Lord Skanda-Murugan


Dancing with Murugan:

Śrī Kanchi Kamakoti Natyalayam and
Śrī Kanchi Kamakoti Tiruppukazh Mandali

Saint Arunagirinathar (22021 bytes)The Founding of the Troupe and Its Objectives

Śrī Kanchi Kamakoti Natyalayam, the only Bharata Natyam dance troupe of its kind, was founded in Madras in 1991. Its sole objective is to popularise Saint Arunagirinathar's Tiruppukazh through song and dance.

The Natyalaya, as its very name suggests, exposes classical dances to the masses, but its duty lies in the in-depth study of the lyrics of Arunagirinathar and tuning it to suit modernity.

Herein lies the exclusiveness of the Natyalayam, which gives prime importance to Tiruppukazh and making its team suit all ages - binding the classical with novelty. The Natyalayam is at present spreading its message to every nook and corner of India, sending an aroma of piety and goodwill together with its fragrance.

History of the Troupe

Right from her childhood Smt. Rukmani Venkateswaran had all along been inspired by Tevaram and Tiruppukazh. The seed of love for Tiruppukazh had been planted and even after marriage this frenzied love for the spiritual did not wane.

Performance at Valli Malai, 22 Nov 1999 (19641 
First Intl Conference on Skanda-Murugan: Old Man Murugan 
and Valli

In fact, it gathered momentum with the birth of every child. Ramani dances as Durga at Valli Malai When Smt. Rukmani was eagerly awaiting the birth of her fifth child, hoping it would be a boy, an incarnation of the playful Murugan, she was doubly glad that it was Valli herself issuing forth from the womb. The little infant, who has since blossomed into the talented, graceful Ramani, could sense the beat and rhythm of music and dance in her tender limbs. Sensing that this miracle child would be the fruition of her dreams, Smt. Rukmani took upon her shoulders the responsibility of bringing out the best from this talented child and through her to fulfil her spiritual dream. The seed had now sprouted forth into a beautiful sapling.

The dance master, through whose association came the introduction of the Tiruppukazh master and his equally talented clan of children. From here there was no looking back for the newly formed Mandali in 1989. With the blessings of the Kanchi Paramacharya, the Mandali threw open its door to the world.

Somaskanda Tiruppukazh were now being popularised by the Mandali through bhajans. Then came a brainstorm to the founder, Smt. Rukmani. Why only songs and not dance also? Through the medium of dance, even the commoner could grasp the precepts hidden in Tiruppukazh.

So in 1991, by the grace of Murugan, with the blessings of the Kanchi Paramacharya, and with the guidance of Smt. Rukmani, the elegant dancer Ramani made her debut in public - the first step of success to popularise the ancient and often esoteric Tiruppukazh verses of Saint Arunagirinathar, his 'Holy Praise' of Lord Murugan.

Our Repertoire

Right from its inception, the Natyalaya has given many performances within the State of Tamil Nadu and thanks to the benevolence of Shri Sharmaji, it has been able to make its presence felt outside Tamil Nadu as well.

Title of Performance




180 minutes


Tiruppukazhil Tirumurugan Tiruviliayadal

120 mts.


Tiruppukazhil Navarasam

120 mts


Valli Tirumanam

120 mts.


Arupadai Veedu

90 mts.


Vel, Mayil, Seval Virutam

90 mts.


Aandal Tirukalyanam

180 mts.


Devi Mahatmya

150 mts.


Paaduka Pattabhisekam

180 mts.


Sabareesa Sangamam

60 mts.


Ayyappa Charitam

150 mts.


Valluvarin Tamil Vedam

180 mts.


Awards and Citations

The Natyalaya has captured the hearts of many especially laymen are drawn towards it because the performers are mostly children, even below ten years of age. Apart from its popularity, the Natyalaya, especially the exponent of Tiruppukazh, Kumari Ramani, has won many awards and citations listed below.



Nruthya Mayuri

conferred by the dance master Chavali Śrī Krishna during arangetram, 1987.

Kudakkuthu Kalaichelvi

presented by the Tamil Nadu Senior Citizens' Council of Madras in 1988.

Natya Kayaki

presented by the Vallalar Satsangham of Anna Nagar, 1993.

Tiruppukazh Nadani

presented by Sadhu Balananda of Valli Malai, 1994.

Raja Naga Narttagi

presented by Villivakkam Śrī Ayyappa Bhajanai Sangham in 1998.

Abhinaya Tharagai

presented by Koraltur Śrī Dharma Sasta Nilaiyam in 1999.

Adal Kalaivani

conferred by Tamil Isaikalluri at Raja Annamalai Mandram in North Madras in 1999.

