Enacting dramas as divine service during Vaikunta Ekadasi
TIRUCHY: Residents of Kasavalanadu of Kollankarai village near Thanjavur have a tradition of enacting historical and mythological dramas for over 200 years during the Vaikunta Ekadasi festival.
The rehearsal for the drama begin a couple of months before Vaikunta Ekadasi and men and boys from the village alone perform all the characters, including women’s roles.
Kasavalanadu has around 500 families who used to celebrate Vaikunta Ekadasi in a grand manner. Since the opening of Sorga Vasal would be held in early hours, traditionally these villagers used to entertain the devotees till that time. This practice has been in vogue for over 200 years in the village.
Basically from farming community, these residents stage dramas like Ramayanam, Valli Kalyanam, Ruhkmanthagan and Sathyavan-Savithri for three days during Vaikunta Ekadasi days.
“Only boys and men act in the drama, women are not allowed. The men play female characters too and the crowd response is just phenomenal every year,” said Paramanandam, a senior citizen from the village.
He also said that each man will take a role in the drama. “It is an unwritten regulation in the village to ensure every man’s participation and almost all the people, without hesitation come forward to participate,” he said, adding, “the villagers consider this as an act of divine service.”
He also said that at least 100 persons from the village would visit Srirangam and worship Sri Ranganatha Swamy during Ekadasi festival.