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About Telugu - Our Pride

About Telugu - Our Pride (7)

04 Oct


Swaagatam - Welcome

Telugu (తెలుగు) belongs to the South Central branch of the Dravidian language family. It is spoken by close to 70 million people in India, primarily in the state of Andhra Pradesh. It is also spoken in Bahrain, Fiji, Malaysia, Mauritius, United States, Singapore, United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates. The Telugu-speaking population of the world, including second languages speakers, is estimated to be Southern India maparound 75 million people (Ethnologue).


Telugu is one of the 22 official languages and 14 regional languages of India. It is the official language of the state of Andhra Pradesh. It also has official language status in the Yanam District of the Union Territory of Pondicherry.

Although Telugu is the dominant language in Andhra Pradesh, the state also has sizable populations of speakers of KannadaMarathiOriya, and Tamil. Telugu has not achieved universal acceptance as a lingua franca in the state due to a variety of reasons, including lack of teachers, confusion between classical and colloquial standards, and the dominant role of English among the educated elite, and its role as the exclusive medium of post-secondary education.


Spoken vs. written
There is a considerable difference between the spoken and written forms of Telugu. Spoken Telugu has many regional dialects, while the written form remains relatively uniform. Until the 20th century, Telugu was written in an archaic style very different from the everyday spoken language. During the second half of the 20th century, a new written standard emerged based on the modern spoken language.

Telugu has many regional dialects which are usually divided into several major groups:

  • East, including Srikakulam and Visakhapatnam
  • South, including Nellore, Ongole, Cuddapah, Kurnool, Chittoor and Anantapur
  • North, including nine different varieties
  • Central, including Guntur, Krishna, East Godavari and West Godavari.

Standard Telugu is based on the speech of educated speakers of the Central dialect.

Colloquial Telugu varies depending on social status. Thus, urban varieties of Telugu as spoken, for instance, in Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh, and used in popular movies, have many borrowings from HindiUrdu, and English. The speech of educated speakers is characterized by code-switching between Telugu and English. There are also a number of social varieties depending on caste or class. The language of the high castes is more influenced by Sanskrit than the language of the lower castes. There are several distinct social dialects— Brahmin, non-Brahmin, and Untouchable.


Sound system
The sound system of Telugu has many similarities to the sound systems of other Dravidian languages.


  • Telugu has 2 sets of 5 vowel phonemes, i.e., sounds that make a difference in word meaning. Each set consists of one short and one long vowel. Vowel length distinguishes between otherwise identical words. In the table below, vowel length is indicated by a macron over the vowel.
  • There are two diphthongs /ai/ and /au/.
  • Telugu is characterized by vowel harmony which requires that the vowels in suffixes be the same as root vowels, i.e., all front or all back.
i, ī
u, ū
e, ē
o, ō
a, ā

The consonant system of Telugu is similar to that of other Dravidian languages. It is characterized by the following features:

  • a contrast between plain and aspirated stops, both voiceless and voiced, e.g., /p – pʰ, b – bʰ/. Aspirated stops are produced with a strong puff of air accompanying their release.
  • a contrast between apical and retroflex consonants, e.g., /t/ – /ʈ/. Apical consonants are produced with the tip of the tongue touching the roof of the mouth, whereas retroflex consonants are produced with the tongue curled, so that its underside comes in contact with the roof of the mouth;
  • Consonant clusters are permitted mostly in initial and medial positions. There are no clusters in final position.
  Labiodental Glottal
Stops plain voiceless
  aspirated plain
  • /ʈ, ɖ, ʂ, ɳ, ɭ/ are retroflex consonants with no equivalents in English
  • /c, ɟ/ have no equivalents in English
  • /ʂ, ç/ have no equivalents in English
  • /ɲ/ = first n in canyon
  • /ŋ/ = ng in song
  • /ʋ/ has no equivalent in English
  • /j/ = y in yet

Stress in modern Telugu is fixed on the first syllable of a word.

Like other Dravidian languages, Telugu is agglutinative, i.e., it adds suffixes to roots, one after another, to form words and to express grammatical functions. There is no absolute limit on the length and extent of agglutination in Telugu. This can result in very long words. Like all agglutinative languages, Telugu uses post-positions rather than prepositions.

This class of words includes common nouns, proper names, pronouns and adjectives. They are inflected for the following categories:

  • cases: nominativeaccusativelocative, and vocative.
  • two numbers: singular and plural.
  • three genders: masculine, feminine, and neuter.
  • five declensions
  • absence of articles
  • Personal pronouns are marked for person, case and number. Gender is marked only in the third person singular.
  • 1st person plural can be inclusive, i.e., include both speaker and addressee, e.g., manamu ‘we inclusive’ or exclusive, i.e., exclude addressee, e.g., mēmu ’we exclusive.’
  • 3rd person plural pronoun is used as a respectful form of address
  • Demonstrative pronouns are differentiated by considerations of proximity/remoteness as well as by levels of respect towards the referent.
  • Adjectives are not inflected for number, gender, or case.

Telugu verbs consist of a root followed by various suffixes indicating mood, tense, causality, negation, person, number and gender which follow each other in a prescribed sequence. Verbs agree with their subjects in gender, number and person. Subject pronouns are normally dropped since the information about the subject is carried by the verb itself. Verbs have the following distinguishing features:

  • two numbers: singular and plural
  • three genders: masculine, feminine, neuter
  • three persons: 1st, 2nd, 3rd
  • two voices which are not equivalent to the active-passive or reflexive-nonreflexive division of voices in Indo-European languages
  • three simple tenses (present, past, and future) marked by simple suffixes, and a series of perfectives marked by auxiliary verbs
  • a special verb paradigm in which a negative-tense marker is suffixed to the verb stem forming a negative tense
  • four moods which indicate whether the action of the verb is unreal, possible, potential, or real
  • transitivity and intransitivity
  • attitude expressed by auxiliary verbs to show the speaker’s feelings towards an event expressed by the verb, e.g., pejorative opinion, antipathy, relief, etc.

Word order
The standard word order in Telugu is Subject-Object-Verb. However, other orders are possible because Inflectional endings take care of keeping clear grammatical relations and roles in the sentence. There are special markers for topic (what the sentence is about, or old information) and focus (new information). Constituents with old information precede constituents with new information, or those that carry most emphasis. Modifiers usually precede the words they modify.

The basic vocabulary of Telugu is Dravidian in nature. In addition, Telugu has a significant number of words of Sanskrit and Prakrit origin. It is considered to be the most Sanskritized of the Dravidian languages, especially when it comes to the formal, standardized variety of the language taught in schools and used by the government and in Hindu religious practices. Colloquial Telugu varies depending upon region and social status. Thus, urban varieties of Telugu as spoken, for instance, in Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh, and used in popular movies, have many borrowings from HindiUrdu, and English. The speech of educated speakers is characterized by code-switching between Telugu and English.

Like other Dravidian languages, Telugu also uses compounding and reduplication to form new words.

Below are a few Telugu words and phrases in romanization.

Hello. Namaskaaram.
Good bye Vastamu
Thank you. Dhanyavaadaalu.
Please Daya chesi.
Sorry. Khamintsandi.
Yes Avunu.
No. Ledu.

Below are Telugu numerals 1-10.



Written materials in Telugu date from 633 AD. Telugu literature begins with an 11th-century translation of the Sanskrit classic Mahabharata. Until the second half of the 20th century, Telugu was written in a classical style that was very different from the spoken Language. During the second half of the 20th century, a new written standard emerged based on modern spoken Telugu.

Telugu is written with a syllabic alphabet in which all consonants have an inherent vowel. Diacritics, which can appear above, below, before or after the consonant, indicate change to another vowel or suppression of the inherent vowel. The script was developed from the Brahmi script. The shapes of Telugu letters closely resemble those of Kannada. They have rounded shapes because in ancient times writing was done by carving on palm leaves with a sharp point. Sharp angles would have torn the leaves. Telugu is written from left to right.

Below is a sample of Telugu script

04 Oct




Music composers[edit]

Religious leaders and philosophers[edit]

Warriors, martyrs and freedom fighters[edit]




Academia and science[edit]

Award winners[edit]

Bharat Ratna

Padma Vibhushan


Jnanpith Award[edit]

Sahitya Akademi Award[edit]

Dada Saheb Phalke award[edit]

Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award

Arjuna Award


French Yanam[edit]

Modern writers[edit]




04 Oct

Telugu Saamethalu - Telugu Proverbs 

  Endaro Mahaanubhaavulu 
  Andarikee Maa Vandanaalu 
  And Welcome to
   World's first Encyclopedia of Telugu


Note : Some proverbs are not relevant today and some others may not be true.

6 nelalu saavaasam chaestae vaaru veeru avuthaaru.

Aa moddhu lodhae ee paedu.

Aa thaanu mukkae !!!

Aadaboina theerthamu yedurainatlu.

Aadalaeka madhdhela voadu annatlu. 

Aadi lonae hamsa paadhu.

Aemi laeni polo ralph lauren yedaarilo aamudamu chettae mahaa vrukshamu.

Aakali ruchi yeragadhu, nidhra sukham yeraghadhu.

Aakaasaaniki hadhdhae laedhu.

Aalasyam amrutham visham.

Aalu laedhu, choolu laedhu, koduku paeru somalingam.

Aarae dheepaaniki velugu yekkuva.

Aarogyamae mahaabhaagyamu.

Aathraaniki buddhi mattu.

Aavalinthaku anna unnadu kaani, thummuku thammudu laedanta. 

Aavu chaenu maestae, dooda gattu maesthundaa?

Abadhdhamu aadina athikinatlu undali.

Abyaasamu koosu vidya.

Adagandhae ammainaa annam pettadhu.

Addaalu naadu biddalu kaani, gaddalu naadu kaadhu.

Adigae vaadiki cheppaevaadu lokuva.

Ae endaku aa godugu.

Agadthalo padda pilliki adae vaikuntamu.

Agniki vaayuvu thodainatlu. 

Aishwaryamu vastae artha raathri godugu pattamanaevaadu.

Andhani mraanipandlaku arrula chaachuta.

Andithe siga andhaka pothe kaallu.

Angatlo annee unnaa, alludi notlu seni unnatlu.

Annapu choravae gaani aksharapu chorava laedhu.

Anthya nistooram kanna aadi nistooram maelu.

Appu chaesi pappu koodu.

Athi rahasyam batta bayalu.

Ayithe aadivaaramu, kaakunte somavaaramu.

Ayya vachhae varaku amaavaasya aaguthundha ???

Ayyavaarini cheyyabothae kothi ayyinattlu.

For more proverbs, read
                                                                                                                Goto TopTop 

Bathikuntae balusaaku thinavachhu.

Bellam Kottina Raayila.

