Bobbili- History and story of Thandra PapaRayudu-Bobbili Tiger


Bobbili which is one of the velama kingdoms has lot to share to the Andhra history or telugu literature books. This kingdom like other Kingdoms of velamas in Andhra Pradesh stands for the courage and power of velamas. The fort in Bobbili is the resemblance of velama pride and valour of telugu people. The story of bobbili, is a master piece that tells the power of indians against the british.

The mere utterance of his name brings back memories of valour and Velama pride. Also known as "Gajabaludu" and "Simha Vikramudu", his slaying of Peda Viziarama Raju, the Raja of Vizianagaram, was the single most event of significance, which catapulted him not only in the annals of Bobbili History but also of India.

The suicide of his sister and the wiping out of his entire clan in the famous `Bobbili Yuddham' led him to avenge almost single-handedly their killing. Tandra Paparayudu is revered as a tiger, who upheld the glory of the Padmanayaka Velamas. A `chavadi', which bears his name, was erected in Bobbili town in 1900.

The founder of the Bobbili house, Pedda Rayudu, 15th in descent of the Rajas of Venkatagiri, was a Velama by caste. Pusapati Madhava Varma was the ancestor of the royal Vizianagaram family. The rivalry between the two families dates back to 1652. Sher Muhammad Khan, the Fouzdar of the Nawab of Chicacole granted the Rajam hunda to Pedda Rayudu in recognition of his services.



Rayudu's son Lingappa, who succeeded him, selected Bobbili as his headquarters, built a fort there, found the town and called it Pedda-puli (big tiger). The name became Pebbuli and Bebbuli and in course of time it became Bobbili. The son of Sher Khan was abducted by rebels and Lingappa saved him. He was granted 12 villages and the hereditary title `Ranga Rao' in recognition of his service.

Lingappa was succeeded by his adopted son Vengal Ranga Rao and the latter by Rangapati. His son Rayadappa succeded him and later his adopted son Gopalakrishna took over. During Gopalakrishna's rule in 1753, the Northern Circars were assigned to the French by the Nizam of Hyderabad and Bussy, the French General, agreed to lease Chicacole and Rajahmundry Circars to Pedda Viziarama Raju, the Raja of Vizianagaram. A rupture between Bussy and the Nizam led to the weakening of the former's authority. Viziarama Raju placed his troops at the disposal of Bussy and helped him in re-establishing his suzerainty.

Viziarama Raju persuaded Bussy to help him in defeating his arch rival, the Raja of Bobbili. On January 24, 1757, Bussy with his army and the army of Viziarama Raju in tow marched towards the Bobbili fort. The army of Gopalkrishna Ranga Rao was no match for the combined armies of Bussy and Viziarama Raju but he and his men put up a brave fight till the end.

Tandra Paparayudu was at Rajam at that time. The French General knew that it would be impossible to reach Bobbili via Rajam as Paparayudu was camping there and took a different route to reach the fort. Rani Mallamma Devi, wife of Ranga Rao and sister of Paparayudu, sent a message to him on coming to know of the enemy's advance towards the fort.

However, the enemy intercepted the courier and the message did not reach Paparayudu.

Meanwhile, Ranga Rao and his men after defending the fort for several hours realised that the enemy could not be contained for long. Ranga Rao did not want the women and children in the fort to be at the mercy of the enemy. He ordered them to be sacrificed. Rani Mallamma Devi committed suicide.

When the news reached him, Tandra Paparayudu rushed to the demolished fort and saw his sister and the entire family lying on the ground in a pool of blood. Seething with vengeance he took an oath to kill Viziarama Raju.


Viziarama Raju was camping in a tent, basking in the `glory' of the unequal war, which annihilated his enemy. Tandra Paparayudu along with Devulapalli Peddanna and Buddaraju Venkaiah managed to reach the tent in which Viziarama Raju was sleeping. Paparayudu gained entry through the rear of the tent, while the other two stood guard at the entrance.

He woke up Viziarama Raju shouting "Puli, Puli... Bobbili Puli" (tiger, tiger... Bobbili tiger). Viziarama Raju tried to divert his attention saying that Velama heroes should not belittle their clan as cowards gaining entry through the backdoor. "You have wiped out our entire clan through dubious means and have no right to get ethical treatment," replied Paparayudu and stabbed him repeatedly in the chest.

Hearing the commotion, the bodyguard of Viziarama Raju tried to enter the tent but was killed by Peddanna, who was guarding the entrance. The entire army was alerted and the Bobbili tiger Paparayudu and the other two killed themselves.

Velama-Velama sub divisions-Existence, dicrepencies on OC, BC--EXPLAINED

Some of our friends asked about various velama divisions. So here is a brief information about the velama caste and subdivisions and existence of velamas in specific locations.


Important NOTE: Though these divisions are done in due course of time, these are no longer a hurdle for velamas growth. You may be called as polinati, padmanayaka, koppula, adi velama, but inturn you are one of those great ancistors of andhra rulers. So lets forget about which division we are:- we are unitedly called as velamas.

Actually I am not interested in explaining all the sub-divisions of velamas initially because in present world what people know is ONE n ONLY ONE VELAMA. The following details about divisions of velamas is given in view of the requests from our fellow velamaites who want to know more about their subdivision.


