Page Created by Jijith Nadumuri on 21 Nov 2011 19:43 and updated at 15 Dec 2011 17:11




katalaatu kaatai


Surrounded by the Silver {velli} mountain range {malvarai}, Kailasa (?) was Chedi {ceti} of celestial fame. There in a garden full of honey dripping flowers, a brave Vidyadhara {vinchai veeran} togather with his girlfriend {kaatali} with wide dark fishlike eyes was observing the feast of Kama {kaamak katavul}, the god of love.

He speak to her thus:- 'The Indra festival {intira vilavu} is celebrated in Pukar in these days. Great Bhutas {puutam} of quck pace were defeated there by king Muchukuntan of heroic Anklets {todukazhal mannan}. With the strength of a Tiger {katuvi} he kept watch over the city of Indra. They confused his mind and shot many arrows at him. Then Indra {tevarkon} ordered a powerful deity to appear to protect the king of robust spear {tiruntu vel} from any harm. Let us see the place where the deity devours the sacrifice offered to her. Let us see the five great assembly halls {aivakai manram}, famous and shining with splendour, given by Indra and constructed on this earth by the great ancestors of the king who watched over Amaravati {amaraapati}.

Narada's Vina sung perfect songs. The dancing girls sung the Varam {vaaram} songs. These songs filed the ears of the thousand eyed {aayiram kannon} Indra. Then Urvasi danced before Indra to satisfy his desire making the sound of Vina irrelevent. Hence she was cursed {saapam} to remain on earth. Matavi was descended from this Urvasi. Her mount of love is like a hooded Cobra. Let us see her dance O my girl with red lips and slender waist like that of an hourglass drum!'

Saying this, he showed her the bounding Himalayas {imayam}, Ganga {kankai} with swelling water, the city of Ujjayini {unjayam pati}, the Vindhya forests {vinchattu atavi}, Venkata hills {Venkata malai} and the land of river Kaviri {kaviri naatu} abounding in crops. Having passed all these, finally they reached the city of Pukar {Pukaar} with its gardens full of flowers. He showed her the city. Then they worshipped Indra {amarar taliavan} as per custom and saw the festival full of joy, in that ancient and fertile city.

He continued:- 'There we can hear the hymns to Vishnu {maayon} and to other deities like the Varuna Bhutas. You will also hear the four songs for the Nalvakai (four types of Devas) and the song for the Moon {matiyam} that move slowly in the sky for the welfare of the world. There we can see the dance of Bharati {parati} and the dancing hall of Bharati {parati arangu}. (bharati could be goddess sarasvati, bhairavi or kaali or the patron goddess of bharatas named bharati mentioned in rig veda; dance of bharati could be the famous bharatanatya).

Once Siva {tevar} destroyed the three cities called Tripura {tiripuram} (of the asuras) with his huge fire tipped arrow {erimukap perampu}. In that battle, the four faced Brahma {ticaimukan} was his Chariot driver. Uma {umaiyaval} kept the track of time, to strike the cities at the right time. After the destruction, Siva {imaiyavan} danced in front of Brahma, sounding his drum. We can see the enactment of this dance of Siva there. We can also see the burning hot stage called Rangam {rankam} where Bharati {parati} danced to the tune of the drum. Similarly we can see the elephant dance of the dark complexioned Krishna {anjana vannan} after killing Kamsa {kanchan}. We can see the Wresler's {malla} dance after the killing of the Asura {avunan} (this asura seems to be baana asura). We can see the drum dance of the killer of Soora, viz Murukan on a dance stage {nirttirai aranku} in the midst of the Ocean {maakkatal}. We can see the Umbrella dance of Murukan as he lovered the Umbrella before the Asuras {avunar} who dropped their weapons in fear. We can see the pot dance of Krishna who walked the streets of the city of Baana {vaanan} and measured the world with his great strides. We can see the enunch dance of Kama {kaaman} who leaving his male body {aanmaiy} took a female body {penmaiy} in a woman's dress. We can see the Marakkaal dance of the goddess of Maaya, viz. Durga {maayaval} after becoming angry seeing the wicked Asuras. We can see the Doll {paavai} dance of the goddess Lakshmi {tiruvin ceyyol} surrounded by the Asuras in their fearsome military dress {kolam}. We can see the dance of Indra's consort Indrani {ayirani} performed in the field {vayal} near the northern gate.

