Telangana Literature

1st Century
Gunadhya can be considered as the first poet of Telangana. He belonged to 1st Century A.D. He was native of Kondapuram, current Kondapur Sangareddy district of Telangana State, India. Historian believed that he lived in the pythan region. He was a court poet of Hala, the Satavahana ruler. "Brihat katha" was the first known poem-story of the Telugu region. Gunadhya wrote it in the paisachi prakrit language. Original Text is not available today, it is available in the form of translations into the sanskrit language. Its  sanskrit transaltions are Brihatkatha sloka sangraham (Somadevasuri), katha saritasagaram (Somadevasuri), Brihatkatha Manjari (kshemendra)

5th Century
410 - 435 A.D : Toluchuvandru’ rock inscription found at Keesaragutta temple in Medchal-Malkajgiri is said to be dated between 410 and 435 AD and believed to be the first recorded Telugu inscription.

575 A.D - The Kalamalla inscription unearthed on the premises of Chennakesava-Siddeshwara temple at Kalamalla village in Yerraguntla Mandal Kadapa district A.P.  is written entirely in the Telugu language and put up by Renati Chola King Erikal Mutthuraju.

10th Century
Chalukyas of Vemulvada who patronized Sanskrit, Kannada and Telugu. 
Adi Kavi Pampa (902 A.D - 975 A.D) was court poet of Arikesari II (930 - 955 AD). 
The Chalukya King of Vemulawada, Arikesari-II asks Pampa to write an epic to immortalize him. Pampa takes up the work with utmost earnestness. Within one year, he creates Kannada’s greatest epic ‘Vikramarjuna Vijaya aka ‘Pampa Bharatha. Arikesari-II is greatly pleased with the work of Pampa. He bestows him with an honorific ‘Kavithagunarnava’ and also gifts him with an agrahara called Dharmapura. 
Pampa’s samadhi (grave) was discovered in 1970 in the town of Bodhan, Nizamabad district. It is now lying in a neglected condition in the town’s Basavataraka Nagar.
Books: Adi Purana, ‘Vikramarjuna Vijaya aka ‘Pampa Bharatha

Pampa had a younger brother named Jinavallabha. He installs the idols of Chakreshwari and other Jain deities on a hill called Vrishabhadri, north of Dharmpura. He builds a Basadi named Tribhuvana Tilaka and also creates a garden called Madanavilasa. At the bottom of the hill he constructs a lake and names it ‘Kavithagunarnava’ as a tribute to his brother. Finally he inscribes all what he has done on a rock below the idol of Chakreshwari.

This inscription is of utmost importance to Kannada and Telugu languages. It is written in three languages viz Kannada, Telugu and Sanskrit. The Kannada portion contains invaluable information about Pampa. The Telugu portion is the oldest Telugu Kanda Padya. They are one of the important historical evidences, submitted to the Centre, for securing classic language status to Telugu.

A verse from Telugu Jinendra Puranam by Pampa, a couple of verses from Telugu Adi Puranam by Sarvadeva (believed to be the title of Ponna) and Kavijanasrayam by Malliya Rechana were all authored by Jain poet's and are the examples for Jain contribution to Telugu Literature.

The hill Vrishabhadri is now called Bommalamma Gutta situated near Kurikyal village, Gangadhara mandal in Karimnagar District of  Telangana State, India.

Malliya Rechana (c.940 AD)
Telugu language poet and writer, who lived around 940 A.D, in present-day Vemulawada, Telangana State of India. He has written the first Telugu prosody (chandassu) book called Kavijanasrayam or Kavijanasryamu. There seems to be even earlier prosody book by Rechanna’s guru Vaadindra Chudamani which is not available.

Sarvadeva believed to be the title of Ponna (c.945 A.D)
Ponna had other aliases of Ponniga, Ponnamaya, Savana (a Jaina monk) and Kurugula Savana (a fair with frizzy hair). He had many titles too kavaichakravarthi, Ubhaya Kavichakravarthi (imperial poet of two languages), saujanya kandnakura and sarvadeva kavindra.
Author of Telugu poem Adi Puranam. He is said to have translated into Telugu even Virataparva from Mahabharata.

