Thoranam: invitingly decorated

Thoranam: invitingly decorated

Thoranam, entrance or welcome arch indicates and beckons one to the grandeur and significance of the auspicious event it represents. These entrances are not only a visual delight, but also enduring symbols that give an inkling of what lies beyond, waiting to be unraveled, discovered and celebrated.  

Thoranam, entrance or welcome arch indicates and beckons one to the grandeur and significance of the auspicious event it represents. These entrances are not only a visual delight, but also enduring symbols that give an inkling of what lies beyond, waiting to be unraveled, discovered and celebrated.

It could be a family function, a grand village celebration, a mega event or a state function, the façade says it all. It is, therefore, befitting that the greatness of Telugu language --- rich in lexis that helps convey even profound thoughts through simple, sweet-sounding and almost lyrical words -- is being highlighted as part of the prestigious World Telugu Conference with special Thoranams.

Special arches named after eminent scholars, writers, poets, statesmen and reformers from King Hala belonging to the 1st Century AD to the present day indicate the reverence with which they are held in the new state of Telangana committed to preserving and enriching its language, culture and history. Among these Thoranams are names of both the well-known as well as well as those who were not accorded the place they deserve over the years.

There are arches celebrating the pioneer of the women’s movement like Bandaru Achamamba, poetess Kuppambika who wrote earlier than the well-known Molla and Thimmakka, Elukuchi Balasaraswati who translated Bharthruhari’s works into Telugu. There are also Vaggeyakaras, scholars, social reformers and researchers who produced works of great literary value.

That many of the personalities after whom the Thoranams have been named were proficient in multiple languages with some of them knowing as many as ten languages apart from Telugu is a revelation that is heartening and inspiring. The Thoranams make a statement more meaningful than lengthy encomiums.


Thoranams or decorated entrances with names of well-known as well as deserving but largely unknown literary personalities whose immense contribution to the language are being celebrated add to the allure of the World Telugu conference being held at Hyderabad. With great attention to detail, the State government has brought to light authors and poets some of whose works have been sourced from edicts, archival records and works of contemporaries. We bring you details of some of these personalities.

King Hala
The Satavahana or Salivahana King (there is some confusion among historians who claim both the names refer to the same dynasty) well-known for his compilation of the ‘Gathasapthasathi ‘which contains 700 verses in ‘Maharashtra Prakrit’ which contains many Telugu words suggesting the antiquity of the Telugu language.

Pampa Mahakavi
According to a trilingual inscription (in Sanskrit, Telugu and Kannada installed by Pampa’s younger brother Jinavallabha at Bommalamma gutta in Kurikyala village of Telangana, Pampa was a poet born to Abhimanadevaraya and Abbanabbe. He was a court poet of King Arikesari 11 and was conferred the title ‘Kavita Gunarnava’. Received greater recognition as a Kannada poet despite writing in Telugu too.

Malliarechana Thoranam
Rechana was a poet from Vemulawada who was said to have received patronage under the Chalukyas. He is said to have written a book called “Kavi janaashrayam” a work with apt grammatical rules referred to as ‘Chandograndham”.

Vidyanathuni Thoranam
Court poet of Pratapa Rudra 11 who wrote “Prataparoudriya Yasho Bhooshana” a book written in accordance with a grammatical form called “Alankara Shastara’

Parataparudra Thornam
Also known as Rudra deva 11, Pratapa Rudra (1289-1323) succeeded his grandmother Rani Rudrama Devi and was the last ruler of the Kakatiya Dynasty. He is said to have been an able ruler who, however, had to contend with both internal enemies and Moghul invasions. He is said to have died on the banks of the river Narmada as he was held captive and was being taken to Delhi after being defeated by Ulugh Khan.

Palkuriki Somanathakavi Thorana
A Shaiva poet, he is regarded as one of the most prominent Telugu writers who was proficient in Sanskrit and Kannada languages too. Influenced by the 12th century social reformer Basava, he wrote his first book ‘Basavapuranam’ based on him. His other works include ‘Panditaradhyula Charitra’, Malamadevi puranamu’ and Somatha Sthava” in dwipada meter credited to him. He is also the first person to have compiled hundred poems that came to be known as “shatakam’ under the title “Vrishadipa Shataka”.

Bammera Pothana Thoranam
(45-1510) was a Niyogi Brahmin from Bammera village twenty miles from Warangal. His first poetic work was “Bhogini Dandakam” in praise of King Singa bhoopala’s concubine Bhogini. His next work was “Virabhadra Vijayamu’ describing the adventures of Virabhadra with the main theme being the destruction of a yagna performed by “Daksha Prajapati’. It is said that Lord Rama appeared in his dream and asked him to Translate Vyasa’s Bhagavatham into Telugu. Potana’s “Andhra Mahabhratamu” dedicated to Rama is considered the crown jewel of Telugu literature.

