Shadkala Govinda Marar

Shadkala Govinda Marar

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Category: Music

Shadkala Govinda Marar Profile

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  • Shadkala Govinda Marar

Shadkala Govinda Marar Biography

Shadkala Govinda Marar was a very famous Carnatic musician from Kerala who lived during the period, 1798–1843. He was a contemporary of Tyagaraja and Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma. An exponent of Carnatic music, he was an expert in singing in the six degrees of geometric speed which earned him the title, Satkala/Shadkala. Apart from being a music expert and vocalist, he also played the instruments - Chenda, Edakka and Thimila. He used Tamburu having seven strings and that particular Tamburu was gifted to him by his uncle from Thiruvananthapuram. Since 1992, Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Academy conducts an annual musical festival in memory of this great musician and Carnatic musicians from different parts of the country attend this auspicious music festival, to pay due respect and honour.


Marar was born in 1798 in Ramamangalam of presemt day Ernakulam district. His community traditionally sings and plays instruments at Kerala temples till now. Very little is known about his childhood. Marar started learning music at a young age and Haripad Ramaswamy Bhagavathar was his guru. He sang in front of Ramamangalam Temple, that stood on the banks of Muvattupuzha river. He sang the ancient style of singing, sopana in front of the temple deity. At the age of 18, he suffered from an acute attack of rheumatism. But he got cured with the help of music therapy.


He left home at the age of 21 and has sung in many temples throughout Kerala. After travelling a lot of places, he reached the temple of Panduranga in Pandharpur, Maharashtra where he attained Samadhi in 1843, as per temple records. Still now, many descendants of Marar exist in the village, who have heard about the golden voice of Marar from their grandparents. Shatkala Govinda Marar Smaraka Kala Samithy took shape in his birth village Ramamangalam in 1980 which established several institutes to promote the study of traditional music and south Indian temple arts.

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Updated: April 09, 2014

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