Somadeva Suri  (959 A.D)
Composed Yashodhara-charita (or Yashas-tilaka-champu, c. 959) a jain literature written in Sanskrit during the reign Vemulawada Chalukya Vagaraja (c.955 - c.960 AD) at Gangadhara town. 
He had the titles of Syadvadacalasimha, Tarikachakravarthi, Vadibhapanchana, Vakkakkolapayonidhi and Kavikularaja. He was the author of numerous works in Sanskrit including Yasastilaka, Nitivakyamira, Sannavatiprakarna and Yuktichintamanisutra.
Parbhani plates dated A.D. 966 issued by the King Arikesari III (c.965 - c.973 AD) of Vemulawada. It registers a gift of the village of Kuttum vrittiVenikatupalu in the midst of Repaka-twelve in the Sabbi -thousand to the famous Jain divine Somdadeva Suri for the white-washing, repairs, etc. to Subhadhama Jinalaya at Vemulawada. It appears that Repaka was a small administrative unit consisting of twelve villages. The pillar inscription" lying in the field near the middle school dated A.D. 968 reveals that Rapaka was a Jain centre with a Jinalaya built by the King Arikesari III. The inscription is damaged and the first letter of the name of the Jinalaya is not identifiable. The name can be read now as Khalivuttu Jinalaya to which several gifts were made by a number of disciples to Jain faith. A certain list of Jain ascetics is also given. This pillar inscription is of 116 lines carved on four sides. The first two sides are carved in Kannada and the last two sides are noticed in Sanskrit ending with the slokas of Vyasa Gita and a sentence in kannada. The names of Kama, Rama, Tukkaya, Revana and Kommayya etc., belonging to Srimadvittakula Jain family are found in the epigraph.

Vadiraja, author of Yashodhara Charita, and Pushpasena, (the teacher of Vadibhasimha, author of Gadyachintamani, were both disciples of Somadeva Suri.

Vemulawada Bhimakavi (c.1068 A.D)

12th and 13th Century
Mallikarjuna Pandita (c.1120 A.D to c.1190 A.D)
The first shaivate poet of Telangana. Mallikarjuna was the son of Bhimana Pandita and contemporary of Basaweswara. His Telugu works were Shivatavasaram and Srigiri Mallikarjuna Satakam. Worshippers of shiva believe that the samadhi in Bekkem was the tomb of Mallikarjuna.

Kakatiya Rudradeva
Nitisara: It is a Telugu work dealing with taxes and trade during Kakatiya Rudradeva (1158 - 1195 AD) period. It follows the sanskrit Sukranitisara in some respects.This book gives information about economic conditions existing in Telangana around 12th century.

Palakurki Somantha (1160 AD to 1240 AD)
Maha Kavi Palkuriki Somanatha lived in Palakurthi between 1160 AD to 1240 AD. He was one of the most noted Telugu language writers of the 13th century. He was also an accomplished writer in Kannada and Sanskrit languages and penned several classics in those languages.His popular writings in Telugu language are Basava Purana, Panditaradhya Charitra.
Basava Purana is a 13th-century Telugu epic poem. It was written by Palkuriki Somanatha. It is a sacred text of Lingayat. The epic poem narrates the life story of philosopher and social reformer Basava (1134–1196 CE), the founder of Lingayatism.
In fact, Somanatha was a rebel poet and wrote literary works in original Telugu (Janu Telugu) neglecting the grammatical rules prescribed by Nannaya, the ‘Aadikavi’, during his days. Janu Telugu is Telugu that has the least Sanskrit diction and can be easily understood by commoners. Before Somana, there was no single poetic work in Telugu on contemporary social events. He wrote ‘Basava Puranam’ which was in ‘Janu Telugu’ in Dwipada (two lined verse) with the inspiration of Veera Saivism. It was a masterpiece appreciated by all poets and was translated into Kannada.

