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Tallapaka Annamacharya
This statue is at Dwaraka Tirumala
Background information
Native name తాళ్ళపాక అన్నమాచార్య
Also known as Annamayya
pada kavitha pitaamahudu
Born (1408-05-09)9 May 1408
Tallapaka, Rajampet, Kadapa District. Andhra Pradesh
Died 4 April 1503(1503-04-04) (aged 94)
Tirumala, Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh
Genres Carnatic music
Occupation(s) Saint, poet, composer, writer
Instruments Tambura

Taḷḷapāka Annamācārya (or Annamayya) (Telugu: తాళ్ళపాక అన్నమాచార్య; 22 May 1408 – 4 April 1503) was a 15th-century Hindu saint and is the earliest known Indian musician to compose songs called sankirtanas in praise of the god Venkateswara, a form of Vishnu.[1] He is the first known composer in carnatic music. Other composers like Purandaradasa came after him. The musical form of the keertana songs that he composed, which are still popular among Carnatic music concert artists,[2] have strongly influenced the structure of Carnatic music compositions.[3] Annamacharya is remembered for his saintly life, and is honoured as a great devotee of Vishnu by devotees and saintly singers.[4]

He is believed to have been the avatar of Nandaka, the sword of Vishnu. He is widely regarded as the Andhra Pada kavitā Pitāmaha (Godfather of Telugu song-writing).[1]

Personal life[edit]

Annamacharya was born on Vaishakha Shuddha Pournami in the year Sarwadhari (22 May 1408) in Tallapaka, Near Rajampet Mandal, a village in current day Kadapa district of Andhra Pradesh, India.[5] He was born into a Nandavarika Niyogi Brahmin family. His wife, Timmakka,[6] had written Subhadra Kalyanam, and is considered the first female poet in Telugu literature. Their son, Pedda Tirumalacharya, and grandson, Tallapaka Chinnayya, were also composers and poets. The Tallapaka compositions are considered to have dominated and influenced the structure of Carnatic music compositions.[3] Annamacharya lived for 95 years until Phalguna Bahula (Krishna) Dvadashi (12th day after full moon) in the year Dhundhubhi (4 April 1503).

A statue of Tallapaka Annamacharya situated at the Sarada River Park in Anakapalle, Andhra Pradesh.

Literary career[edit]

10-story tall statue of Sri Tallapaka Annamacharya located at the entrance of Tallapaka.

Annamacharya is said to have composed as many as 32,000 sankeertanas (songs) on the god Venkateswara,[7] of which only about 12,000 are available today. He is also the author of musical treatise called "Sankirthana lakshanamu".[1]

Annamacharya considered his compositions as floral offerings to Venkateswara. In the poems, he praises the deity, describes his love for him, argues and quarrels with the Lord, confesses the devotee's failures and apprehensions, and surrenders himself to Venkateshwara. His songs are classified into the Adhyaatma (spiritual) and Sringaara (romantic) sankeertanas genres. His songs in the "Sringaara" genre worship Venkateswara by describing the romantic adventures of Venkateshwara and his consort Alamelu, while others describe the Bhakti of his devotees.

In his later keertanas, he espouses subjects such as morality, dharma and righteousness. He was one of the first few who opposed the social stigma towards the untouchable castes in his era,[8] with his sankeertanas explaining that the relationship between God and human is the same irrespective of the latter's color, caste and financial status, in his songs "Brahmaṃ Okkatē Paraḥbrahmamokkatē" and "ē kulajuḍainanēmi evvaḍainanēmi". His prodigious literary career earned him a place among the all-time greats of Telugu literature.[9]


While he enjoyed popularity in his days, his compositions were forgotten for over three centuries. Mentioned in 1849,[10] they were later found engraved on copper plates, hidden for centuries inside the Sri Venkateshwara temple at Tirumala, just opposite the Hundi, concealed in a very small room. An English translation of 150 of these verses was published in 2005.[11]

Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams, also known as TTD, has been endeavouring to preserve the rich heritage of his compositions. In the year 1950, The State Government of Andhra Pradesh created a committee and appointed the legendary musician late Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna as its head. He set music to over 800 compositions of Annamacharya and are still popular among the devotees. He was the Āsthāna Gāyaka of the Tirumala temple at Tirupati for two decades. He is regarded as a legend in rendering devotional music in classical style, especially the Annamacharya Sankirtanas. He was also an acclaimed poet, singer, and a musicologist.