Bhakthi laeni pooja pathri chaetu.

Boodidhalo posina panneeru.

For more proverbs, read

Chaadasthapu mogudu chebithae vinadu, gillithae yaedusthaadu.

Chaapa kindha neerula.

Chachhinavaani kandlu chaaredu.

Chadhuvavaesthae unnamathi poyinadhi.

Chaduvu raani vaadu vintha pasuvu.

Chaethakaanammake chaestalu ekkuva.

Chaethulu kaalinaaka aakulu pattukunnatlu.

Chakkanamma chikkinaa andame.

Chedapakuraa, chedaevu.

Cheekati konnallu, velugu konnallu.

Cherapakuraa chededhavu, urakakuraa padedhavu.

Cheruvuki neeti aasa, neetiki cheruvu aasa.

Cheviti vaadi chevilo sankham oodhinatlu.

Chintha chachchinaa pulupu chaava laedhu.

Chinthakaayalu ammaedhaaniki sirimaanam vasthae, aa vankara tinkaravi yaemi kaayalani adugutundhata.

Chiviki chiviki gaalivaana ayinatlu.

For more proverbs, read

Dabbuku lokam daasoham.

Daevudu varam ichhina poojaari varam ivvadu.

Daridrudi pelliki vadagalla vaana.

Daasuni thappu dandamu tho sari.

Deyyaalu vaedaalu palikinatlu.

Dikku laeni vaadiki daevudae dikku.

Dongaku donga buddhi, doraku dora buddhi.

Dongaku thaelu kuttinatlu.

Doorapu kondalu nunupu.

Dunnapothu meeda varsham kurisinatlu.

Duraasa dukhkhamu chetu.

For more proverbs, read
                                                                                                                Goto TopTop 

Eethaku minchina lothe laedhu.

Evariki vaare yamunaa theerae.

Evaru theesukunna gothilo vaarae padathaaru.

For more proverbs, read

Gaadidha sangeetaaniki vonte aascharyapadithae, vonte andhaaniki gaadidha moorcha poyindata.

Gaajula baeramu bhojanaananiki sari.

Ganthaku thagga bontha.

Gathi laenammaku ganjae paanakamu.

Goaru chuttu meeda roakali poatu.

Gonthemma koarikalu.

Gruddi kanna mella maelu.

Gruddi yeddhu jonna chaelo padinatlu.

Gruddu vachhi pillanu vekkirinchinatlu.

Gudi mingae vaadiki nandhi pindimiriyam.

Gudini, gudilo linganni, minginatlu.

Gudla meedha kodipetta valae.

Gummadi kaayala donga antae bhujaalu thadumukonnadata.

Gurramu gruddi dainaa, daanaalo thakkuva laedhu.

Guruvuku panganaamaalu pettinatlu.

For more proverbs, read

Inta gelichi rachha geluvu.

Inta thini, inti vaasaalu lekkhapettinatlu.

Inti donganu eeshwarudaina pattalaedu.

Inti paeru kasturivaaru; intilo gabbilaala kampu.

Intikanna gudi badhramu.

Isuka thakkeda paeda thakkeda.

For more proverbs, read

Jogi-Jogi raajukunte raaledhi boodidhae.

For more proverbs, read
                                                                                                                Goto TopTop 

Kaachina chettukae raalla dhebbalu. Kaagala kaaryamu gandharvulae theerchinatlu.

Kaaki mukkuku dhonda pandu.

Kaaki pilla kaakiki muddhu.

Kaalam kalisi raaka pothae, karrae paamai kaatu vaesthundhi.

Kaalu jaarithe theesukogalamu kaani, noru jaarithe theesukogalama!

Kaasu untae maargamuntadi.

Kadupu chinchukuntae kaallapai paddatlu.

Kalakaalapu donga okanaadu dorukunu.

Kalimi laemulu kaavadi kundalu.

Kalisi vacchae kaalam vasthae, nadichi vacchae koduku pudathaadu.

Kanchae chaenu maesinatlu.

Kanchu mrogunatlu kanakambu mrogunaa!

Kandaku laeni dhuradha kaththi peeta kenduku ?

Kandhaku kaththi peeta lokuva.

Kandhena vaeyani bandiki kaavaalsinantha sangeetham.

Karavamantae kappaku kopam, vidavamantae paamuku kopam.

Keedenchi maelenchamannaru.

Konda naalikaki mandhu vaesthae, unna naalika oodinatlu.

kondallae vacchina aapadha kooda manchuvalae kariginatlu.

Kondanu thovvi yaelukanu pattinatlu.

Konna daggira kosaru gaani, korina dhaggara kosuraa ??

Koosae gaadidha vachhi maesae gaadhidhanu cherachindhata.

Kooti kosam koti vidyalu.

Kootiki paedhaithae kulaaniki paedhaa ?

Korivitho thala gokkunnatlu.

Kothi pundu brahma raakashasi.

Kothiki kobbari chippa ichchinatlu.

Koththoka vintha-paathoka rotha.

Koti vidyalu kooti korake.

Kottha appuku pothe paatha appu bayatapaddadhata.                       Goto TopTop 

Kottha bhicchagaadu poddhu yeragadu.

Krushito naasti durbhiksham.

Kshethra merigi vitthanamu, paathra maerigi daanamu.

Kudumu chaethikisthae pandaga anaevaadu.

Kukka kaatuku cheppu dhebba.

Kukka vasthae raayi dhorakadhu, raayi dhorikithae kukka raadhu.

For more proverbs, read

Laeni daatha kantae unna lobhi nayam.

Loguttu perumaallaku eruka.

For more proverbs, read

Merisaedantaa bangaaram kaadhu.

Manchamunnantha varaku kaallu chaachukho.

Manchimaataku mandhi anthaa manavallae.

Mandhi yekkuva ayithae majjiga palachana ayinatlu.

Manishi marmamu, maani chaeva bayataku theliyavu.

Manishi paedha ayithae maataku paedhaa??

Manishiki maatae alankaram.

Manishikoka maata-goddukoka dhebba.

Manishikoka thegulu mahilo vaema annaaru.

Manthraalaku chinthakaayalu raalavu.

Mee bodi sampaadhanaku iddharu pellaala ?

Meththagaa untae moththa budhdhi ayyindhata.

Mokkai vonganidhi maanai vongunaa.

Morigae kukka karavadhu.

Mosaevaaniki thelusu kaavadi baruvu.

Mullunu mulluthonae theeyaali, vajraanni vajram thonae koyyali.

Mundaa kaadhu, mutthaidhuvaa kaadhu.

Mundhara kaallaki bandhaalu vaesinatlu.

Mundhuku pothe goyyi-venukaku pothe nuyyi.

Munjaeti kankanamuku addhamu yendhuku?

For more proverbs, read
                                                                                                                Goto TopTop 

Nadumanthrapu siri, naraala meedha pundu.

Naethi beerakaayalo neyyi yentha undho, nee maatalo anthae nijam undhi.

Nakkaki naagalokaaniki unnantha thaeda.

Navvu naalugu vidhaala chaetu.

Nee chevulaku raagi pogulae antae avee neeku laevae annatlu.

Nidhaanamae pradhaanam.

Nijam nippu laantidi.

Nimmaku neeru yeththinatlu.

Nindu kunda thonakadhu.

Nippu muttanidhi chaeyi kaaladhu.

Nooru godlu thinna raabandhukaina okatae gaalipettu.

Nooru gurralaku adhikaari, inta bhaaryaku yendu poori.

For more proverbs, read

Oka voralo rendu kaththulu imadavu.

Oopiri untae uppu ammukoni brathakavacchu.

Ooranthaa chuttaalu, uttikatta thaavu laedhu.

Ooru moham godalu cheputhaayi.

For more proverbs, read

Paaki daanito sarasam kantae attaru saayibu too kalaham maelu.

Paamu kaallu paamuna keruka.

Paanakamulo pudaka.

Paapamani paatha cheera isthae goda chaatuku velli moora vaesindhata.

Pachcha kaamerla vachchina vaadiki lokam anthaa pachchagaa kanapadinatlu.

Panditha putra - parama suntta.

Panilaeni mangalodu pilli thala gorigadanta.

Parigeththi paalu taagae kantae nilabadi neellu thaagadam maelu.

Pattipatti panganaamam pedithae goda chaatuku velli cheripi vaesukunnadata.

Pedhima dhaatithae penna dhaatunu.

Pelli antae nooraella panta.

Pelliki veluthoo pillini chankana pettuku vellinattu.

Penuku pettanamiste tala anta korikindata.

Perugu thota kooralo perugu yentha undho nee maatalo anthae nijam undhi.

Picchi koathiki thaelu kuttinatlu.

Pichhodi chaetulo raayila.

Pichhuka meedha brahmaastramu.

Pilli saepaalaku uttlu theghutahaaya?

Pilliki chelagaatamu, yaelukakau praana sankatamu.

Pindi koddhi rotte.

Pitta konchemu kootha ghanamu. 

Poaru nastamu pondhu laabhamu.

Poraani chotlaku pothae raaraani maatlu raakapovu.

Porlinchi porlinchi kottina meesaalaku mannu kaalaedhannadata.

Punyam koddhi purushudu, daanam koddhi biddalu.

Puvvu puttagaane parimalinchunu.

For more proverbs, read

Raaju gaari divaanamu lo chaakalodi peththanamu.

Raamayanamulo pidakala vaeta.

Ramayanam anthaa vini sita ramuduki yaemouthundhi ani adigaadanta.

Rameshwaram vellina senaeswaram vadhalanatlu.

Reddi vacchae modhalu aadae.

Rotte virigi naethilo paddatlu.

Routhu koddhee gurramu.

Runa saeshamu, sethru saeshamu uncharaadhu.

For more proverbs, read

Sangeetaaniki chinthakaayalu raaluthaaya.

Sankalo pillodini unchukoni oorantha vethikinattu.

Santhoshamae sagam balam.

Siggu vidisthae srirangamae.

Singadu addhanki ponu poyyadu raanu vacchaadu.

Sivuni aagna laekha cheemaina kuttadhu.

Subham palakaraa yenkanna antae pelli kuthuru munda ekkada annaadanta!

Swaasa undaevaraku aasa untundhi.

For more proverbs, read
                                                                                                               Goto TopTop 

Thaa chedda kothi vanamaella jherachindhata.

Thaadi thannu vaani thala thannu vaaru undunu.

Thaalibottu balamu valla thalambraala varaku bathikaadu.

Thaanu pattina kundhaeluku moodae kaallu.

Thaataaku chappullaku kundhaellu bhedhurunaa?

Thaathaku dhaggulu naerputa.

Thaeluku paetthanamisthe thellavaarluu kuttindhata.

Thana kopamae thana satruvu.