Panditaradhya Charitamu: Telugu book written by famous Saiva Poet Palakurki Somantha. This is a biography of saiva preacher Panditaradhya. This book gives some religious perspective during that period.

Kolanu Ganapatideva  (1199 - 1262 AD)
Sivayogasaramu: Contemporary Telugu Saiva work written by Kolanu Ganapatideva. It gives us the history of Induluri chiefs who served the Kakatiyas from Ganapatideva (1199 - 1262 AD) period. 

Jaya Senapathi (1199 - 1262 AD)
Nrittaratnavali: This is a work in Sanskrit written by Jaya Senapathi the general and minister of Ganapatideva (1199 - 1262 AD). It is a lakshana grantha on dance and dramaturgy. The principles of various styles of nritta and natya are described in it. It is helpful in understanding the art of dance in Telangana during 1199 - 1262 AD period. 

Nitisastramukthavali: Popular collection of morals written by Baddena (1220-1280 AD), a Telugu poet. The king, ministers, forts, defense of the kingdom, anarchy, evils of unloyal servants and general ethics are some of the topics discussed.

Vidyanadha (Agastya Pandita or Agastya Kavi)
Prataparudriyam or Prataparudra Yasobhushanam : Sanskrit poet and rhetorician of the court of Kakatiya Prataparudra II of Warangal (1289-1323). A commentary on this book was written by Kolachala Kumaraswami son of the renowed commentrator Kolachala Malliratha Suri. This books gives some historical perspective of Kakatiya Period.

14th and 15th Century
Gona Budha Reddy
Ranganatha Ramayanam was a pioneering work in the Telugu language written by Gona Budha Reddy on the theme of the Ramayana epic. Most scholars believe he wrote it between 1300 and 1310 A.D., possibly with help from his family.

Srikantha Krishnama charyulu


Hulakki Bhaskara

Mallikarjuna Bhattu

Kumara Rudradeva

Sakarya Ayyalarya

Madiki Singana

Pothana (c.1370–c.1450)  is the first Indian poet who translated the Bhagavata Purana from Sanskrit to  his mother-tongue Telugu. He was a Telugu and Sanskrit Scholar. His work Maha Bhagavatamu, is popularly called as Pothana Bhagavatam in Telugu. Pothana was born at Bammera Village, Palakurthy Mandal, Jangaon District in Telangana State. 
Books : Bhogini Dandakamu, Virabhadhra Vijayamu, Narayana Satakamu, Bhagawatamu.

Mallinatha Suri
Commentaries on five mahakavyas (great compositions) of Sanskrit: Mallinatha Suri was an eminent criticsaid to have received the titles of Mahamahopadyaya and Vyakhyana Chakravarti. He lived during the reigns of Rachakonda king Singabhupala and Vijayanagara king Deva Raya I. Based on the evidence from the inscriptions, it is estimated that he lived between 1350-1450 AD.

Mallinatha is well known as a commentator who has written glosses on Classical epics of Sanskrit, besides his commentaries on Śātric works. His Sanjivani commentary on Meghasandesa is the most popular one. He is also known as a poet, the fact which is rather unknown, though the names of his creative compositions are known to the scholars of Sanskrit literature.

Vinukonda Vallabharaya

Kridabhiramamu: Telugu book in about 300 verses. Some scholars attribute it to Vinukonda Vallabharaya and some other to famous poet Srinatha both belonging to 14 - 15th century. The subject matter of this book is the conversation between two friends Manchanna Sarma and Tittabhasetti about various topics which they come across while wandering the capital of Orugallu.

This book gives some information about urban life during Kaktiya Period. 


Pillalamarri Pinaveerabhadrudu

Koravi Goparaju


Charigonda Dharmanna

Kandukuri Rudrakavi

Addanki Gangadharakavi

Ponnekanti Telaganna

Saranagu Tammayaa

Marimganti Singaracharyulu

Surabhi Madhavarayalu

Elakuchi Balasaraswati

Kakanuri Appakavi

16th Century
Quli Qutb Shah Kulliyat-e-Quli Qutub Shah by Quli Qutb Shah (1580–1611) was a scholar of Arabic, Persian and Telugu languages. He wrote poetry in Urdu, Persian, and Telugu.

