction and about 6 kms from the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport.

What are the dates of this festival? This festival takes place annually from January 6 to January 12 (both dates inclusive).

When do the concerts commence?  The concerts commence at 6pm.

When do the concerts finish?  There is no deadline and the musicians are free to perform as long as they would like to.  An observation from past years' is that the concerts generally finish by 9 or 9.30pm.

Is the Swathi Sangeethotsav a ticketed event? No.  The Swathi Festival is absolutely free of charge.

Is this festival open to all? Yes this festival is open to all those who wish to enjoy Indian classical music in its purest and most sublime form.

What are the seating arrangements like at the festival? Chairs are laid out in the Kuthiramalika compound facing the centre stage where the musicians perform. 

How can we ensure a seat of our preference? These concerts have an increasing attendance year after year and therefore the only way to ensure a preferred seat is to arrive at the venue early enough!

What compositions are performed at this Festival? The compositions performed at this festival are solely those composed by Maharaja Swathi Thirunal.  These may be either Carnatic or Hindustani.

Are the concerts purely vocal or is any other form of music performed? The concerts are both vocal and instrumental in Carnatic style and only vocal in Hindustani style.

Who organizes this festival? This festival is organized by H.H. Sir Rama Varma Maharaja of Travancore Trust.  This is an outfit which has income tax exemption under section 80G which welcomes donations from music lovers. 

How can we get in touch with the Organizers? Prince Rama Varma, internationally acclaimed classical vocalist and vainika and the scion of the Travancore Royal Family may be reached on the following e-mail ids:

1.  writetoramavarma@gmail.com

2.  kuthiramalika@gmail.com

Is the Swathi Puraskar awarded by Prince Rama Varma or the Travancore Royal Family? No.  It is awarded by the Government of Kerala.

Which are the hotels where music lovers can stay during the Swathi Festival? Please visit the link http://www.trivandrumhotels.co.in/ to find out.

 

Are there any temples in the vicinity of the Kuthiramalika Palace? Yes.  The Sri Padmanabha Temple is towards the south east of the Kuthiramalika Palace

 

For further details of the Festival please contact Prince Rama Varma on his email ids.

Names, contact details of hotels and other information courtesy: Various websites including Wikipedia 

Make a Free Website with Yola.