Malayalam poetry

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There are two types of meters used in Malayala poetry, the classical Sanskrit based and Tamil based ones.

Sanskrit meters[edit]

Sanskrit meters are primarily based on trisyllabic feet. The short sound is called a laghu, a long sound is called a guru. A guru is twice as long as a laghu. A guru is usually represented by a '-–' and a laghu by a '⌣'.

For easy specification of meters, the laghu's and guru's are grouped into feet (called ganam) as follows:

foot name identifying letter
⌣ - - yaganam ya (യ)
- ⌣ - raganam ra (ര)
- - ⌣ thaganam tha (ത)
- ⌣ ⌣ bhaganam bha (ഭ)
⌣ - ⌣ jaganam ja (ജ)
⌣ ⌣ - saganam sa (സ)
- - - maganam ma (മ)
⌣ ⌣ ⌣ naganam na (ന)

Additionally, individual gurus are also identified by 'ga' or 'gam' and laghus by 'la' or 'lam'.

For example, the definition for the meter 'Kalyani' is 'three thaganam + two gurus' indicating "- - ⌣ - - ⌣ - - ⌣ - -".