Thannu maalina dharmamu-modhalu chedda baeramu.

Thanthae gaarela buttalo paddatlu.

Thappulu vedhikae vaadu thandri oppulu vedikaevaadu vorvalaenivaadu.

Theega laagithae donka anthaa kadhilinatlu.

Thegaedhaaka laagavadhdhu.

Thikkalodu thiranaallaku velithae ekka dhiga saripoyindhanta. 

Thinae mundhu ruchi adugaku, vinae mundhu katha adugaku.

Thinaga thinaga gaarelu chaedu.

Thinte gaarelu thinaali, vinte bhaaratam vinaali.

Thiyyati thaena nindina notithonae thaenateega kuttaedhi.

For more proverbs, read

Ulli chaesina maelu thalli kooda chaeyadhu.

Upakaaraaniki poathe apakaaramedurainatlu.

Urumu urumi mangalam meedha paddatlu.

Uttikekkalaenamma swargaanikekkuna???

For more proverbs, read

Vaapunu choosi balamu anukunnadata.

Veepumeedha kottavachhu kaani kadupu meedha kottaraadhu.

Verri veyyi vidhaalu.

Vinaasa kaalae vipareetha budhdhi.

For more proverbs, read

Yae endaku aan godugu.

Yae gaaliki aa chaapa.

Yeddhu pundu kaakiki muddhu.

Yaekulu pedithae buttalu chirugunaa?

Yekkadaina bhaava kaani vanga thota dhaggara maathramu kaadhu.

Yeppudoo aadambaramugaa palikae vaadu alpudu
04 Oct

angasthala Natulu - Stage Actors & Actresses 

  Endaro Mahaanubhaavulu 
  Andarikee Maa Vandanaalu 
  And Welcome to 
   World's first Encyclopedia of Telugu


Rangasthala Natulu

A Dasaratha Ramaiah

A Satyavathi

A Siva Parvathi

Aaakula Venkaiah

Aakula Appa Rao

Aakula Rangaa Kumari

Aalaa Gopala Swamy

Aamanchi Venkata Subramaniam(AVS)

Aaradhyula Koteswara Rao

Abburi Adi Narayana Sarma

Abburi Subba Rao

Abburi Vara Prasada Rao

Abburi Venkata Ramarao (AVR), Visahkapatnam.
                He served as Artist and Announcer to ALL INDIA RADIO for 30 years. In 1977, he has won the National Best actor for a social play.
He also acted in 15 - 20 films like "Sree Variki Premalakha", "Mudhamandharam", "Challenge", "Lorry Driver", "Papa Kosam",etc ...
He did his diploma in acting from Andhra University and he has been the producer for the stage play "Amma" which has swept all the competetions for that year in 1997. 

Contributed by : Sashikanth Abburi, Visakhapatnam, India,

Achanta Venkataratnam Naidu (Tulasi-Jalandhara" Fame)

Addanki Sreerama Murthy 

               He used to act as "Dharma Raju" in Pandava vudyoga vijayamulu drama and was very famous in this role & as "Harischandra" opposte Pasupuleti kannamba! Played "Dasaratha" role in the early Telugu film "Paaduka Pattabhishekam". 
Popularly known as "Addanki".
Contributed by : Satya.M. Madhavapeddi

Adigopula Sai Sekhar

Akki Venkateswarlu

Alapati Surya Prakasa Gupta

Anisetty Satyavathi


Aradhyula Venkata Subba Rao

Aradhyula Venkateswara Rao

Atmakuri Rama Koteswara Rao

B Siva Kumar

B Valeswara Rao

B Veera Raju

B Vijaya Kumar

Bachchu Samba Siva Rao

Banda Kanakalingeswara Rao

Bejjam China Kotaiah

Bellamkonda Subba Rao 

                An Advocate in Narasa Rao Peta, Guntur Dt. He was famous in the role of "Krishna" in Pandava Vudyoga Vijayamaulu stage drama. Since, he used to play the role, preserving his natural big moustache, he used to be popularly referred as "Meesala Krishnudu"! 
Contributed by : Satya.M. Madhavapeddi

Betha Venkata Rao

Bhagavatula Rajagopala Rao : 
Late Sri Bhagavatula Rajagopala Rao was a wealthy landlord who owned and maintained Rama Vilasa Sabha of Tenali. He directed several stage plays including Prataparudreeyam, Roshanara, Kanyasulkam, Mayasabha and Nartanasala. He translated Shakespeare dramas into Telugu and wrote Nartanasala. Dr. Govindarajula Subba Rao, Madhavapeddi Venkataramaiah, Sthanam Narasimha Rao, Peddipatla Chalapati, Vangara Venkatasubbaiah, Narumanchi, Hulakki and other great actors worked for Rama Vilasa Sabha. In Rama Vilasa Sabha, Sthanam Narasimha Rao was a salaried employee and acted in female roles ¡§C Roshanara, Madhuravaani, Draupadi, etc. Sri Rajagopala Rao hails from Nandur near Ponnur in Guntur Dist. and was the first son of Sri Bhagavatula Sree Rama Sastry and Smt.Sundaramma. His family was originally from Kolluru near Tenali. Contributed by B. R. Sastry, Vancouver, Canada. 

Bhimavaram Lakshmaiah

Bindu Madhavi

Bitra Punnaiah

Boina Bhargavi

Bommaraju Lakshmi Narayana

Bommareddy Satyanarayana Reddy
He is from Machavaram Vijayawada and played thousands of stage plays all over AP. Contributed by : Bommareddy Satyanarayana Reddy, Machavaram, Vijayawada, AP 

Bonepalli Venkateswara Rao

Burra Jaya Lakshmi

Burrabala Venkata Sai

BV Brahmaiah

B.V.Rama Rao

Ch L Narsu

Ch Narayana Murthy

Ch Siva Prasad

Challa Venkateswarlu

Chendu Bhaskar Rao

Chennam Subba Rao

Cherukumalli Singa Rao

Cherukupalli Rama Rao

Cheruvu Siva Rama Sastry : 
Born in 1903 in Mailavaram (grandparent's house) and was a native of Bapatla, Gunturdistrict. He is the beloved disciple of Belamkonda Subba Rao. He played with Bellamkonda Subba Rao, Adanki Sri Rama Murti, Pulipati Venkatesvarlu, Abburi and famous Sthanam Narasimha Rao. In 1930s he acted in silent movies with Lakshmi Rajyam and Suri Babu. From 1937 to 1947 he often gave shows in Bombay (Mumbai), Madras, Hyderabad and all over Andhra Pradesh together with these actors. Siva Rama Sastry played in Udyoga Vijayam (as Krishna), Paduka pattaabhishekam (as Bharata), Harischandra (as Harischandra), Bobbili yuddham (as Ranga Rao), Chandra Gupta (Siva Rama Sastry as Chandra Gupta and Stanam Narasimha Rao as Mura) and other. The people of Bapatla honoured him at the completion of his age of 60 years with a big ceremony together with the cultural minister of Andhra Pradesh Kala Venkata Rao as the functional president and Pasala Purna Chendra Rao the director of Vijayawada radio station, the speaker of the function. He died in 1974 in Bapatla at the age of 71 and survived in his four children.

Chikkala Sudhakar

Chilakapati Krishnamacharyulu

China Tirupati Kumari                                                                        Goto TopTop

Chittoor V. Nagaiah

Chunduru Madhusudana Rao

CR Das

CR Mohan

D Sree Ramulu

D Srinivasa Dikshit

Daavuluri Rajeswara Rao

Dasaradha Rama Raju

Dasari Koti Ratnam

Dasari Raghava Rao

Devisetty Krishna Rao

Devisetty Nirmala

Dhulipala Sitha Rama Sastry. 

                A very great stage actor from Guntur. In the role of "Duryodhana", he was next only to the legendary Madhavapeddi Venkata Ramayya! He also joined telugu film field and played character roles in several films. Popularly known as "Dhulipala"! Contributed by :Satya.M. Madhavapeddi

Dilip Raja

Doppalapudi Samba Siva Rao

Dr D Chandram

Dr Mikkilineni Radha Krishna Murthy

Easwar Rao

Eemani Veera Brahmacahry

Eleswarapu Subramanya Sastry

G James

G Rama Devi

G Sailaja

G Subba Rao

Gaddam Nageswara Rao

Gannaboina Subbulu

Ganpisetty Venkateswara Rao

Gogineni Kesava Rao

Gonuguntla Prabhakar

Govindarajula Venkata Subba Rao

Govindu Devaiah

Gudipalli Satyanarayana

Gummadi Kutumba Rao

Gummadi Vimala Kumari

Gummdi Venkateswara Rao

Gundimeda Narasimha Rao

Gurra Subramanya Sastry

Guttula Usha Rani

Haridasu Samba Siva Rao

Hema Latha

Inkollu Venkata Ratnam

J Rama Mohan Rao

Jagan Kumar

Jagarlamoodi Lakshmi Narasimham

Jagga Rao


Jandhyala Venkata Sita Rama Sastry

Jasti Koteswara Rao

Jawahar Babu

Jaya Vani

JC Kennedy

Jeyamma                                                                                              Goto TopTop

Josyula Rama Chandra Rao

K Aruna

K Hari Prasada Rao

K Kalpana

K Kondala Rao Naidu

K Prasad

K Srinivasa Rao

K Vijaya

K Vijaya Lakshmi

K Yoganand


Kaji Ahmed Hussain Khan

Kakinada Koteswara Rao

Kalaabandhu Baachu Achuta Ramaiah

Kalaavaachaspathi Kongara Jaggaiah

Kalidasu Koteswara Rao

Kalidasu Lakshmikantam

Kalyanam Raghu Ramaiah


Kanaparti Venkata Subba Rao


Kandukuri Bhyrava Murthy garu (1910 ?1983)

Late Shri Bhyrava Murthy garu was born in Eluru and settled in Kothagudem due to his employment with Singareni Collieries . He was active member and director with Collieries Employees Recreation (CER) Club and acted and directed several stage dramas and one act plays including Kanyasulkam, Alluri Seetharama Raju, Krishna Rayabaram and his one act play ¡°Paga?written by Gollapudi Maruthi Rao garu won a couple of prizes during the competitions. He was appreciated by the Singareni Collieries management and was honored for his Girisam role in Kanyasulkam. With his association with Late Banda Kanakalingeshwar Rao garu and Late Nanduri Subbarao garu, a couple of dramas written and directed by him pertaining to Singareni collieries Karmikulu were broadcasted in All India Radio Vijayawada Karmikula Karyakramam. Contributed by : Kandukuri Mallikarjuna Raja, Sudan 

Kandula Raja Rao


Kanneganti Madhu

Kanneganti Nasarayya

Kanneganti Radha

Kanneganti Sita Kumari

Karumuri Sita Ramaiah

Kasturi Narasimha Rao

Katari Radhakrishna Murthy (R.K.Katari) :
 He is a Drama artist, who one the Best actor award in All India Civil services Drama Competetions held in Tripura. For more details, you can contact him in the address given below: Katari Radha Krishna Murthy, Flat no 111, Block 1, SMR Metropolis, Miyapur, Hyderabad - 500049, Tel : 040 23046285.