Muhammed Quli Qutub Shah had the distinction of being the first Saheb-e-dewan Urdu poet and is credited with introducing a new sensibility into prevailing genres of Persian/Urdu poetry.

Pratapa charithra: This is a work in Telugu prose written by Ekamranatha during 16th century.

Fictional : Traditional accounts of irrevalent and superstitious beliefs.

17th Century
Siddeshvara charitra: This is Telugu dvipada type of verse written by Sarvappa of the 17th century.
Fictional : Traditional accounts of irrevalent and superstitious beliefs.

Futush-us-Salatin of Isami, a contemporary of Mahammad bin Tughluq narrates the tale of how Prataparudra was defeated by Muslim armies.

Kancharla Gopanna Dasarathi Satakam is a Telugu Bhakti Satakam, a popular form of Telugu poetry. It was written by Kancharla Gopanna during 17th century. It consists of 104 poems. Dasarathi means son of Dasaratha, who is the mythological Hindu king Rama. The makutam for all the poems at the end dASarathee karuNApayOnidhee! (O son of Dasaratha, the ocean of mercy)

Pengaluri Venkatadri

18th and 19th Century
Kuchimanchi Jaggakavi
Somadevarajyamu: This is written by Kuchimanchi Jaggakavi 18th century poet.

Fictional : Traditional accounts of irrevalent and superstitious beliefs.

Maha Laqa Bai Chanda Diwan of poems by Maha Laqa Bai Chanda (1768- 1824) lived in Hyderabad. Hailing from a courtesan background, she was known for her philanthropy in her lifetime.

She was wealthy, highly knowledgeable and much sought after by poets from all over the country. She was fluent in Urdu, Persian, Bhojpuri, Hindi and Telugu.

She is credited to be the first female poet to compile a proper Diwan of poems, that too utilizing the sweet Daccani Urdu language spoken in the Hyderabad regions.

Several research scholars are of the opinion that her life and times influenced the famous writer Mirza Hadi Ruzwa while writing this story about ‘Umrao Jaan Ada’. Chanda was a great devotee of the Sufi saint Maula Ali whose shrine is on top of a hill in the area Maula Ali in Hyderabad. She wished to be buried at the foot of the same hillock after her demise.

20th Century
Suravaram Pratapa Reddy
Golconda Kavulu by Suravaram Pratapa Reddy (May 28, 1896 - Aug 25, 1953) compiled a list of 354 Telangana poets to prove that Telangana also had literature and poetry.

Editor and founder of Golconda Patrika, a journal in Hyderabad State. Pratapaareddy was a scholar in Sanskrit, Telugu, Urdu and English languages. He had tremendous admiration for Telangana Telugu. He is famous for his research articles, novels, poetry, story writer, and literary critic.

Maqdhoom Mohiuddin
Besat E Raqs isa a collection of poems and ghazals by Maqdhoom Mohiuddin (Feb 4, 1908 – Aug 25, 1969 ) is a freedom fighter, an academic, a romantic poet and a revolutionary in his own right, Maqdhoom continues to be a favourite of every Urdu literature lover. Some of his Ghazals like ‘Ek Chameli Ke Mandwe Tale’ and ‘Phir Chidi Baat’ were tuned and became great hits as film songs in Hindi cinema.

Kaloji Narayana Rao Na Godava by Kaloji Narayana Rao (Sep 9, 1914 – Nov 13, 2002) is the first modern Telugu poet to write free verse, in this part of the country, Kaloji’s poetry (consisting of ten volumes) is a running commentary on the historical, socio political and cultural aspects of his time.

Na Godava it provides profound insights into the myriad issues and contradictions of his time his autobigraphical writing Idee Na Godava is historical and reflective. 

