Epic of Katamaraju
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The Katamaraju epic is often referred to as a ballad cycle by Telugu scholars. It is composed of a number of episodes which are often sung independently. During the annual ceremonies honoring the lives of the deified heroes of the epic, large numbers of people of cowherd caste (Yadava) and kommavaru caste, gather on the banks of the Paleru River, in Prakasam District where the great battle took place and perform a ritual dramatization in connection with the recitation of the epic.
The epic recounts the story of Katamaraju,a chieftain in Kanigiri, who fought a battle with Nalama Siddi, the king of Nellore, on the banks of the Paleru River in the Thirteenth Century. Katamaraju, due to severe drought conditions, had migrated with his people to the fertile lands of Nellore. There he entered a covenant with the king of Nellore for grazing his cattle and sheep. Due to a misunderstanding, the covenant was broken and resulted in a tremendous battle in which many of the great heroes on both sides lost their lives. About the year 1260, a dangerous feud broke out between Manumasiddhi and Katamaraju, the chief of Erragaddapadu in Kanigiri region. The feud was on the issue of the rights of the two princes to use certain wide meadows as grazing grounds for their flocks of cattle. It led to the fierce engagement of the two sides and the bloody battle was fought at Panchalingala on the Paleru river. Manumasiddhi's forces led by Khadga Tikkana, the cousin of poet Tikkana won the battle, but the leader perished. This feud and the consequent battle formed the theme of the popular ballad entitled "Katamaraju Katha". Shortly after this disastrous battle, Manumasiddhi died. With the death of Manumasiddhi II, the Nellore kingdom lost its individuality, became a battle ground between the Kakatiyas and the Pandyas and changed hands frequently. In the reign of Kakatiya Prataparudra II, the Nellore region became part and parcel of the Kakatiya empire and lost its political significance.
REFERENCES FROM NELLORE CHODAS IN WIKIPEDIA