Kavulu Bhagavan Das

Kavuri Hema Chandra Sarma

Kavuri Sri Rama Murthy

Khemchand Chandana

KL Vanaja

Kode Radha Krishna Murthy

Koganti Samba Siva Rao


Kolakaluri Rama Sesha Varma

Kolla Hanumanta Rao

Kommareddi Prasada Reddy

Konatham Venkata Srinivasa Rao

Kondapaneni Satyanarayana

Kongara Jaggaiah

Koochibatla Siva Rama Krishnaiah

Kosuru Punnaiah

Krishna Veni

KSR Krishna Murthy


Kumpatla SubbaRao

Kuppa Suryanarayana

Lakkaraju Vijaya Gopala Rao

Lakshmi Rajyam

Lakshmi Tulasi                                                                                    Goto TopTop

Lanka Satyanarayana


Lolla Suryanarayana

M Aadi Lakshmi

M Anjaneyulu

M Mallikarjuna Rao

M R Krishna

M Rajesh Babu

M Venkata Swamy Naidu

Maadiraju Ranga Rao

Maavillapalli Koteswara Rao

Maddala Rama Rao(Raavan Fame)

Maddali Durgachary

Maddali Sesha Giri Rao

Maddela Panchanadam

Maddela Raja Kumari

Madhavapeddi Satyam 

                Madhavapeddi Satyam was also born in Brahmana Koduru (v), guntur dt to Madhavapeddi Lakshmi Narasayya and Sundaramma, in the 3rd decade of 20th century. He had a rich and melodius voice and was a recognised singer, even from childhood! He came to limelight on the Telugu Stage, as a member of the famous Malladi Suryanarayana drama trupe, for his role as"Nakshathraka" in "Harischandra" drama. His talent was recognised by Late Chakrapani who took him to Madras to act in the film "Shavukaru", produced by him and Nagi Reddy under the newly founded banner "Vijaya pictures". Though he acted in this and a few other telugu films, essentially being a talented singer, he attracted the attention of famous cine music directors, such as S. rajeswara rao, Ghantasala venkateswara rao and many others, who utilised him as a cine play back singer. He is reported to have sung nearly 7000 songs in films, some o0f which are in other indian languages too!
He lent his voice particularly to S.V. Ranga Rao and Relangi Venkata Ramayya, in most of their films. He was specially famous for singing telugu stanzas in Mythological films. He has earned unprecedented name and fame, particularly for the song "Vivaha Bhojanammu" in the film "Maya Bazaar", produced by Vijaya Film pictures! Satyam passed away in Dec 2000, leaving a void in telugu film industry, that is hard to fill up!
Contributed by : Satya.M. Madhavapeddi.

Madhavapeddi Venkata Ramaiah
                Popularly known as "Madhavapeddi", Madhavapeddi Vekata Ramayya, was born to Koteswara Swamy and Venemma, in Brahmana Koduru (v), Ponnur Mandalam in Guntur Dt, during the last decade of 19th century. Sri Madhavapeddi Venkata Ramayya was acclaimed as one of the alltime stalwarts of the telugu stage! He was a contemporary of such great actors as, Addanki srirama murthy, Bellamkonda subba Rao, Pulipati venkateswarlu and was particularly famous for the role of Duryodhana, in "Pandava Udyoga Vijayamulu" stage drama, penned by the immortal Thirupathi Venkata Kavulu. He was also well known in the role of Prataparudrudu, in the stage drama, "Prataparudriyam" in which he and Bellary Raghavacharyulu, another of the alltime stalwarts of the telugu Stage, acting in the role of Yugandhara, used to excel! It is said that both these stalwarts, facing each other on the stage, used to skip delivery of some written dialougues, while conveying their meaning through their wonderful facial expression and body language, much to the dismay and delight of the knowledgeble viewers! 
After active stage career for over two decades, Madhavapeddi joined telugu film industry in its early phase and acted as "Nala" in the film "Chitra Naleeyam", "Sisupala" in "Draupadi Mana Samrakshanam" and in some other early films of Telugu screen, many of which were produced at Calcutta and Bombay, since the industry was not yet born in Madras! Madhavapeddi was known for his noblity and philanthropy and spent his earnings to help many in dire need! Not being blessed with own children, he adopted a poor muslim boy and brought him up!
Contributed by : Satya.M. Madhavapeddi.

Madhuragaana Kalaanidhi Vemparla Anjaneyulu

Maharshi Raghava

Makkapati Krishna Mohan


Malladi Govinda Sastry

Malladi Krishna Prasad

Malladi Suryanarayana

Mancha Narayana

Mandalapu Indira

Mandey Shyam Kumar

Manikonda Subba Rao

Manne Srinivasa Rao ,BTech (Agri. Engg.)
Address : C/o Teja Hospital, Repalle,Tel:08648222289, 9440241271
Faculty: Actor, Director, Writer, Critic, Parishad Organiser.
Awardlu: 1. "NATYA SRI" from Allahabad Natya Sangh, Allahabad.
2. "NATYA BHUSHAN" from Utkal Yuva Samskritika Sangh, Cuttack.
3. "VISISTA VYAKTHI" from Kala Jagathi (Cultural Magazine).
4. "RANGASTHALA RATNA" from Gopi Krishna Nataka Kala Parishad, Nutalapadu modalagunavi. 

Marreddi Venkata Ramana Reddy

Marri Appa Rao

Marturi Subbulu

Master Kalyani

MD Prasad

Meena Kumari

Melam Chandra Prasad

Modukuri Subba Rao

Mopatti Rama Rao

MP Kanneswara Rao

Mudigonda Linga Murthy

Mukkamala Dattu

Mukkamala Krishna Murthy

                An advocate in Guntur. Famous as stage actor from student days.
Used to excel in the role of "Bussi" in"Bobbili Yuddham", stage play. Joined telugu film field and played a number of character roles. Popularly, known as "Mukkamala"!. 
Contributed by : Satya.M. Madhavapeddi

Mukkamala Raghavaiah

Mulugu Veera Bhadra Rao

Munagaala Lakshmi Jyoti

Munagapati Koteswara Rao

Munipalli Suseela

Munipalli Veeraiah

Murthy Parvathi

Muthineni Lakshmi                                        Goto TopTop


Nalluri Lakshmi Rajyam

Nandiraju Narayana Murthy

Nanduri Jayaraj

Nanduri Seshachary

Nanduri Subba Rao (Radio annayya) : 
Nanduri Subba Rao garu (1932-2001) was famous Radio, stage artist, play wright, Producer in All India Radio, Vijayawada since 1960 to 1990. Famous for his lead role in Ganapathi play (written by Chilakamarthi Lakshmi Narasimham Pantulu). Also acted in and produced several hundreds of dramas from Akasavani, Vijayawada Kendra. Well known for his "Bavagari Kaburlu" and " Radio Bala Annayya". Receipient of National Awards for 2 times from I & B Ministry, Govt. of India. Acted in some telugu movies like "O Sita Katha", " Eduruleni Manishi", "Ananda Bhairavi" etc. Contributed by,Sunitha on 30.11.07 by email

Naralasetty Samba Siva Rao

Narla Koteswara Rao

Natasekhara Krishna

Neelam Mallaiah

Nelloori Satyanarayana

Nethi Parasurama Sarma

Nimmagadda Venkateswarlu

Nimmaraju SRA Prasad

Nutakki Subba Rao

Oorvasi Sarada

P Anjaneya Sarma

P Linga Rao

P Pandu Ranga Rao

P Pichaiah Naidu

P Siva Parvathi

P Sudarsanam

Paada Rangaiah

Paarupalli Satyanarayana


Padmaja Prabhakar

Padmasri Sthaanam Narasimha Rao

Pagadala Peda Tirupati Kumari

Pagadala Rama Rao

Pagadala Shyam Sunder

Paladugu Radha Krishna Murthy

Pamulpati Chenchu Rama Rao

Panduri Kutumba Rao

Parupalli Subba Rao

Pasupuleti Kannamba

                Acclaimed as the Best Stage Character Actress in those days (1930's & 40's). She was famous in the Roles "Chandramathi, Kaikeyi, Nayakuralu etc". Joined Telugu Cine Field and became equally famous!
Contributed by : Satya.M. Madhavapeddi

Pathuri Ramakrishna Sasthri

Patnala Sanari Viswanatha Chary

Paturi Rama Krishna Murthy

Paturi Sree Rama Sastry

Peddibotla Chalapati

Peesapati Narasimha Murthy

Peruri Murali Mohan

Pillalamarri Sundrara Ramaiah

Pinnaboina Krishna Murthy

Podhili Krishna Murthy


Pothukuchi Lakshmi Narasimha Murthy

Potukuchi Sankara Sastry


Pratti Ramaiah

Pratti Surya Narayana

Pulapati Venkateswarlu

Pulipaka Venkatappaiah                                                                     Goto TopTop

Pulipati Lakshmi Narayana

Pushpagiri Shankar

Puttugunta Venkata Subba Rao

Puvvula Koti Veeraiah

Puvvula Soori Babu

R Koteswara Rao Naidu

Raavi Venkata Subba Rao

Raavinutala Sree Rama Murhty

Raavipati Sree Rama Chandra Murthy

Raja Kumari (Bhashabi)

Raja Sivanand

Rajya Lakshmi

Raktakaneeru Nagabhushanam

Raktakaneeru Sita

RVR Acharya



Sampath( Anjaneya Fame)

Shanmukhi Anjaneya Raju

Sheik Abdul Sattar

Sheik Abdullah

Sheik Mohammed

Shrimadajjada Adibhotla Narayana Dasgaru (Hari Kadha Pithamaha)

Sistla Sakshi Somayajulu

Siva Parvathi

Siva Rathna Kumari

SP Lakshmana Swamy

Sree Ranjani

Sri Madabhushi Srinivasacharyulu

Sthanam Narasimha Rao


Susarla Kameswara Sarma

SV Ananda Rao

Swarajya Laksmi

T Manohar

T Rama Krishna Sastry

T Sree Ramulu

Taalluri Raghavendra Rao

Tadanki Seshamamba

Tadiboina Sivaji

Tadikonda Vijaya Kumari

Tangirala Anjaneyulu

Tanneru Narayana Rao

Tara Bai


Teegala Sesha Rao

Tenali Sakuntala

Tenali Suseela

Thondapu Rami Reddy:
 A great stage actor from kakinada.He had rich melodious voice and was a recognised singer, even from his childhood. Used to excel in all roles. Ramayya was acclaimed as one of the all time STAR & LEGEND of the telugu stage. His rendering of verses was very much acclaimed and appreciated for clarity and heart-touching recitation. He won many awards too. 