Shobha Raju is the first recipient of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams scholarship in 1976 to study and set a trend for the propagation of Annamacharya's compositions, and was also chosen as the first exclusive artiste for the propagation of Annamacharya's compositions in 1978. Her first audio album, "Vēnkatēśvara Gīta Mālika" is globally popular among Telugu community. She is the founder of Annamacharya Bhavana Vahini (ABV) in 1983, which is located in Hyderabad, India. She has been awarded Padmashri by Government of India, in 2010 in recognition of her efforts to promote Annamayya Compositions.

In 1994, reputed Bharathanatyam artist Parvathi Ravi Ghantasala, and the daughter in law of the legenday singer Ghantasala Venkateswara Rao, for the first time produced and presented a mammoth dance production as a tribute to the divine composer titled "Annamaiyah". Rare and popular songs were woven into a story format and music by legendary stalwarts was set to action. This production was inaugurated by the former President of India H.E.R.Venkatraman and Bharat Ratna M.S.Subbulakshmi and later that year for the Tirumala bhramotsavam. The production went on to become a sensational hit and more dancers of different forms started choreographing for the saints composition. Based on popular demand in 2009, a DVD of the production was also launched which included several places visited by the saint himself. The production has traveled across the US, Europe and Asia and staged over 400 times till now.

A Telugu film named Annamayya was made on him by K. Raghavendra Rao in 1997. It starred Nagarjuna in the lead role as Annamacharya and also featured Suman as Lord Venkateshwara and Bhanupriya as Goddess Padmavathi Devi in important roles. The film became a huge blockbuster, and was the highest grosser of the year in Telugu cinema.

Kadayanallur Venkatraman, a brilliant composer has tuned a lot of Annamacharya's kritis with beautiful ragas for M.S.Subbulakshmi, who unveiled these forgotten kritis and brought them to the stage.

Famous Compositions[edit]

This is a partial list of some of the most famous Annamacharya compositions.