Our Tiruppukazh master was also honoured in 1993 by the Vallalar Satsangham of Annanagar by being named as Bhakti Pavalar. Our Mandali was felicitated by Asthika Samaj of Lawrence Road in New Delhi and a citation was presented, highlighting our performance of Devi Mahatmya.

Shiva-Shakti (20286 bytes)The Dancers, Musicians, Supporting Cast, Directors et al.

'No man is an island'; for an organisation of repute to flourish it needs the support of all and the Natyalaya is no exception. If the Natyalaya is what it is today, it is due to the unstinting support extended by many.

Shrimati Rukmani Venkateswaran

The founder and mentor of our Mandali, whose sincere efforts in spite of pitfalls and challenges, has boosted the morale of both the Mandali and the Natyalaya.

Tiruppukazh Master Shri G. Venkat Ramani

The philosopher and guru whose undying love for Tiruppukazh have sparked off a trail of beautiful songs and rhythms in Tiruppukazh. The vocal chords are dedicated to the praise of Arunagirinathar's Tiruppukazh. The Natyalaya's vocalist.

Shri Sundarrajan R.

Behind the success of the Natyalaya lies the friend, philosopher and guide Śrī Sundarrajan whose careful selection of Arunagirinathar's lyrics has helped in popularising Tiruppukazh even to the commoner.

Kumari Lakshmi Venkateswaran

The soul in the Natyalaya, whose Nattuvangam and vocal accompaniment has won laurels for the setting of Tiruppukazh to dance.

Kumari Ramani Venkateswaran

The beautiful classical exponent whose performance, especially the much-talked about snake dance, has won awards and citations and moved audiences to rapture and tears.

Shri P. Shankar

The mridangist of the Natyalaya and Mandali who has become a part of its very being and never tries in accompanying the Natyalaya in all its varied performances.

Shri Mullai Krishnan A.

The harmonist of the Natyalaya, ever at the beck and call of its service. Retired from academia but ever active at the Natyalaya front.

Supporting Cast

The most important part of a Natyalaya is the supporting host of dancers, the eye of the Natyalaya:

  • Kumari V. Mangala, the versatile dancer;
  • V. Radha, the gifted gypsy dancer;
  • S. Krithika, the elegant and graceful goddess; and
  • S. Nithya, the talented artist.


The Natyalaya owes its gratitude to its many benefactors whose gestures of kindness have taken the Natyalaya to the peak of artistic performance.

Tiru Muruga Kripananda Variyar

With the blessings of Tiru Muruga Kripananda , we set forth to popularise Tiruppukazh through song and dance. At this juncture it is apt to quote the words of Kripananda Variyar at Valarpuram, Arakkonam. Viewing the performance, the Variyar expressed joy and satisfaction at the expressive dance, especially the line "Mayil thagargal idayar antha thinaikaval" from the Tiruppukazh Iyal Isayil and blessed the Natyalaya to do many such programmes the world over.

Shri P.S. Krishna Iyer

The direct disciple of Valli Malai Sachidananda Swamigal who introduced the Natyalaya to Vallimalai Ashram and whose blessing and guidance keep the Natyalaya moving countrywide.

Valli Malai Balananda Sadhu

We record with thanks the help rendered by Valli Malai Balananda Sadhu who has guided our very first steps in popularising Tiruppukazh.

Shri A.R. Balasubranaiam

A good orator of Tiruppukazh who has clarified our doubts on the subject of Tiruppukazh and offered chances to exhibit our talent.

Shri Pithukuli Murugadas

Durga triumpsh over Mahisasura (23606 
bytes)Shri Pithukuli Murugadas first offered the opportunity to stage a performance in Tiruvannamalai at Arunagirinathar Vizha through the Secretary of the Arunagirinathar Vizha, Shri V. Dhanusu.

If the Natyalayam is gaining popularity with the masses even at the grassroots level, it is due to the efforts of Shri Meenakshi Sundaram whose love for Tiruppukazh has taken the Natyalaya everywhere.

We are deeply indebted to Shri Viswanatha Sharma who brought Natyalaya to light and made it glow in other states. Last but not least we are deeply grateful to Mr. Patrick Harrigan for including us in their Murugan.org website and for giving us international recognition.

For more information and bookings contact:

Śrī Kanchi Kamakoti Natyalayam
72, G.N.G. Street
Ambattur Chennai - 600 053 India
Tel. (91) 44-624-3276 (Rukmani Ammal or Lakshmi Venkateswaran)
E-mail: shahji@anz.com (Attention: Seshadri)

Return to the Murugan.org home page.

See also the Valli Malai home page.