Tirunagara Ramanjaneyulu

Toomati Ratna Gopal

Tota Krisha Rao

TSR Murthy

Tumuluri Subramaniam

Turaga Pundarikakshaiah                                                                   Goto TopTop

TV Subba Rao

TVR Samba Siva Rao

Ubba Ankaiah

                Gana Gandharva, Gana Kousthubhalankara, Ganabhinaya Kalanidhi, Swarna kiriti etc. Basically, he hails from Prakasam Dt, and settled in Hyderabad. He acted as Sri Krishna, Narada, Bhakta Ramdas, Anjaneya, Dharmaraju etc. Right now, he is special advisor to TTD. He won many awards too. Even now we can hear his metallic voice from AIR.
Contributed by : RamaKoteshwarRao on 7th Dec 2002

Uppaala Nancharayya

Uppala Venkata Rathaiah

Uppaluri Sitaramaiah

V Basaveswara Rao

V Subramanyam

Vaali Subba Rao

Valiveti Srimannarayana

Valluri Venkata Subba Rao

Valluri Venkta Ramaiah Chowdari

Vangara Venkat Subbaiah

Vangaveeti Yagna Narayana Sarma

Vedala Venktappalacharya

Veerisetty Nageswara Rao

Veerisetty Raghu Ramaiah

Vejendla Koteswara Rao

Vejendla Samba Siva Rao

Vempati Gangadhara Rao Chowdary

Vemuri Gaggaiah

Vemuri Radha Krishna Murthy

Vemuri Ramaiah

Vemuri Sita Rama Sastry

Venigalla Janaki Devi

Vinnakota Krishna Murthy

VS Vijaya Lakshmi

Yadavalli Suryanarayana

                Peru gaanchina rangastula natule kaaka, telugu cinemala lone motta modati vaatilo eeyana natinchaaru.

Yadlapalli Kutumba Rao

Yeddu Sudarsana Rao

Yeleswarapu Kutumba Sastry
04 Oct

Famous Telugu People,
Freedom Fighters,..

  Endaro Mahaanubhaavulu 
  Andarikee Maa Vandanaalu 
  And Welcome to 
   World's first Encyclopedia of Telugu


Kavulu,Rachayitalu,Rachayitrulu-Poets & Writers

Allasaani Peddana
Ayyala Raaju Raama Bhadrudu
Bammera Pothana
Bhadriraju Krishnamoorthy Telugu verbal bases: a comparative and descriptive study)
Bhaktha Ramadasu
Bhavaraju Venkata Krishna Rao
Challapilla Venkata Sastry
Chilakamarthi Lakshminarasimham
Chinnaya Soori
Devulapalli Venkata Krishna Sastri
Divakarla Tirupati Sastry
Divakarla Venkatavadhani
Dr.Boyi Bheemana
Dr.C Narayana Reddy
Dr.Medasani Mohan (Sahasravadhani)
Dr.Nanduri Ramamohan Rao.
Gudipati Venkatachalam
Gurajaada Appaa Rao
Gurram Jhaashuva
Kandukuri Veeresalingam Pantulu
Konakalla Venkataratnam
Korada Mahadeva Sastri
(Famous for his award winning Historical Grammer of Telugu - a magnificient research work on the development of the language through the centuries)
Korada Ramachandra Kavi
Korada Ramakrishnaiah
(Author of books Sandhi, Desi and Bhaasotpattikramamu in addition to others which are used as text books for Graduate students)
Kotha Satyanarayana Chowdary
Maadayagaari Mallana
Mudigonda Siva Prasad
Munimaanikyam (Barasister parvateesam fame)
Mosalikanti Thirumala Rao (Freedom fighter from Kakinada, was imprisoned several times during freedom struggle. He was elected member of Parliament for 3 terms from Kakinada Constituency. He was Dy Minister for Food in  Central Govt under Pandit Nehru  and  he was appointed Lt Governor of Vindhya Pradesh.)
Nandi Timmana
Nanduri Subbarao
Nannaya Bhattu
Narayana Theerdhulu (written and complosed Krishna Leela Tarangini in Sanskrit)
Nori Narasimha Sastry
P.V.Narasimha Rao
Paalkuriki Somana
Paanuganti Lakshmi Narasimha Rao
Pingali Soorana
Pokuri Kasipathi Avadhanulu (Gadwala Astana kavi, Palanati vaasi, kavi shimha, kavi kokila, astavadhani, sathavadani, nethraavadani, Bhrahma sri. Grandhalu - SiddiYaga Charitra, Souri Saisava Leela.
Rachakonda viswanadha Sastry (Raavi Sastry)

Shyama Sastry

Mahakavi Sri Sri Sri Sri (Srirangam Srinivaasa Rao)
Mahakavi Sri Sri gaaru gurinchi, vari tanayudu Venkat Srirangam gaaru roopondinchina website.

Sri Krishna Deva Raayalu
Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Tallapaaka Annamaachaaryudu
Tanikella Bharani
Tarigonda Venkamma
Tenali Raama Krishna
Thallavajhula Sundaram.
Thoomu Narasimha dasu
Tikkana Somayaji
Tirupati Venkata Kavulu 
( Divakarla Tirupati Sastry & Challapilla Venkata Sastry )
Turaga Jayasyamala
Vemulavaada Bheemakavi
Viswanaatha Satyanarayana
Yandamuri Veerendranath

    Andhra Grandhamulu                 Grandhakarthalu
Andhra Mahaabhaarathamu

Nirvachanoththara Raamayanamu



Maarkandaeya puraanamu

Dasakumaara charithra



Ranganaadha Raamayanamu

Basava puraanamu

Kumaara Sambhavamu

Rukmini parinayamu


Manu charithra

Paanduranga mahatyamu

Vasu charithra

Kalaa poornodhayamu

Aamukta Maalyadha


Devi bhaagavatham


Andhrakavula Charithra

Raajasekhara Charithra


Krishna pakshamu


Aandhrula Saanghika Charithra


Maala pilla






Baapu aathmakadha (Rashtra gaanamu)

Samagraandhra Saahithyamu



Chivaraku migilaedhi?

Timiramu lo samaramu

Yenki paatalu

Merupula Marakalu


Paakudu raallu

Bathikina collegee

Jada kuchchulu

Raamayana vishavruksham








Srungaara naishadhamu



Palnaati veeracharithra






Swargaaniki Nichchenalu

Kinnerasaani Paatalu


(Nannayya, Tikkana, Yerrapragada)






Paravasthu chinnayasoori

Bammera pothana

Goanabudhdhaa reddy

Paalkooriki Somanaadhudu

Nanne choadudu

Koochimanchi Timmana


Allasaani pedhdhana

Tenali raamakrishnudu

Raamaraaja Bhooshanudu

Pingali soorana

Sri krishnadevaraayulu

Tirupathi venkatakavulu

Tirupathi venkatakavulu

Gurajaada appaarao

Kandhukoori veeraesalingam

Kandhukoori veeraesalingam

Chaemakoori venkatakavi

Dhaevulapalli krishnasastri

Raayaprolu Subbarao

Suravaram pratapareddy

Chilakamarti lakshmi narasimham

Unnava lakshminaarayana

Paanuganti lakshmi narasimham

Davvoori raamireddy

Korlapaati sriraamamurthy



Thummala seetaraamamoorhty chowdhary


Sree Sree

Gadiyaaram venkataseshasastry



Nandoori subbarao

Tripuranaeni gopichand

Raachakonda vishwanaadhasastry

Raavoori Bharadwaj

Paalagummi padmaarao

Raayaprolu Subbarao

Muppala Ranganaayakamma

C. Naarayanareddy

Gudipaati Venkataachalam(Chalam)

Gudipaati Venkataachalam(Chalam)

Gudipaati Venkataachalam(Chalam)

Adavi Baapiraaju

Adavi Baapiraaju

Adavi Baapiraaju





Vishwanaadha Satyanaarayana

Vishwanaadha Satyanaarayana

Vishwanaadha Satyanaarayana

Vishwanaadha Satyanaarayana

Vishwanaadha Satyanaarayana

Vishwanaadha Satyanaarayana

Vishwanaadha Satyanaarayana

Cherla Bhashyakara Sastry

04 Oct

Telugu Literature


Telugu literature
The Pre-Nannayya Period
Kavi Trayam – the Trinity of Poets
Sumati Shatakam by Baddena Bhupaludu
The Age of Srinatha and the Prabandhas
Bammera Potana
Krishnadevaraya and the Astadiggajulus
Musical Literatur – Annamaya
Yogi Vemana
The Modern Period
Forms of Telugu Literature
Subject Matter in Telugu Literature
The Telugu Author’s Craft
Pancha Kavyas – the five best works in Telugu Literature
Other well known Telugu Authors and their works

Telugu literature

Telugu literature or Telugu Sahityam (Telugu: తెలుగు సాహిత్యం) is the body of works written in the Telugu language. It consists of poems, stories, dramas and puranas. Telugu literature has a rich and long literary tradition.

Telugu Writers

The Pre-Nannayya Period (before 1020 AD)

In the earliest period Telugu literature existed only in the form of inscriptions, precisely from 575 AD onwards. Most literatures began with translations from Sanskrit.

The Age of the Puranas (1020-1400AD)

Kavi Trayam — the Trinity of Poets — Nannaya, Tikkana and Errana

Nannaya, Tikanna and Yerrapragada (or Errana) are known as the Kavi Trayam, the trinity of poets or the three great poets. This Trinity translated the Mahabharata from Sanskrit into Telugu over the period of 11-14th century AD, and became the idols for all following poets.

Nannaya — the Adi Kavi (the first poet)

Nannaya -- the Adi Kavi (the first poet)
Nannaya — the Adi Kavi (the first poet)
A reading of Nannayas poetry
A reading of Nannayas poetry
A brief history of Nannaya
A brief history of Nannaya

Nannayabhatta (1022–1063AD – also referred to as Nannaya), started to translate the Sanskrit Mahabharata into Telugu on the request of the East Chalukya king Rajaraja Narendra. This marks the beginning of Telugu literature, which has yet been uncovered. This work has been interpreted in the Champu style and emotes such simplicity and polishing and of such high literary excellence, that several scholars do not dismiss the possibility of the existence of literary works in Telugu during the pre-Nannaya period. Although there is evidence of Telugu literature before Nannaya, he is given the epithet Aadi Kavi (“the first poet”) because he was the first to establish a formal grammar of written Telugu. He established the fundamentals of Telugu writing by both borrowing from Sanskrit grammar and creating original rules for semantics and other constructs. Until his time, Telugu literature was based on Prakrit and lacked grammar. Nannaya is given full acknowledgment with his grammatical work, the “Andhra Sabda Chintamani”. Nannaya completed the first two chapters and a part of the third chapter of the Mahabharata epic. It was an unusual translation, with lots of clever innovations but no deviations from the story. The diction is so masterly that historians think that there must have been earlier works in Telugu.

