Tirumala, October 25 :  The dols and drums of yesteryears are still in service of Lord Venkateswara are very much his favourites even today.

Four times a day the instruments are put to use in the service of the divine deity of the seven hills in the Srivari Temple.

The Dols, Mukku Veena,Tirichinallu, Gauru Gollu, Sanna dolu and Shruti are among the 19 instruments that are still used day in and out to wake up Lord Venkateswara from his brief night sleep and also perhaps his only entertainment of sorts.

The TTD spent Rs. 7 lakhs to rejuvenate and repair all these instruments and the same were re-introduced during the Brahmotsavam -2011 with gusto.

Like the Agama stotras and Annamayya Keertans, the sound of Mela Vadyam is also an integral part of the rituals, tradition and practices in the Srivari Temple of Lord Venkateswara at Tirumala.

We present mela vadyam seva (Nada swaram) fourteen to fifteen times on an average day and some times more during festivals and special occasions said C.Venkatachalam, a prominent Nada swaram team member of the Srivari Temple. Venkatachalam popularly known as Chalam said “Lord wakes up and sleeps to sound of Nada swaram created by us”.

Most prominent among the Nadaswaram is the “Naava-bath kana” band of music instruments instituted by the Srikrishnadevaraya in the 15th century. This band with nineteen unique instruments presented its service for an hour four times a day.

For the Ekanta seva, the Mela used four instruments to soothe the deity to sleep after a hard days labor.“They play Mukku Veena, Tirichinallu, Gauru Gollu, Sanna dolu and Shruti“ he said.

Chalam said besides the permanent Nadaswaram teams, the TTD also hired 32 teams on contract basis which included some of the famous nadaswaram players like Mambalam M K Shiva, Srirangam Qasim and sons and K S Murthy of V.Kota.

Nadaswaram service was provided to Archakas twice a day along with bell and the sound of (Gauru-Gollu and Sanna dolu ) cautioning people on the street of their arrival. The Nadaswaram players have a dress code of white lungi, shirt and a upper cloth.

Venkatachalam said the Nirantara Nada swaram program was telecast on the SVBC channel daily.

The TTD has also taken up initiatives for popularization of nearly 100 nadaswaram instruments, some of which have also become extinct. “In the SV museum there were two huge instruments– Brahma Nagara 12×6 feet and a Banke (antique bugle) 12 feet tall which are almost 400 year old and could not be repaired“, he said.

For all the permanent Nadaswaram mela team the TTD has provided quarters, pensions, medical and other benefits. For the contract teams the TTD provided transport, special food and other perks as per need.