We can clearly see these Eleven Dances {patinor aatal} togather with their corresponding songs, each enacted with the associated costumes and gestures, in erect and bent postures, as per the traditions of its art. Know this Matavi as descended from the lineage of the ancestral Matavi. We are now in this garden rich with the pollen of flowers.' Thus the great Vidyadhara {vinchaiyan} concluded his narrative, which was listened carefully by his girlfriend {kaatali}.

The festival of Indra ended thus with its dances, shows and festivities. The Devas had come to witness all of this in disguise.


Matavi rubbed her black hair to please Kovalan, who was sulking from a lover's quarrel {uutal}. She used fragrant Oil made of ten strong lotions {pattu tuvar}, five Spices {aintu virai} and thirty two types of herbs {muppattu iravu omaalikai} soaked in fresh water. She dried her hair, as soft as flowers, in incense fumes {pukai} and anointed each plait {vakai} with Unguent of Musk Deer {maan mata koluncheru}. She decorated her beautiful and stylish small feet {cirati}, by rubbing it with Red Lac {alattakam}. She adorned her delicate toes {mel viral} with rings. Her legs {kaalu} she, adorned with different types of Anklets like Pariyakam (ankle-ring with little bells), Nuupuram (tinkling anklet with bells), Paatakam (plain anklet), Satanki (string of silver or gold bells) and Ariyakam (anklet with beeds resembling aryaka flowers).

She adored her round thighs {kuranku} with befitting ornaments worn on the thighs {kuranku ceri}. She wore around her waist, a fine colored garment embroidered with floral designs {puun tukil}. It was fastened over her mount of Love {kaamar kantikai} with a girdle (waist band) of shining pearls {muttarai} having thirty two strands. Her upper arms {tol} were adorned with armlets {tolvalai} studded with Gems {mani}. Her wrists {munkai} were adorned with rings of fine workmanship called Chitrakutaka {cittira kuutakam} studded with Mattaka Gems {mattaka mani skt. mastaka mani} and Diamonds {vayiram}. She had on her wrists many golden Bangles {cempon kaivalai}, Pariyakam, Conch Bangles {vaal valai} and Bangles of Ivory {pal valai} studded with Coral {pavalam}. Her fingers having the red color of lotus were full of rings {motiram}. She had rings bent in the shape of an open-mouthed knife like fish {valai}. She had on fingers, bright red rings with shining Gems {kilar mani} and curved rings studded with Emeralds {marakata} and Diamonds {vayiram}.

Her lovely and tender neck {kaluttu} shined with a Gold Necklace {cankili} and a thin Chain of well crafted ornamental cord {kayir katai}. The back of her neck {ciru puram} was covered with a fine string of Pearls {tuumani} held by a lock. She had on her soft ears a pair of earrings {katippam} studded with Saphire {intira neelam} arranged in circle interspersed with Diamonds {cantira paani}. The ornaments on her beautifully dark thick hair were Citevi, righ spiraled Shell {valampuri}, Toyyakam and Pullakam.

Matavi then gave to Kovalan, the joys of sexual union {kuutal} and lover's quarrel {uutal} and got tired in her bedroom {palli} full of pleasures.