An example of Nannaya’s poetry :

“The moon-lit autumn nights were lovely; the bright chains of stars in the cloudless skies made them lovelier. Replete with the scent of water-lilies wafted by gentle breezes, the nights were luminescent with moonlight scattered like camphor-dust.”


A brief history of Tikkana
A brief history of Tikkana

But Nannayabhatta couldn’t complete the job. Tikkana (1205–1288 AD) furthered the work from Nannaya. He was the second poet of the “Trinity of Poets (Kavi Trayam)” that translated Mahabharatamu into Telugu over a period of centuries (11th to 14th centuries AD).

Nannaya translated two and a half parvamulu (books) of Mahabharatamu. Tikkana translated the remaining books starting from the 4th, leaving the half finished third book, Aranya Parvamu (the Book of Forest), for Yerrapragada. Tikkana did not touch this part because it was considered to be inauspicious to translate this book, which was left half-finished by Nannaya.

The specialty of his style of writing is that it is mostly Telugu, unlike Nannayya whose work was mostly sanskritized. Tikkana used Telugu words even to express very difficult expressions and ideas. He used Telugu words and parables extensively.

A sample of Tikkana’s poetry — a 4-line verse called ‘kanda padyam’, for which Tikkana is famous :

“The arrows that have pierced your body can be removed and the wounds healed, but the words that have caused deep hurt cannot be removed by any means”

The flavor of Telugu national similes spice up his poetry:

madugu jeerayandu masi daakintlu- as if pure white cheera (sari) is touched by soot,
paalalo badina balli vidhambuna- like the lizard in the milk,
neyvosina yagni bhangi- like the fire in which neyyi (clarified butter) was poured,
mantalo midutalu chochchinatlayina- fate of locusts flew into the fire,
kantikin reppayu bole- like the eyelid for the eye,
nooti kappa vidhambuna- like a frog in the well, etc.



Yerrapragada (also known as Errana) started the remaining half of the Aranya Parvamu with the style of Nannaya and ended it with the style of Tikkana as a bridge between the parts translated by Nannaya and Tikkana. As they did, he used half Sanskrit and half Telugu in his Telugu translation of Sanskrit Mahabharatamu. He was honored with the title Prabandha Parameshwara (the supreme lord of Prabandha).

read Mahabharata in Telugu Script

Sumati Shatakam by Baddena Bhupaludu

Sumati Satakam Poem - Sri Ramuni Dayachethanu
Sumati Satakam Poem – Sri Ramuni Dayachethanu

Sumati Shatakam, which is a neeti (“moral”), is one of the most famous Telugu Shatakams. Shatakam is composed of more than a 100 padyalu (poems). According to many literary critics Sumati Shatakam was composed by Baddena Bhupaludu (1220-1280AD). He was also known as Bhadra Bhupala. He was a Chola prince and a vassal under the Kakatiya empress Rani Rudrama Devi, and a pupil of Tikkana. If we assume that the Sumati Shatakam was indeed written by Baddena, it would rank as one of the earliest Shatakams in Telugu. The Sumatee Shatakam is also one of the earliest Telugu works to be translated into a European language, as C. P. Brown rendered it in English in the 1840s.

read more about Sumati Shatakam

The Age of Srinatha and the Prabandhas (1400 — 1600 AD)

  • Srinatha (1365 — 1441 AD) was the foremost poet, who popularized the Prabandha style of composition (a story in verse having a tight metrical scheme)
  • Srinatha’s “Sringara Naishadham” is particularly well-known.
  • Srinatha was respected as Kavi Sarvabhouma(King of poets)

During this period, some Telugu poets translated Sanskrit poems and dramas, while others attempted original narrative poems. The popular Telugu literary form called the Prabandha evolved during this period. Srinatha (1365 — 1441 AD) was the foremost poet, who popularised this style of composition (a story in verse having a tight metrical scheme). Srinatha’s “Sringara Naishadham” is particularly well-known.

Srinatha was respected as Kavi Sarvabhouma(King of poets) in Telugu, and patronised by many kings including the Kondavidu Reddys, Velamas of Rachakonda and Deva Raya II of Vijayanagara Empire.

Srinatha worked as a minister in the court of Pedakomati Vemareddy of Kondaveedu. He managed to get his king released from captivity of the Lingamaneni rulers of Devarakanda in return for his literary prowess. Srinatha produced and dedicated a host of books to kings and enjoyed a luxurious life. However, he seemed to have suffered from poverty at the end of his life. He was the brother-in-law of another famous Telugu poet Pothana.

We may also refer to the Ramayana poets in this context. The earliest Ramayana in Telugu is generally known as the Ranganatha Ramayana, though authorised by the chief Gona Buddha Reddi. Then there were the great religious poets like Potana (1450 — 1510AD), Jakkana (second half of the 14th century) and Gaurana (first half of the 15th century).

Bammera Potana (1450 — 1510AD)

Bammera Potana
Bammera Potana

Bammera Potana (Telugu: బమ్మెర పోతన) (1450–1510AD) was an Indian Telugu poet best known for his translation of the Bhagavata Purana from Sanskrit to Telugu. He was a Telugu and Sanskrit Scholar. His work, Andhra Maha Bhaagavathamu, is popularly called as Pothana Bhagavatham in Telugu.

Bammera Potanamatyulu was born into a Niyogi Brahmin family in Bammera,Warangal District of Andhra Pradesh. His father was Kesanna and his mother Lakshmamma.He was considered to be a natural Poet (sahaja Kavi), needing no teacher. He was known to be very polite and was an agriculturist by occupation. Though he was a great scholar, he never hesitated to work in the agricultural fields.

The Southern period (1600 — 1820 AD)

Krishnadevaraya and the Astadiggajulus

Emperor Krishnadevaraya
Emperor Krishnadevaraya

The Vijayanagara period (1336 — 1565 AD) is at times also considered as the Golden Age of Telugu literature. During this time Telugu was one of the languages spoken in the royal courts. Literary activities flourished during the rule of the Vijayanagara dynasty and the period of Krishnadevaraya’s rule in the sixteenth century.

Krishnadevaraya, a poet himself, introduced the Prabandha to Telugu literature. Krishna Deva Raya wrote the book Amuktamalyada in Telugu, which is considered one of the five Pancha Kavyas — the five best books in Telugu Literature. In the book he is describing the pangs of separation suffered by Andal (an incarnation of the goddess Mahalakshmi) and he describes Andal’s physical beauty in thirty verses; using descriptions of the spring and the monsoon as metaphors. As elsewhere in Indian poetry, the sensual pleasure of union extends beyond the physical level and becomes a path to, and a metaphor for, spirituality and ultimate union with the divine.

His court had the Ashtadiggajas (“eight elephants”), who were considered to be the greatest of poets of that time: Their names are Allasani Peddana, Tenali Rama Krishna, Nandi Thimmana, Madayyagari Mallana, Dhurjati, Ayyala-raju Rama-Bhadrudu, Pingali Surana and Rama-raj-bhushanudu.

read more about Sri Krishandevaraya and the Ashradiggajas

Musical Literatur – Annamaya

Annamaya singing to Venkateshwara
Annamaya singing to Venkateshwara

Pada-kavita is the first musical literature.

Tallapaka Annamacharya (or Annamayya) (1408 – 1503AD) is widely regarded as the Pada-kavita Pitaamaha of the Telugu language – the grandfather of the Musical Literature. He was born to a Vaidiki Brahmin family and his works are considered to have dominated and influenced the structure of Carnatic music compositions. Annamacharya is said to have composed as many as 32,000 sankirtanas (songs) on Bhagwaan Govinda Venkateswara, of which only about 12,000 are available today.

Annamacharya’s wife, Thimmakka (Tallapaka Tirumalamma) is considered the first female poet in Telugu literature. Her main whork is the Subhadra Kalyanam, which consists of 1170 poems.

read more about Annamaya

Yogi Vemana

Yogi Vemana
Yogi Vemana

Kumaragiri Vema Reddy, popularly known as Yogi Vemana, was a Telugu poet. His poems were written in the popular vernacular of Telugu, and are known for their use of simple language and native idioms. His poems discuss the subjects of Yoga, wisdom and morality. There is no consensus among scholars about the period in which Vemana lived.

C.P. Brown, known for his research on Vemana, estimates the year of birth to be the year 1652AD based on some of his verses. His poems are four lines in length. The fourth line is, in majority of the cases, the chorus Viswadabhirama Vinura Vema – he thus conveyed his message with three small lines written in a simple vernacular. He traveled widely across south India, acquiring popularity as a poet and Yogi. So high was the regard for Vemana that a popular Telugu saying goes ’Vemana’s word is the word of the Vedas’.

He is celebrated for his style of Chaatu padyam, a poem with a hidden meaning. Many lines of Vemana’s poems are now colloquial phrases of the Telugu language. They end with the signature line Viswadhaabhi Raama, Vinura Vema, literally Beloved of Vishwadha, listen Vema. There are many interpretations of what the last line signifies.

read more about Yogi Vemana

The Modern Period (after 1820 AD)

C.P. Brown

C.P. Brown
C.P. Brown

C.P. Brown (Charles Philip Brown, Telugu: చార్లెస్ ఫిలిప్ బ్రౌన్) (November 10, 1798 – December 12, 1884) was a Telugu writer and an Englishman by descent. He worked as an official in Cuddapah and Rajahmundry during the British rule in India. Native Telugu people call him Brown Dora (Telugu: బ్రౌన్ దొర), which means Lord Brown in English.

Europeans like C.P. Brown played an important role in the development of Telugu language and literature. In common with the rest of India, Telugu literature of this period was increasingly influenced by European literary forms like the novel, short story, prose and drama.

Telugu literature was in a dormant phase and declined in 18th century because of various social and political reasons, including lack of creative Telugu poets, prevailing illiteracy and decline of empires, like Vijayanagara Empire, who were patrons of the literature. Brown being an official in the region collected the works, printed them and saved some of the heritage of the Telugu language. In his own words, “Telugu literature was dying out; the flame was flickering in the socket in 1825, I found Telugu literature dead. In 30 years I raised it to life”.