Mamidipalli Sambaiah (1915 - 1988), who is popularly known as Sambha Kavi, has been finally recognized by State government on the occasion of World Telugu Conference. In the name of the poet, a huge arch, Mamidipalli Sambha Kavi Thoranam, was erected near Ravindra Bharathi in Hyderabad. Sambha Kavi was born in Vemulawada 1915 and passed away in 1988. His famous writings in Telugu are Kunja Viharam, Maduravilasam and Dwipada Ramayanam.

He was an expert in vocal music as well. Significantly, famous writers like C Narayana Reddy learnt tips from Sambha Kavi. His works include Kaleshwara Mukteeshwara Suprabhatham, Vemulawada Suprabhatham and Jagadguru Aadishankara Suprabhatham. Sambaiah’s son Mamidipalli Rajanna expressed happiness that State government recognizing the services of his father. 

Dr. Biruduraju Rama Raju  (April 16, 1925 - February 8, 2010)
Folklore In The New Millennium by Biruduraju Rama Raju was the first PhD scholar from Osmania University in folklore studies. As a national research professor, he was equal to what M S Subbulakshmi was in Carnatic music and Ustad Bismillah Khan was to Hindustani music. In fact, all these three received the National research professorship from the government at the same time.

His numerous papers and literary works on the folklore of Telangana are now the most authentic reference points available to any research scholar.

Dasharathi Krishnamacharyulu Agnidhaara by Dasharathi Krishnamacharyulu (July 22, 1925 - Nov 5, 1987). This book is about the Telangana Armed Struggle against Nizams rule, in which young Daasarathi served as a revolutionary. Daasartathi wrote part of his book Agnidhara while he was in jail and completed it after his release. Agnidhara book that also contained the famous lines - Na Telangana, Koti Ratnala Veena, which later became inspirational in the separate State Movement.

Dr. Pakala Yasoda Reddy

Vanamamalai Varadacharyulu

Dr. C. Narayana Reddy

Seshadri Ramana Kavulu

Devulapalli Ramanuja Rao

Dr. Andesri

Gadiyaram Ramakrishna Sarma

Madireddy Sulochana

Tennati Sudhadevi

P.V. Narasimha Rao
A man of many interests, he likes music, cinema and theatre. His special interest lies in Indian philosophy and culture, writing fiction and political commentary, learning languages, writing poems in Telugu and Hindi and keeping abreast of literature in general.

He has successfully published ‘SahasraPhan’, a Hindi translation of late Shri Viswanatha Satyanarayana’s famous Telugu Novel ‘Veyi Padagalu’

‘Abala Jeevitam’, Telugu translation of late Shri Hari Narayan Apte’s famous Marathi Novel, “Pan Lakshat Kon gheto”,

He translated other famous works from Marathi to Telugu and from Telugu to Hindi, and published many articles in different magazines mostly under a pen name.

In his later life he wrote his autobiography, The Insider, which depicts his experiences in politics.

21st Century
Dr. Mudiganti Sujatha Reddy
Recently felicitated at the 2nd State Formation Day celebrations, Mudiganti Sujatha Reddy is a well-known literary personality in Telangana.

In an effort to bring out forgotten first-generation Telangana authors into limelight, she published a compilation called Tholinaati Kathalu which features stories by writers like Komarraju Venkata Lakshmana Rao and Edire Chenna Keshavalu.

Another Telangana-centric compilation by her is called Telangana Toli Taram Kathalu. Containing stories by various famous personalities like Madapati Hanumantha Rao, P.V. Narasimha Rao and Suravaram Pratap Reddy, this anthology flows in a chronological sequence.

Based on her Telugu University presentation on the topic Vyapara Samskrutilo Stree Chaitanyam, Sujatha Reddy published a book with the same title in 2002. This short story compilation revolves around how women need to don a new avatar to protect their identity, family, and the society in this mechanical age.

Nandini Sidharreddy

Gorati Venkanna

Suddala Ashok Teja


Balgoori, Raju. “JAINA CULTURE IN KARIMNAGAR DISTRICT, TELENGANA - A STUDY.” Proceedings of the Indian History Congress, vol. 74, 2013, pp. 167–77. JSTOR, Accessed 20 Jun. 2022.