The basics of Telugu poetry

Base classification is of two types – whether it is a short syllable(I) or whether it is a long syllable(U) Clustering is based on the pattern below – Ya Maa Taa Raa Ja Bhaa Na Sa La Gam I     U    U     U   I     U    I    I   I   U The above is the notation used for remembrance. If we say Ya Ganam(the word in Telugu for this), it means th syllable sequence IUU If we say Na Ganam, it means the syllable sequence III All of these are three syllable phonetics(till Sa). Besides this, we got two syllables, UI(GaLa), UU(GaGa),II(LaLa), IU(Va) and the single syllables I(La), U(Ga) Another high level classification is IndraGanas – NaLa(Na+La IIII), NaGa(Na+Ga IIIU), SaLa(Sa+La IIUI), Bha, Ra, Ta SuryaGanas – GaLa(Ga+La UI), Na Along with this, two more rules are established – Yati – the character at position one in a line of the poem should match with the character at position x. The same is applicable for all the lines of the poem, albeit, different characters. Prasa – the second character of the poem. This should be the same character for all the lines in the poem. Poetic Styles of Telugu are defined from this –

Style Pattern Yati Prasa
Utpalamala Bha Ra Na Bha Bha Ra Va 10 Yes
Champakamala Na Ja Bha Ja Ja Ja Ra 11 Yes
Sardulam Ma Sa Ja Sa Ta Ta Ga 13 Yes
Mattebham Sa Bha Ra Na Ma Ya Va 14 Yes
Mattakokila Ra Sa Ja Ja Bha Ra 11 Yes
Taralam Na Bha Ra Sa Ja Ja Ga 12 Yes
Seesam 6 IndraGanas, 2 SuryaGanas 1st character of 1st, 3rd,5th,7th Ganas If Yati is followed, then no. If Yati is not followed, second character of the Ganas mentioned in Yati should follow
Ataveladi Lines 1 & 3: 3 SuryaGanas, 2 IndraGana Lines 2 & 4: 5 SuryaGanas 1st character of 1st Gana and 1st character of 4th Gana
Tetageethi 1 SuryaGana, 2 IndraGanas, 2 SuryaGanas 1st character of 1st Gana and 1st character of 4th Gana
Kandam Allowed: GaGa, Bha, Ja, Sa, NaLa Lines 1 & 3: 3 Ganas 1st or 3rd shouldn’t be Ja Lines 2 & 4: 5 Ganas 2nd or 4th shouldn’t be Ja Third should be either Ja or NaLa Ending syllable should be U All lines should start either with a short sound or a long sound Only for lines 2&4 – 1st character of 1st Gana and 1st character of 4th Gana Yes

9 thoughts on “The basics of Telugu poetry

  1. […] besides all the phonetic rules, the only relaxation given is you can break a word across lines. In this article, Utpalamala is a medium level poem and Kandam is the toughest. Share this:TwitterFacebookMoreEmailPrintDiggLinkedInLike this:LikeBe the first to like this […]


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