Chandas (poetry)

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Metrical poetry in Kannada and Telugu is called Chandas or Chandassu (Kannada: ಛಂದಸ್ಸು) and (Telugu: ఛందస్సు). Prose and poetry follows the rules of Chandassu to design the structural features of 'poetry'. Chandassu is a definable aspect of many definable and indefinable aspects of poetry. Chandassu generates rhythm to the literature when the rules are properly followed. Rhythm is important to literature as a preliminary attraction.

Construction of Chandas[edit]

'Chandas' is constructed based on the number of 'aksharaas' (syllables) in each line (also called paadam) of a poem.

As the same lines are repeated (aaVrutta), these are called 'Vruttaas'. If all the lines in a poem follow the same 'types of aksharaas', it is called a 'sama Vrutta'.

There are separate Telugu equivalents for English words 'letter' and 'syllable'. The first one is 'varNamu' (letter). This is the basic 'letter' of the Telugu in the alphabets, and is called 'varNa samaamnaayamu'. There are fifty six 'varNa samaamnaayamu'(s) in Telugu.

The equivalent for 'syllable' in Telugu is 'aksharamu'. 'Syllable' is often defined as the 'unit of pronunciation at a stretch' with a collection of letters (varNaas) in it.

For example, in a word like 'svapnamu', 'sva' is an aksharamu (syllable), but not a varNamu (letter) as it has two 'varNaas' (sa and va) in it.

These 'aksharaas' (syllables) are divided into 'laghuvu' and 'guruvu' based on the time period of pronunciation. These 'aksharaas' or syllables are the fundamental aspects in constructing the 'chandas' in Telugu.

Meters of the same length are distinguished by the pattern of laghuvu ("light") and guruvu ("heavy") syllables in the paadam.

Pattern of laghuvu and guruvu in a sequence of three is called Gaṇam (Group). The word ya-maa-taa-raa-ja-bhaa-na-sa-la-gam is called Gana Suchi (Look up for Ganams). Example:

  • ya-maa-taa = ya-ganam
  • maa-taa-raa = ma-ganam
  • taa-raa-ja = ta-ganam
  • raa-ja-bhaa = ra-ganam
  • ja-bhaa-na = ja-ganam
  • bhaa-na-sa = bha-ganam
  • na-sa-ya = na-ganam
  • sa-ya-maa = sa-ganam

These Ganam(s) are divided into three major categories:

  • Surya Ganam
  • Indra Ganam
  • Chandra Ganam

Types of Chandas[edit]

Based on categories of Ganam(s), Telugu poetry is classified as

  • Jaati
  • Upajaati
  • Vruttam or Vrutta

Upajaati only has yati (caesura) but no praasa (rhythm) where as Jaati and Vruttaas contain both yati (caesura) and prasaa (rhythm).

There are 26 types of chandas. Each 'chandas' is recognized by the number of 'aksharaas' or Syllables present in each line of the poem. As an 'akshara' can be either a 'laghuvu' or a 'guruvu', the number of variations possible in each type of 'chandas' follows a 'binary system'. The names /numbers of 'chandas' and the numbers of 'sama Vruttaas' that can be generated in each variety are as follows.

# of chandas Name No. of letters per line # of sama Vruttam(s) possible
1 ukta 1 2
2 atyukta 2 4
3 Madhya 3 8
4 pratisTha 4 16
5 suprstisTha 5 32
6 gaayatri 6 64
7 ushTikku 7 128
8 anusThuppu 8 256
9 bRhati 9 512
10 paMkti 10 1,024
11 trishTuppu 11 2,048
12 jagati 12 4,096
13 atijagati 13 8,192
14 Sakvari 14 16,384
15 atiSakvari 15 32,768
16 ashTi 16 65,536
17 atyashTi 17 131,072
18 dhRti 18 262,144
19 atidhRti 19 524,288
20 kRti 20 1,048,576
21 prakRti 21 2,097,152
22 aakRti 22 4,194,304
23 vikRti 23 8,388,608
24 sukRti 24 16,777,216
25 abhikRti 25 33,554,432
26 utkRti 26 67,108,864


The total number of sama Vruttaas in 26 chandassus is 134,217,726.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ lingamagunTa timmakavi. sulakshaNa saaramu. 

External links[edit]