Kandukuri Veeresalingam

Kandukuri Veeresalingam
Kandukuri Veeresalingam

Kandukuri Veeresalingam (Telugu: కందుకూరి వీరేశలింగం) (also known as Kandukuri Veeresalingham Pantulu (Telugu: కందుకూరి వీరేశలింగం పంతులు)), (16 April 1848 – 27 May 1919) was a social reformer of Andhra Pradesh. He was born in an orthodox Andhra Brahmin family and therefore called the father of modern Telugu literatur. He is widely considered as the man who first brought about a renaissance in Telugu people and Telugu literature. He was influenced by the ideals of Brahmo Samaj particularly those of Keshub Chunder Sen. Veeresalingam panthulu is popularly called Gadhya Thikkana. He wrote about 100 books between 1869 and 1919 and introduced the essay, biography, autobiography and the novel into Telugu literature. His Satyavathi Charitam was the first social novel in Telugu. He wrote Rajasekhara Charitamu inspired by Oliver Goldsmith’s The Vicar of Wakefied. To him literature was an instrument to fight social evils.

Mangalampalli Balamurali Krishna

Mangalampalli Balamurali Krishna
Mangalampalli Balamurali Krishna

Mangalampalli Balamurali Krishna (Telugu: మంగళంపల్లి బాలమురళీకృష్ణ)(born July 6, 1930) is a Carnatic vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and a playback singer. He is also acclaimed as a poet, composer and respected for his knowledge of Carnatic Music. Balamuralikrishna was born in Sankaraguptam, East Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh state. Dr Balamuralikrishna has composed over 400 compositions in various languages like Telugu and Sanskrit. His compositions ranges from Devotional to Varnams, Kirthis, Javalis and Thillans. His greatest achievement are the compositions in all the fundamental 72 melakartha ragas.

Aacharya Aatreya

Aacharya Aatreya
Aacharya Aatreya

Aacharya Aatreya (Telugu: ఆచార్య ఆత్రేయ) or Kilambi Venkata Narasimhacharyulu (7 May 1921 – 13 September 1989) was a playwright, lyrics and story writer of the Telugu film industry. He was born as Kilambi Venkata Narasimhacharyulu on 7 May 1921 in the Mangalampadu village of Sullurpeta Mandalam in the Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh. His pen name is based on their family Gothra. Known for his poetry on the human soul and heart, he was given the title ‘Manasu Kavi’(Poet of Heart). His poetry is philosophical and intellectually satisfying.

Forms of Telugu Literature

There are many different forms of Literature in Telugu. Some popular ones are:

Prabandham: These are stories in verse form with a tight metrical structure and they have three forms. Astadiggajas have written in all three of the Prabandham genres during the Prabhanda yugam.

Champu: Nannaya’s Mahabharata is written in the Champu style. Telugu literature uses a unique expression in verse called Champu, which mixes prose and poetry. Although it is the dominant literary form, there are exceptions: for example, Tikkana composed Uttara Ramayana entirely in verse.

Kavyam: Poem which usually begin with a short prayer called a Prarthana, containing initial auspicious letter “Shri” which invokes the blessings of the god. The occasion and circumstances under which the work is undertaken is next stated.

Shatakam (anthology): Shathakam is a literary piece of art. The name derives from Shata, which means a hundred in Sanskrit. Shathakam usually comprises a hundred poems (give or take). Hence, a Shathakam is a volume (book) of hundred poems. Shatakams are usually devotional, philosophical or convey morals.

Yakshaganas: Indigenous dramas of song and prose.

Subject Matter in Telugu Literature

Early Telugu literature is predominantly religious in subject matter. Poets and scholars drew most of their material from, and spent most of their time translating, epics such as Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagavata and the Puranas, all of which are considered to be storehouses of Indian culture.

From sixteenth century onwards, rarely known episodes from the Puranas are made basis for kavyas. Literary works drawn from episodes of the Puranas under the name Akhyana or Khanda became popular along with fortunes of single hero under the title of Charitra, Vijaya, Vilasa and Abhyudaya became most common subject matter of poetry.

In eighteenth century, marriages of heroes under the title Parinaya, Kalyana and Vivāha became popular.

Religious literature consisted of biographies of the founders of religion, their teachings (Sara) and commentaries (bhashya).

The sciences such as astrology, law, grammar, ballets, moral aphorisms, devotional psalms are characteristics of most popular literature.

The Telugu Author’s Craft

Praudha Prabandha or Maha Kavya is considered as highest form of verse. The essentials of such a composition according to the Telugu poetic theory are:

  • Saili (Style) — the words chosen neither soft nor very musical but dignified (Gambhira), Sweetness (Madhurya), Grace and Delicacy (Sukumara), Fragrance (Saurabhya) and Symphony. In choice of vocabulary, Vulgar language (Gramya) is avoided.
  • Paka (Mould) — refers to the embodiment of ideas in language, and the nature and texture of the language employed. There are three types of pakas namely
    • Draksha (wine or grape) — Draksha is a crystal clear style where everything is seen through a transparent medium. Mostly Nannaya uses this mould.
    • Kadali (Plantain) — Kadali is complex paka because the soft skin has to peeled in order to reach the core of the subject. Mostly Tikkana uses this mould.
    • Narikela (coconut) — Narikela is the most difficult mould to employ because one has to break the rind to understand the idea. Vishnu Chittiyam or Krishnadevaraya are cast in this paka.
  • Rasa (Sentiment) — Rasa is the heart and soul of any Telugu poetry which follows rule (Sutra), Vakyam Rasathmakam Kavyam. There are nine Rasas, known as the Nava Rasas. A perfect kavya uses all nine of these, namely: śṛṅgāra (love), Hāsya (Comic), Karuṇā (Sympathy), Raudram (Horror), Bhayānaka (Fear), Bībhatsa (Disgust), Vīra (Heroic), Adbhuta (wonder), Shantam (Peace),
  • Alamkara (Ornamentation) — There are Sabdhalamkaras (ornaments of sound) and Arthalamkaras (ornaments of thoughts). Slsha (double entendre) and Yamaka (alliteration) are Sabdhalamkaras. Upamana (smile) Utpreksha (hyperbole) are Arthalamkaras. We find usage of Alamkaras in description of events, places and proceedings etc.

Pancha Kavyas — the five best works in Telugu Literature

The following are the Telugu Pancha Kavyas (or Maha Kavyas), the five great books of Telugu Literature.

  • Manu Charithra — Allasani Peddana
  • Panduranga Mahatyam — Tenali Ramakrishna
  • Amuktyamalyada — Sri Krishnadevaraya
  • Vasu Charitra — Rama Raja Bhushana. This work is composed in 1570 in the court of Vijayanagara ruler Tirumala Deva Raya. The real name of Rama Raja Bhushana is Bhattu Murti.
  • Vijaya Vilaasamu — Chemakura Venkata Kavi. This work is a Prabhanda written in 17th century in the court of Tanjore ruler Ragunatha Nayak.

Other well known Telugu Authors and their works

  • Bammera Pothana — Bhagavatha Purana
  • Tallapaka Annamacharya — Annamacharya keertanalu
  • Tallapaka Timmakka — Subhadrakalyanam
  • Yogi Vemana — Vemana Satakam
  • Baddena Bhupaludu — Sumati Shatakam
  • Dhurjati — Srikaalahasteesvara Satakam
  • Kavitrayam (Nannayya, Tikkana, Yerrapragada) — Andhra Mahaabhaarathamu (The great Mahabharatha in Telugu)
  • Srinatha — Haravilaasamu, Kaasikhandamu, Bhimakhandamu, Palnaati veeracharithra, Sŕngaara naishadhamu
04 Oct

History of Telugu


General Information
Classical Language Status
A Hindu Legend
Different types of Telugu Language
Classification of Vocabulary
Link to Sanskrit and Prakrit
Derivation of Telugu script from Brahmi
First Inscriptions
Post-Ikshvaku period
Middle Ages
Vijayanagara Empire
Tallapaka Annamacharya
Colonial period — Niccolò Da Conti
Persian/Arabic influence in the 17/18th century
Modern Telugu
First Telugu Film: Bhakta Prahlada

General Information

Telugu is a South-Central Dravidian language. It is one of the twenty-two scheduled languages of the Republic of India and primarily spoken in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India, where it is an official language. It is also spoken in some neighboring states.

Telugu is the language with the third largest number of native speakers in India (74 million). The Telugu Wikipedia was the First South Asian language to cross the 20,000 articles mark, and presently has the largest number of articles among all South Asian languages.

Classical Language Status

In 2004, the Government of India declared that languages that met certain requirements could be accorded the status of a “Classical Language in India”. Languages thus far declared to be Classical are Tamil (in 2004), Sanskrit (in 2005), Kannada and Telugu (in 2008).

In a 2006 press release, Minister of Tourism & Culture Ambika Soni told the Rajya Sabha the following criteria were laid down to determine the eligibility of languages to be considered for classification as a “classical Language”:

“High antiquity of its early texts/recorded history over a period of 1500-2000 years; A body of ancient literature/texts, which is considered a valuable heritage by generations of speakers; The literary tradition be original and not borrowed from another speech community; The classical language and literature being distinct from modern, there may also be a discontinuity between the classical language and its later forms or its offshoots.”

A Hindu Legend

Telugu is thought to have been derived from Trilinga, as in Trilinga Desa, “the country of the three lingas”. According to a Hindu legend, Shiva descended as a linga on three mountains, namely Kaleswara, Srisaila and Bhimeswara, which marked the boundaries of the Telugu country.

Different types of Telugu Language

The telugu language can be divided into three different types:

  1. The common conversational/colloquial language
  2. The language of prose books
  3. The language of poetry

Each of these types, but mainly the first and third, are very different from each other in terms of the choice of words and the grammatical forms. The language of prose books holds a middle position between the other two. Many teachers advise to learn the conversational telugu first before proceeding to study the language of poetry.

Classification of Vocabulary

The words in the telugu vocabulary can be divided as follows:

  1. Words of pure Telugu origin.
  2. Sanskrit words introduced into Telugu according to certain fixed rules. These words contain the crude forms of Sanskrit but they assume certain terminations, in order to be assimilated to pure Telugu words.
  3. Telugu corruptions of Sanskrit words, formed by the substitution, elision or insertion of letters.
  4. Colloquialism: These are colloquial forms, which though commonly used by all classes, are not authorized by the rules of grammar
  5. Words introduced into Telugu from foreign languages, for example Tamil or English.
  • Telugu is formed by modification of Sanskrit and Prakrit.
  • Telugu is a highly Sanskritized language.
  • This means that in Literary texts every Telugu grammatical rule is deduced from a Sanskrit canon and Telugu Literatur is heavily influenced by Sanskrit Vocabulary

Telugu was heavily influenced by Sanskrit and Prakrit. Telugu borrowed several features of Sanskrit that have subsequently been lost in Sanskrit’s daughter languages such as Hindi and Bengali, especially in the pronunciation of some vowels and consonants.

