An altruistic visionary bestows a gift to the art lovers of the World

“Sri Thyaga Brahma Gana Sabha”, popularly called “Vani Mahal” is one of the oldest sabhas in Chennai and is a favorite abode of art and music lovers. Every Chennaiite is familiar with this eminent landmark and every artiste’s ambition is to render at least one performance in this Sabha.

Read on to know the people and the interesting sequence of events that led to the establishment of Sri Thyaga Brahma Gana Sabha. Sri Thyaga Brahma Gana Sabha was started in 1944, Primarily due to the endeavors of Chittoor V. Nagayya, a popular film actor of the olden, golden days.

In those days, Mylapore was the hub of carnatic music and everyone had to come here to listen to kutcheries. It was on a rainy day, that Chittoor Nagayya saw several people huddled in a bus-stop in T. Nagar, waiting to travel to Mylapore to attend a concert. He felt a strong urge to start a sabha primarily for the residents of T. Nagar so that they could listen to music easily.

Backing up his premonition with timely effort, Chittoor Nagayya started Sri Thyaga Brahma Gana Sabha. He roped in other illustrious members like Lady Andal Venkatasubba Rao, V. Rama Iyengar, S. Soundararajan of Tamilnadu Talkies, S. Ramaswami Naidu(later Mayor of Madras) and
Dr.P.B. Annangarachariar, leading doctor, owner of Vani Pharmacy and municipal councillor

The first concert was Carnatic music vocal by Sri Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar accompanied on the violin by Papa K.S. Venkataramaiah and on the mridangam by Palghat T.S. Mani Iyer.

From modest beginnings to imposing presence

Several noble hearts and altruistic souls have expended effort, time and funds to build “Sri Thyaga Brahma Gana Sabha” to the prominent position that is in today

The concerts were initially held in a thatched shed and then at the Dakshin Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha. It was then that Sri Thyaga Brahma Gana Sabha acquired its current premises - 10 grounds of space from T.A. Rangachari, renowned advocate, who was kind enough to part with his land at a very nominal price.

Soon, the building was constructed and suggestions were made to name the Sabha after its principal founder Chittoor Nagayya. However, Chittoor Nagayya humbly decided to name the Sabha “Sri Thyaga Brahma Gana Sabha (Vani Mahal)” meaning the abode of Saraswati, Hindu Goddess of art.

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