(Last Updated on : 29/09/2012)
Rituals of Thanjavur of the eighteenth century retained their rigidity and rigour. Thanjavur was a city of erotic delights, its king the exemplary and seemingly inexhaustible lover. Bhoga, the domain of sensual delight was a hallmark of royalty. The prevalence of Devadasis and the practise of sale of women are attested by other evidences. To meet the expenditure of the children of the inmates of Mangalavilasa (concubines) revenues of villages were earmarked. Tyagaraja
denounces such practises.
Enta Muddo, in his lyric (in raga Bindumalini), contrasts the superb beauty of the charm of the Lord and the charms of women and wonders why even great men allow themselves to be engaged in the thought of the latter. Performance of yagnas (sacrifices) had attained great popularity during the Maratha rule. 'Agnishtoma' the first and foremost of the yagnas was performed by Kuppa Dikshitar in AD 1824; by the father of Rama Vajapai some time before AD 1825; and by Sadasiva Keshava Diksitar in AD 1826. Pasubhanda one of the eighteen yagnas conducted annually/biannually was performed by Kuppa Srowthi in AD 1827; and Varsa Pasu by Nagabhatta Sadasiva Bhatta in AD 1829.
Vajapeya is a yagna that may be performed by Brahmins. Mounting a chariot and holding a white umbrella are among the important rituals connected with the yagna. Sarabhoji II did himself perform it but extended help to the father of Lord Rama
Vajpeyi by meeting part of the expenditure. Rama Vajapeyi performed Paundarikam. Many such yagnas like Sarvathomukha, Sodasi, Vaisvadeva, Desappornamasa, Soma Yajna and 'Kudali Tusu', have been performed. The futility of performing these yagnas, is emphasised by Tyagaraja. Those who are given to the performance of sacrifices are devoid of wisdom, are dominical in their mentality and are inclined to be cruel to animals.
Pilgrimages to holy places seem to have received great impetus during Maratha rule. During AD 1801-2, Sarabhoji II visited almost all the important shrines in the Chola country. This is picturesquely described in the work Sarabendra Tbeertavali. Exhaustive information about the pilgrimage to Varanasi
is also found in the Modi Records. Tristalli Yatnesa Lavanya, a Maratti work provides information about the centres visited. Utke Govinda Chariar, authored a Lavani describing the pilgrimage to Varanasi
. Such marks indicate the assistance rendered by the British East India Company
for the successful conduct of the tour.