According to famous linguist Chenchiah, Telugu is Vikriti — that is, a language formed by modification of Sanskrit and Prakrit. It would appear that Andhras adopted a form of Prakrit, which, in the course of development, became the immediate ancestor of Telugu.

Literary texts in Telugu may be lexically Sanskrit or Sanskritized to an enormous extent, perhaps seventy percent or more, and every Telugu grammatical rule is laboriously deduced from a Sanskrit canon. Hence Sanskrit and its vocabulary influenced Telugu literature a great deal.

Sanskrit words and phrases

C.P Brown mentions on page 35 in his book : A Grammar of the Telugu language:

“If we ever make any real progress in the language the student will require the aid of the Sanskrit Dictionary, and cannot even talk or write Telugu with any ease or precision, unless he masters the first principles Sanskrit orthography.”

Sanskrit and Telugu alphabets are similar and exhibit one-one correspondence. The best Sanskrit pronunciation can be heard from scholars residing in the coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh, as a result of the huge influx of Sanskrit in language and literature and is quite evident in Carnatic music.

Derivation of Telugu script from Brahmi

Derivation of Telugu script from Brahmi
Derivation of Telugu script from Brahmi

The Andhra (Satavahana) dynasty introduced the Brahmi to the present day Kannada and Telugu regions. The earliest inscriptions found in the Tamil land belong to more or less the same period. A number of early Satavahana coins and other remains were found in Tamil Nadu. It is therefore reasonable to assume that Satavahanas introduced the script to the Tamil country as well. The Satavahanas were, for some time, vassals of the Mauryan Empire.

Asokan Brahmi inscription (3rd century BC)
Asokan Brahmi inscription (3rd century BC)
Evolution of Telugu script from Brahmi. First line is Telugu, second line Brahmi. Click to view full chart.
Evolution of Telugu script from Brahmi. First line is Telugu, second line Brahmi. Click to view full chart.

Mauryan Emperor Asoka the Great (reign: 269 — 232 BC) and the rise of Buddhism played stellar roles in championing this spread of writing. Thus, Telugu and all the other south Indian languages had developed from the proto-dravidian language of the Indus valley, while their scripts descended from the Brahmi.

The Brahmi script used by Mauryan kings eventually reached the Krishna River delta and gave rise to the Bhattiprolu script found on the urn containing Buddha’s relics. Buddhism spread to east Asia from the nearby ports of Ghantasala and Masulipatnam (ancient Maisolos of Ptolemy and Masalia of Periplus). The Bhattiprolu Brahmi script evolved into the Telugu script by 5th century AD.

First Inscriptions (400 BC — 500 AD)

  • First Inscriptions with Telugu words were found in Bhattiprolu in Guntur District (400 BC).
  • Ashoka inscriptions with use of Telugu words in spoken Prakrit were found 200 BC.
  • From Prakrit/Sanskrit inscriptions with Telugu places and names we know that Telugu was the language of the people and Prakrit was the language of the rulers.

Telugu is an ancient language. Inscriptions containing Telugu words claimed to “date back to 400 BC” were discovered in Bhattiprolu in Guntur District. The English translation of one inscription reads:

“Gift of the slab by venerable Midikilayakha”

Ashoka inscriptions of 3rd century BC with references to Andhras, use of Telugu words in spoken Prakrit from 200 BC to 6th century AD, and the Kothur inscription recovered recently in which a Telugu-Prakrit word “Thambhaya Dhaanam”, prove that Telugu has a rich history to be an ancient language.

Mauryan Emperor Asoka the Great (reign: 269 — 232 BC)
Mauryan Emperor Asoka the Great (reign: 269 — 232 BC)

The discovery of this Brahmi label inscription engraved on the soap stone reliquary datable to 2nd century BC, on paleographical ground reveals the ancient nature of the language and proves the fact that the Telugu language predates the known conception in Andhra Pradesh. Other primary sources are Prakrit/Sanskrit inscriptions found in the region, in which Telugu places and personal names are found. From this we know that the language of the people was Telugu, while the rulers, who were of the Satavahana dynasty, spoke Prakrit. Telugu words appear in the Maharashtri Prakrit anthology of poems (the Gathasaptashathi) collected by the first century BC Satavahana King Hala. Telugu speakers were probably the oldest peoples inhabiting the land between the Krishna and Godavari rivers.

Post-Ikshvaku period (500 AD — 1100 AD)

  • First inscription entirely in Telugu was found in the Rayalaseema region (575 AD)
  • Beginning of Telugu Literature as inscriptions and poetry in the courts of the rulers.
  • First written work in Telugu Literature is Nannayya’s Mahabharatam (1022 AD) which is a translation from Sanskrit to Telugu.

The first inscription that is entirely in Telugu corresponds to the second phase of Telugu history, after the Ikshvaku dynasty period. This inscription dated 575 AD was found in the Rayalaseema region and is attributed to the Renati Cholas. They broke with the prevailing fashion of using Sanskrit and introduced the tradition of writing royal proclamations in the local language.

Ancient inscription from Lepakshi
Ancient inscription from Lepakshi

During the next fifty years, Telugu inscriptions appeared in the neighboring Anantapuram and all the surrounding regions. The first available Telugu inscription in coastal Andhra Pradesh comes from about 633 AD. Around the same time, the Chalukya kings of Telangana also started using Telugu for inscriptions. Telugu was most exposed to the influence of Sanskrit, as opposed to Prakrit, during this period. This period mainly corresponded to the advent of literature in Telugu. This literature was initially found in inscriptions and poetry in the courts of the rulers, and later in written works such as Nannayya’s Mahabharatam (1022 AD). During the time of Nannayya, the literary language diverged from the popular language. This was also a period of phonetic changes in the spoken language.

For more information on the ancient telugu inscriptions, please see: Ancient Telugu Inscriptions

Middle Ages (1100 AD — 1400 AD)

This phase is marked by further stylization and sophistication of the literary language. Ketana (13th century) in fact prohibited the use of spoken words in poetic works. During this period the separation of Telugu script from the Kannada script took place.

Vijayanagara Empire (1350 AD — 1650 AD) — The Golden Age of Telugu Literature

Vijayanagara empire(Rayalaseema region) gained dominance from 1336 till the late 17th century, reaching its peak during the rule of Sri Krishnadevaraya in the 16th century, when Telugu literature experienced what is considered its golden age.

  • The time of Krishnadevaraya and the Ashtadiggajas (literal: eight elephants), who were the greatest poets in his royal court, is considered to be the golden age of Telugu Literature.
  • Krishnadevaraya wrote Amukta Malyada (A Garland dedicated to the Lord or the Giver of the Worn Garland), which is one of the Pancha Kavyas – the great five works in Telugu Literature.

Krishnadevaraya and the Ashtadiggajas

The great emperor Sri Krishnadeva Raya stated:

“దేశ భాషలందు తెలుగు లెస్స” – రాజు శ్రీకృష్ణదేవరాయ
“Desa bhashalandu Telugu Lessa” meaning " Telugu is the best/sweetest among the languages of the nation".

Literary activities flourished and the Raja/the King, a poet himself, introduced the prabandha (a kind of love poetry) in Telugu literature in his Amukta Malyada (A Garland Dedicated to the Lord – also translated as the Giver of the Worn Garland) This book is one of the Pancha Kavyas – the five great works in Telugu Literature.

Telugu literature flourished in the south in the traditional “samsthanas” (centres) of Southern literature, such as Madurai and Tanjore. This age is often referred to as the Southern Period.

Inscription from the time of Krishnadevaraya
Inscription from the time of Krishnadevaraya

Krishnadevaraya had in his royal court the Ashtadiggajas (literally: eight elephants) who were the greatest of poets of the times. Their names are

  • Allasani Peddana, (1510 — 1575 AD), who is known as Andhra Kavita Pitamahudu or Grandfather of Andhra Poetry,
  • Tenali Rama Krishna, Nandi Thimmana, Madayyagari Mallana, Dhurjati, Ayyala-raju Rama-Bhadrudu, Pingali Surana and Rama-raj-bhushanudu.

Tallapaka Annamacharya (1408 – 1503 AD)

Annamacharya is widely regarded as “pada kavita pitamaha” – the Grandfather of the Musical Literatur. He contributed many Telugu songs to this great language. Annamacharya is said to have composed as many as 32,000 sankirtanas (devotional songs) on Bhagwaan Govinda Venkateswara, of which only about 12,000 are available today.

Colonial period — Niccolò Da Conti

“Telugu is the Italian of the East”

- Niccolò Da Conti

16th century Italian explorer Niccolò Da Conti, who visited the Vijayanagara Empire, described the Telugu language as the Italian of the East, as he had found that many words are ending with vowels — similar to Italian.

“Telugu (Tenugu = tene agu = honey like) is the most melodious, sweet Italian of the East"

Persian/Arabic influence in the 17/18th century

In the latter half of the 17th century, Muslim rule, now in the hands of the Mughals, strengthened and extended further south, culminating in the establishment of the princely state of Hyderabad by the Asaf Jah dynasty in 1724. This heralded an era of Persian/Arabic influence in the Telugu language, especially among the people of Hyderabad. The effect is also felt in the prose of the early 19th century, as in the Kaifiyats.

Modern Telugu (1900 AD — Present)

  • What was considered an elite literary form of the Telugu language, has now spread to the common people with the introduction of mass media like movies, television, radio and newspapers.
  • This form of the language is also taught in schools and colleges as a standard.
  • In the current decade the Telugu language has undergone globalization due to the increasing settlement of Telugu-speaking people abroad.

The period of the late 19th and the early 20th centuries saw the influence of the English language and modern communication/printing press as an effect of the British rule, especially in the areas that were part of the Madras Presidency. Since the 1930s, what was considered an elite literary form of the Telugu language, has now spread to the common people with the introduction of mass media like movies, television, radio and newspapers. This form of the language is also taught in schools and colleges as a standard.

Literature from this time had a mix of classical and modern traditions and included works by scholars like Kandukuri Viresalingam and Panuganti Lakshminarasimha Rao.

In the current decade the Telugu language, like other Indian languages, has undergone globalization due to the increasing settlement of Telugu-speaking people abroad. Modern Telugu movies, although still retaining their dramatic quality, are linguistically separate from post-Independence films.

First Telugu Film: Bhakta Prahlada (1931 film)

Bhakta Prahlada (Telugu: భక్త ప్రహ్లాద) was the first Telugu talkie film, based on The Story of Narasimha and Prahlada made in 1931 by H. M. Reddy, a pioneer of the Indian film industry. It is a talkie about a devotee Prahlada in Hindu mythology.