Composition Raga Tala Music Set By Language Other Info
Adivō Alladivō Śriharivāsamu
అదివో అల్లదివో శ్రీహరివాసము
Madhyamavati Adi Telugu
Alara Cañcalamaina Ātmalanduṇḍa
అలర చంచలమైన ఆత్మలందుండ
Rāga mālika khanDa cApu Garimella Balakrishna Prasad Telugu [12]
Alarulu Kuriayaga Āḍinadē
అలరులు కురియగ ఆడినదే
Dheerasankarabharanam Rallapalli Ananta Krishna Sharma Telugu
Anni mantramulu nindē yāvahiñcenu
అన్ని మంత్రములు ఇందే ఆవహించెనూ
Amritavarshini Telugu [13]
Antaryāmi Alaśiti Solaśiti
అంతర్యామి అలసితి సొలసితి
Shivaranjani Telugu
Bhāvayāmi Gōpālabālaṁ Manassēvitaṁ
భావయామి గోపాలబాలం మనస్సేవితం
भावयामि गोपालबालं मनस्सेवितम्
Yamunā Kaḷyāṇi Khanda Chapu Kadayanallur Venkataraman (The brilliant composer, who tuned a majority of Devotional songs sung by M.S.Subbalakshmi) Sanskrit [14]
Bhāvamulōna Bāhyamunandunu
భావములోన బాహ్యమునందును
Śuddha Dhanyasi Adi Nedunuri Krishnamurthy Telugu [15]
Brahma Kaḍigina Pādamu
బ్రహ్మ కడిగిన పాదము
Mukhāri Adi Rallapalli Ananta Krishna Sharma Telugu'
Cakkani Talliki Chāngu Bhaḷā
చక్కని తల్లికి ఛాంగుభళా
Paadi Telugu
Cāladā Harināma Saukhyāmr̥tamu
చాలదా హరినామ సౌఖ్యామృతము
Cēri Yaśōdaku Śiśuvitaḍu
చేరి యశోదకు శిశువితఁడు
Mohanam Adi Telugu
Candamāma Rāve Jābilli Rāve
చందమామ రావే జాబిల్లి రావే
Dēvadēvaṁ Bhajē Divya Prabhāvaṁ
దేవదేవం భజే దివ్య ప్రభావం
देवदेवं भजे दिव्यप्रभावम्
Hindolam Khanda Chapu Sripada Pinakapani Sanskrit
ḍōlāyāṁ Cālā ḍōlāyāṁ
డోలాయాం చల డోలాయాం
Khamas(raga) 'Thisra Adi Telugu
ēmokō ciguruṭadharamuna eḍaneḍakastūri niṃḍenu
ఏమకో చిగురుటధరమున కస్తూరి నిండెను
ē Purāṇamuna Eṁta Vedakinā
ఏ పురాణమున ఎంత వెదకినా
GovindāŚrita Gōkula Br̥ndā
గోవిందాశ్రిత గోకుల బృందా
Harināmame Kaḍu Ānandakaramu
హరినామమే కడు ఆనందకరము
Indariki Abhayammuliccu Cēyi
ఇందరికి అభయమ్ములిచ్చు చేయి
Inni Rāśulayuniki Inti Cheluvapu Rāśi
ఇన్ని రాశులయునికి ఇంతిచెలువపు రాశి
Ippuḍiṭu Kalagaṃṭi
ఇప్పుడిటు కలగంటి
Itarulaku Ninneruga Taramā
ఇతరులకు నిన్నెరుగ తరమా
Jō Acyutānanda Jō Jō Mukundā
జో అచ్యుతానంద జో జో ముకుందా
Navroj Telugu [16]
Kanṭi Śukravāramu Gaḍiyalēḍiṁṭa
కంటి శుక్రవారము గడియలేడింట
Telugu [17]
Koṁḍalalō Nelakonna Kōnēṭi Rāyaḍu Vāḍu
కొండలలో నెలకొన్న కోనేటి రాయడు వాడు
Hindolam Telugu
kṣīrābdi kanyakaku Śrī Mahālakṣmikini
క్షీరాబ్ది కన్యకకు శ్రీ మహాలక్ష్మికిని
Kurinji(raga) Khanda Chapu Telugu
Kulukaka Naḍavārō Kommalārā
కులుకక నడవరో కొమ్మలారా
Atana Adi Telugu [18]
Madhava Kesava Madhusoodhana
మాధవ కేశవ మధుసూదన విష్ణు
माधव केशव मधुसूदना
Kapi Adi Sanskrit
Mēdini Jīvula Gāva Mēlukōvayyā
మీదిని జీవుల గావ మేలుకోవయ్యా
Muddugārē Yaśōda Muṅgiṭa Mutayamu vīḍu
ముద్దుగారే యశోద ముంగిట ముత్యము వీడు
Kuranji Adi Nedunuri Krishnamurthy Telugu [19]
Mūsina Mutyālakēlē Moragulu
మూసిన ముత్యాలకేలే మొరగులు
Nallani Mēni Nagavu Chūpulavāḍu
నల్లని మేని నగవు చూపులవాడు
Nānāṭi Batuku Nāṭakamu
నానాటి బతుకు నాటకము
Rēvati Adi Nedunuri Krishnamurthy Telugu
Nārāyaṇa Tē Namō Namō
నారాయణ తే నమో నమో
नारायण ते नमो नमो
Bihag Adi Sanskrit
Neyyamullallō Nērēḷḷo Voyyana ūreḍi Uvviḷḷo
నెయ్యములల్లో నేరేళ్ళో వొయ్యన ఊరెడి ఉవ్విళ్ళో
Nitya Pūjalivivō Nericinānōhō
నిత్యపూజలివివో నేరిచినానోహో
Telugu [20]
Paluku Tēnelatalli Pavaḷincenu
పలుకు తేనెలతల్లి పవళించెను
Poḍaganṭimayya mimmu Puruṣōttamā
పొడగంటిమయ్యా మిమ్ము పురుషోత్తమా
Mohanam Adi Telugu
Śriman Narāyaṇā Śriman Narāyaṇā Nī Śri Pādamē Śaraṇu
శ్రీమన్నారాయణ శ్రీమన్నారాయణ నీ శ్రీపాదమే శరణు
Bowli Adi Telugu
Rajīva Nētrāya Raghavāya Namō
రాజీవ నేత్రాయ రాఘవాయ నమో
राजीवनेत्राय राघवाय नमो
Madhyamavathi Khanda Chapu K. J. Yesudas Sanskrit
Ramacandruḍitaḍu Raghuvīruḍu
రామచంద్రుడితడు రఘువీరుడు
Siruta Navvulavāḍu Sinnakka
సిరుత నవ్వులవాడు సిన్నక్కా
Ṣōḍaśa Kaḷānidhiki Ṣoḍaśōpacāramulu
షోడశ కళానిధికి షోడశోపచారములు
Brahmam Okate
తందనాన అహి
Bowli Adi Telugu Tatva Prabōdha Keertana
Tvamēva Śaraṇam
త్వమేవ శరణం
त्वमेव शरणम्
Vandēhaṁ Jagadvallabhaṁ
Sanskrit: वन्देहं जगद्वल्लभं
Telugu: వందేహం జగద్వల్లభం
Hamsadhvani Khanda Chapu Sanskrit In praise of lord Venkaṭēśvara
Vandē Vāsudēvaṁ Śrīpatiṁ
వందే వాసుదేవం శ్రీపతిం
वन्दे वासुदेवं श्रीपतिम्
Sri Khanda Chapu Sanskrit
Vēḍukoṁdāmā Vēṅkaṭagiri Veṅkaṭeśvaruni Veḍukoṁdāmā
వేడుకొందామా వేంకటగిరి వేంకటేశ్వరుని వేడుకొందామా
Vinnapālu Vinavale Viṁtaviṁtalu
విన్నపాలు వినవలె వింతవింతలు