It was the night of full moon when in the city people rushed to sea side for water sports in the seaside garden {kaanal} full of flowers. Matavi urged Kovalan to see all of it. From the lotus ponds {tamarai poykai} birds {pulvay} cried out. In the hour of dawn {vaikarai yaamam} Cocks {vaaranam} made their sound. The planet Sukra {velli vilakku} burned fiercly eroding the thickness of darkness. Kovalan wore precious jewels on his garlanded chest and munted on his Mule {attiri}. Matavi of large, dark gentle eyes climbed into her boat like Chariot {vaiyam} driven by Horses {maan} (lit. deer or animal). They passed through the Market street {kuppai} full of mansions that stored ten million bundles of costly Trade goods. The street was adorned with glowing lamps {mani vilakku} and lamps adorned with flowers {malarani vilakku}. Courtesans {mankalat taciyar, skt. deva dasi} adorned with glowing ornaments, showered flowers, Hariali grass {alar koti} and Paddy {nellu}. Goddess Lakshmi {tirumakal} dwelled in this street where people wandered to and fro.

Kovalan and Matavi entered the main road of the city {nakara veeti} that prospered from the wealth of Ocean and reached the row of streets near the sea. There food grains {kuula} were heaped like never ending waves. Elevated bannars where hoisted there. They seemed proclaiming like this:- 'This vast area of white sand is the wealth brought by men who arrived in Ships. They came from their native lands to live here after their long voyage from their native lands.' The place was full of Lamps of the vendors of Dyes {vannam}, Sandalwood {caantu}, flowers {malar}, Perfumes {cunnam} and Pastry sweets called Panniaym (made of milk and other ingradiants). There were lamps {vilakkam} of alloys made by skilled artisans called Kammiyar Kaivinai. There were Uluru lamps of the pedlars {kaaliyar} seated in a row, selling Pastry. Their lamps were placed in black wide mouthed earthen Pots. There were Kutakkaal lamps of pancake sellers {kuuviyar} selling Appam. There were lamps in the shops where women offered things for sale. The lamps of Fishmongers selling Fish {meen vilai} were spread here and there. There were brightly glowing Beacons {kalankara vilakkam} lit up to guide Ships on the edge of the shoreline waters. There were lamps of fishing Boats {meen timil:- catamaran boat, small boat} where the Fishermen tribes called Paratavar, threw their nets. There were Oliya lamps, that burned throughout the night, of the Foreigners speaking strange languages {poli peyar}. There were hand held lamps of guards {kaavalar} watching over the piles of costly Trade goods. Much far, there were lamps burning together, beyond the boundary of resolution.

The seaside garden {kaanal} with its Screwpine {kaitai} woods forming a fence appeared more charming than the farmland {neytalam marutam} with its fragrant lotus petals in the vastness of agitating waters. Even a seed of white mustard could be seen on the nice sands resembling a heap of flour. In a creek in the garden swept by winds were seen rows and rows of boats full of Trade goods from the hills {malai} and seas {katal}. In one side of the seashore were young Princes {aracuilan kumarar} and their companions who were sons of noble Merchants {parata kumarar}. There were many groups of women, dancing girls {aatu kala makal} and singing girls {paatu kala makal} staying behind the curtained tents. Their colorful costumes and the chatter of voices and all the the festival noises resembled the joyful uproars that occurred on the initial day of the festivities of the Chola King Karikalan {karikaal} whose great fame reached upto the heavens as he celebrated the coming of freshes in the river Kaviri. The wild clamor {kampalai} of people belonging to the four castes {naalvakai} gathered on the strip of land where the mightly river Kaviri joins and floods the seashore merged with the sound of festivities.

The wide eyed Matavi, soft like a flower arrived there to sport with her companions. She took the good Lute {yal} of excellent strings from the hands of her maid Vasantamalai {vacanta malai} after having tired of standing. She settled herself with Kovalan on a white legged {venkaal} couch whose inside was screened off by a canopy {vitani} of curtains {elini} made of fine fabric full of paintings {oviam}. It was placed in an open space under the shade of a Laurel tree {punnai}. The couch {amali} rested on the freshly spread sand {putumanal parappu}. The flowering Screwpine that fenced the area removed the odor of fish coming from the sea.


In the evening the Sapphire colored bees {mani vantu} sleep having shut inside the white petals {ven tottu} of the flowering Screwpines on the seashore. They then rise in the morning {kaalai}, like the chariot {ter} of the bright rayed Sun {ven katiron} of glowing color, to suck the thick nectar and pollen.

Share:- Facebook