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Workshop on Avadhanam

Event Date : Mar 11, 2020 - Mar 15, 2020

The workshop has been postponed due to unforeseen circumstances. The new dates will be announced shortly.


Avadhānam is a classical art form that is unique to India. Over centuries, it has evolved into a literary performance that never fails to enthral its audience. It exhibits an individual’s superior cognitive abilities such as powers of observation, memory, multitasking, and creativity, through tasks that draw upon multiple frontiers of intelligence. 

This unique performing art expresses itself through various genres such as Vedas, music, dance, painting, and literature. Among these, Sahitya Avadhānam, literary performance, is the most popular. It involves solving a variety of poetic challenges with verses composed extempore. Repartee between the performer and questioners, mellifluously sung verses, and mathematical puzzles make this a wholesome source of entertainment. Since extempore composition and lateral thinking are embedded in the very structure of this genre, it is one of the finest representatives of classical performing art.

Though Sahitya Avadhānam anchors itself in a long tradition of exceptional performers, it is currently performed mostly in Andhra and Karnataka, and is limited to three languages: Sanskrit, Kannada, and Telugu. Performers are fewer in number than one would expect. Owing to the lack of an informed audience, not all variants of Avadhānam are received with equal enthusiasm either. Dedicated efforts of connoisseurs have reinvigorated this art form in the recent past. However, if this legacy is to continue, the skills need to be passed on to a newer generation and the public needs to be made aware of the nuances of this art. It is in this context that a workshop on Avadhānam becomes relevant.


The workshop aims to:

  • Initiate those interested into the art of Avadhānam
  • Hone the skills of practising performers—especially in Sahitya Avadhānam
  • Develop an informed audience who can appreciate a performance and discern the quality of an Avadhānam
  • Outline the contours of the art as connected with various sciences and arts such as mathematics, music, dance and painting, and encourage Sahitya Avadhānam to flourish in other languages
  • Explore possibilities of multidisciplinary research related to Avadhānam, especially in the discipline of cognitive studies

Areas of Focus

The workshop will include sessions on:

  • An introduction to Avadhānam – its salient features, history, and current practices
  • Great performers of the past and present
  • Introduction to poetic challenges that have fallen into oblivion, such as ghaṭikā-śataka, ghaṇṭā-śataka, and chandas-saṃbhāṣaṇa
  • Requisites of a performer: skills needed to tackle the whole performance, and for specific tasks such as nīṣedhākṣarī, samasyā-pūrti, datta-padī, and citra-kavitā
  • The role of questioners
  • Qualities needed in a connoisseur

Who can participate?

The intensive workshop would be beneficial for anyone who:

1) wishes to learn more about Avadhānam

2) would like to perform Avadhānam

3) is curious about the challenges and means of organising a full-length Avadhānam

4) is interested in classical art forms

5) is a budding author or composer, especially of classical poetry


6) is a researcher in the fields of cognition, memory, and literary creativity.

Chief Resource Person:

Dr. R. Ganesh, Śatāvadhānī, Bengaluru

One of India’s foremost Sanskrit poets and scholars, Śatāvadhānī Dr. R Ganesh is a master of the art of avadhāna and performs it in Sanskrit, Telugu, and Kannada. He has performed over 1200 Aṣṭāvadhānams as well as five śatāvadhānams till date. He is credited with the revival of this art in Kannada. Hampi University honoured him with a D.Litt. for his thesis on The Art of Avadhāna in Kannada.

Dr. R Ganesh also writes and lectures extensively on various subjects pertaining to India and Indian cultural heritage. Over 10,000 hours of his lectures on Indian culture and heritage, Indian and Western arts, and Indian and western philosophy have been recorded. He holds a master’s degree in Metallurgy and in Sanskrit. He is a polyglot, fluent in eighteen languages including Sanskrit, Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, Hindi, Marathi, Pali, Prakrit, Latin, Greek, and Italian. He was formerly the director of the Gandhi Centre at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. He is also a recipient of several awards and recognitions including the Bādarāyaṇa-Vyāsa Puraskar from the President of India for his contribution to the Sanskrit language.

Assisted by:

Sri. Shashi Kiran B. N., Editor of Prekshaa (A Journal of Culture & Philosophy), Bengaluru

Dr. Ramakrishna Pejathaya, Avadhani & Assistant Professor, Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth

Dr. Nagendra Pavana, Assistant Professor, Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth

Guest Lectures:

Prof. Nagaraj Paturi, Director, Indic Academy, Hyderabad

Dr. Shankar Rajaraman, Renowned poet and researcher, Bengaluru

Registration Fee


• Rs. 6,000/- (with food & accommodation)

• Rs. 3,000/- (with lunch only)


• Rs. 5,000/- (with food & accommodation)

• Rs. 2,500/- (with lunch only)

For more details, please contact:

Dr. Ramakrishna Pejathaya, Assistant Professor, Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth: | +91 98442 10845

Ms. Neethu S Kumar, Assistant Professor, Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth: | +91 94464 37027

Last date for registration: February 20, 2020

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