అన్నమయ్య పాటలు (All Annamayya songs lyrics in Telugu Script)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Life and Times of Sri Tallapaka Annamacharya". Retrieved 2013-06-20. 
  2. ^ Jackson (1999), p. 105.
  3. ^ a b Jackson (1999), p. 216.
  4. ^ Jackson (1999), p. 265.
  5. ^ "Pension for Annamayya's descendants". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 23 May 2008. 
  6. ^ "Annamacharya's 600th birth anniversary celebrated". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 6 April 2009. 
  7. ^ "Annamayya preached oneness 600 years ago". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 4 May 2007. 
  8. ^ "All are equal before God". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 14 July 2000. Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  9. ^ "A classical touch to Annamayya kritis". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 5 February 2005. 
  10. ^ Campbell, AD (1849). A grammar of the Telugu language (3 ed.). Hindu Press. p. xiii. 
  11. ^ Annamayya, (translators) Velcheru Narayana Rao, David Shulman (2005). God on the Hill: Temple Poems from Tirupati. Oxford University Press, USA. ISBN 0195182847. Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  12. ^ "Alara chanchalamaina". Sahityam. 25 September 2009. Retrieved 2013-06-20. 
  13. ^ "Anni mantramulu". Sahityam. 7 November 2009. Retrieved 2013-06-20. 
  14. ^ "Bhavayami Gopalabalam". Sahityam. 6 July 2010. Retrieved 2013-06-20. 
  15. ^ "Bhavamulona bahyamunandunu". Sahityam. Retrieved 2013-06-20. 
  16. ^ "Jo achyutananda jo jo mukunda". Sahityam. 24 January 2012. Retrieved 2013-06-20. 
  17. ^ "Kanti sukravaramu". Sahityam. 9 June 2010. Retrieved 2013-06-20. 
  18. ^ "Kulukaka nadavaro". Sahityam. 19 October 2010. Retrieved 2013-06-20. 
  19. ^ "Muddugare yasoda". Sahityam. 2 October 2010. Retrieved 2013-06-20. 
  20. ^ "Nitya pujalivivO". Sahityam. 17 June 2010. Retrieved 2013-06-20. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Jackson, William. 'Religious and Devotional Music: Southern Area’ (1999). In Porter, James; Rice, Timothy; Goertzon, Chris. The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. New York & London: Taylor & Francis. 

External links[edit]