Gona Buddha Reddy Thoranam
A subsidiary ruler of the Kakatiyas, Gona Buddha Reddy belonged to Palamuru and is said to have ruled the area with Kanduru as his capital. His “Ranganatha Ramyana” is said to be the first book in the language based on the Sanskrit work of sage Valmiki. This is written in the Dwiada style which has a smooth lyrical quality to it.

Kavayithri Kuppambika Thoranam
Hailing from Vardhamanapuram in Palamuru Kuppambika is said to be the first Telugu poetess who wrote two centuries before the more famous women who wrote meaningful poetry like Tallapaka Thimmakka and Molla. She is the sister of Gona Buddha Reddy who wrote the first Telugu Ramayana. Except a few poems attributed to her by Ayyalaraju Ramabhadra Kavi in his book, none of her works are available to us. An edict from 1276 AD mentions that she is a poetess who was married to the ruler of Malyala Gundanatha.

Gourana Thoranam
Is the author of “Harichandro paakhyanam”, a work in the Dwipada tradition which describes the strory of the King Harischandra whose commitment to truth was legendra earning him the title “Sathya Harischandra’. He is also the author of the book “Navanadha charitra’.

Marana Thoranam
Is the author of the “Markandeya Purana” with 2,547 verses. It is replete with references to the Varnashrama dharma on which the caste system is based, details of ancient dynasties and answers to questions relating to dharma.

Bhakta Kavi Ramadas Thoranam
Kancharla Gopanna popularly known as Bhakta Ramdasu or Bhadrachala Ramadasu was a poet composer of the 1thcentury who hailed from Nelakondapalli in Bhadrachalam. He is renowned for constructing the famous temple in Bhadrachalam as well as composing several lyrics in praise of Rama known as “Ramadasu Keerthanalu’. He also wrote the Dasarathi Shathakamu, a collection of 108 poems dedicated to the son of Dasaratha (Rama).

Boorgula Ramakrishna Rao Thoranam
The first chief minister of the erstwhile Hyderabad state who belonged to Kalwakurthy who is known the name of his village “Boorgula’ rather than his family name “Pullamraju’. He was a social reformer, linguist and poet. He wrote poems and essays and translated books including those of Adishankaracharya.

Dasaradhi Krishnamacharya Thoranam
A Telugu poet and writer who brought fame to the language through his thought-provoking works. Recipient of many awards and titles like the Sahitya Akademi award and titles such as ‘Abhyudaya Kavi” and “Kala Prapoorna’. He was famous for his revolutionary poetry and his first book “Agnidhara’ about the Telangana armed struggle against the Nizam’s rule brought him great fame. He introduced ‘Telugu Rubaayi’ and translated Ghalib’s works into Telugu.

Dasaradhi Rangacharya Thoranam
Popular writer known for his revolutionary writings, books on the epics the Ramayana and the Mahabharata and standard translations of the Vedas. His autobiography “Jeevanayanam’ was also an eminent work that was well-received.

Dr.C. Narayana Reddy Thoranam
Dr. C. Narayana Reddy hailing from Hanumajipet in Karimnagar district was a literary giant and Jnanpeeth awardee, whose works included poems. Prose-plays, lyrics, translations and ghazals. He was a professor who inspired many students at the Osmania University to take up Telugu literature. His magnum Opus “Vishwambara”, a monumental work in free verse depicts Man’s journey towards excellence over the ages and received critical acclaim.

Kaloji Naryana Rao Thoranam
The darling people’s poet of Telangana referred to as “Praja Kavi’ (people’s poet) was a political activist, freedom-fighter and poet who reflected the yearnings of his people. The Telangana government celebrates his birthday as the “Telangana Language day”. He wrote several works of which his “Naa Godava” series are extremely popular.

P.V. Narasimha Rao Thoranam
The former Prime Minister, scholar, Polyglot, and writer was known for his many literary achievements as well. He translated the great literary work of Kavu samrat Vishwanatha Sathyanarayana into Hindi as ‘Sahasra phan” and Narayan Apte’s famous Marathi novel into Telugu. He has written many thought provoking essays and books and his autobiography “The Insider’.

Suravaram Prathap Reddy Thoranam
is a social historian, scholar, poet and editor. His social history of Telugu people “Andhrula Sanghika Charitra” which was one of the first Telugu books to win the Central Sahitya Akademi award. He wrote nearly 40 books and compiled a list of 354 Telangana poets under the title “Golconda Kavulu”.

By Aruna Ravikumar

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