The divisions are done by some of our ancestors depending upon the area of living. Some politicians like JALAGAM VENGALRAO, has brought reservations to two groups of velamas like polinati n koppula inorder to assure those educationally backward velamaites in srikakulam district. Taking this as an advantage, Many of us who want BC reservation can turn into Koppula Velama and those who doesn't want reservation can retain as OC. This tactic is rightly put by jalagam vengalarao, the then chief minister of andhra pradesh.  So now it is upto you to choose if you want reservation. Those people who are interested to get BC-D reservation can get a certificate at the local MRO office claiming to be a koppula velama.


Apart from reservation criteria, Velamas are all similar in build, beauty, power and wealth in their respective areas. Various sub divisions prove strong and powerful in various places. So be proud to be a velama.

Velama sub divisions


All the divisions are based on their original living location. Major divisions in Andhra Pradesh are:

  • Padmanayaka Velama
     
  • Adi Velama 

  • Koppula Velama
     
  • Polinati Velama


Padmanayaka velamas are also called as Padma Velamas. They live mostly in Telangana districts like Karimnagar, Warangal, Adilabad, Nizamabad, Rangareddy, Medak, Mahbubnagar, Nalgonda, Hyderabad, and Coastal Andhra. They are also found in Addanki (Ongole), Vijayawada, Kakinada, Nuzvidu and the villages surrounding these places. Politically, socially and economically, they played a prominent role in the growth of Andhra Pradesh.

Adi Velamas are seen in Machilipatnam, Rajahmundry, Hyderabad, amongst other regions.

Polinati Velamas are seen in Srikakulam and other coastal Andhra districts. Most Polinati Velamas have Naidu as their middle name, and their primary occupation is farming. They play a dominant role in Srikakulam district politics and form the backbone of this district's economy.

Koppula Velamas live in Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram, Rajahmundry and other coastal Andhra districts. Most Koppula Velamas have Naidu as middle name i.e. suffix in their names and their primary occupation is farming. They play key roles in Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam district politics and are vital to these districts' economy.

RANI RUDRAMADEVI (1259-1289 A.D.) - Warangal

Ganapatideva had no male issue. But he had two daughters Rudramadevi and Genapamadevi. Rudramadevi or Rudramba was given in marriage to a prince of the Eastern Chalukyan lineage (of Nidadavolu) called Virabhadra. The second daughter was given in marriage to Beta of the Kota family. Rudramadevi was nominated as heir apparent and she began to rule the kingdom conjointly with her father as his co-regent from 1259-60 A.D. onwards, under the name of Rudradeva Maharaja.


In the first two or three years of her conjoint rule with her father, the kingdom was thrown into confusion and disorder due to Jatavarma Sundara Pandya I's invasion and the disastrous defeat of the Kakatiyas along with their allies on the battle field of Muttukur near Nellore Though Ganapati was ultimately successful in turning back the tide of invasion, yet he suffered loss of territory end prestige and his hold over his feudatories and nobles was shaken. Under these circumstances, he retired from active politics.

Though Rudramadevi assumed full sovereignty in 1262-63 AD, she was not the crowned queen till the year 1269 A.D.. me date of Kayastha Jannigadeva's Duggi (Palnad Taluk) record The Kakatiyas 143 which speaks of Rudrama as Pattodhriti (queen-designate) of Ganapatideva Maharaja. It was only after the death of her father about the year 1269 A.D., she celebrated her coronation. Rudramadevi's nomination and succession to the throne was not generally approved. Some of the nobles, who were unwilling to submit to a woman's authority took up arms against her Ekamranatha s 'Pratapachantra' refers to her step-brothers Hariharadeva and Murarideva ousting Rudrama, and capturing Warangal, and Rudrama effectively tackling them with the help of the citizens and some of her powerful supporters. However no other evidence is available to prove the existence of her step-brothers. Even if it is believed that some intransigent nobles and near relations rebelled against Rudrama's authority, the Kayastha chiefs Jannigedeva and his younger brothers Tripurari and Ambadeva, Recherla Prasaditya and the Reddi chiefs like Gona Gannaya and a host of others who remained firmly loyal to the queen, espoused her cause and helped her to defeat the rebels.


With regard to the external dangers, the Kalinga King Narasimha I who suffered a defeat previously at the hands of Ganapatideva, taking advantage of the distracted condition in the Kakatiya dominions, marched with his forces into the Godavari delta to recover his lost possessons. His short and incomplete inscription at Draksharama dated 1262 A.D. attests the same. The minor Chalukyen families and the Haihaya chiefs, who were ruling in the erstwhile Vengi territories during this period, did not recognise any overlord. Whether they were actually independent or nominally autonomous princes (because of Veerabhadra's relationship), it is not certain. But the position is that no trace of the Kakatiya rule is to be found either in the Godavari valley or in Vengi until 1278-79 A.D. In the later part of the reign of Rudramadevi, the above provinces came back under her sway. Her commanders Poti Nayaka and Proli Nayaka fought against Kalinga Vira Bhanudeva I. son and successor of Narasimha I and his accomplices Arjunadeva, the Matsya chief of Oddadi and others and inflicted a crushing defeat on them. They even assumed the title tangasimha' (lion to the rutting elephant, viz. the Gajapati), and 'Oddiyarayamanamardana' (the destroyer of the pride of Oddiyaraya).

The Kakatiya power was thus re-established in the coastal Andhra country. In the south, after the victory of Muttukur, a targe part of the Kakatiya territory was under the sway of the Pandyas. As a subordinate of the Pandyan monarch, the last Chalukya-Chola ruler Rajendra III ruled Nellore and its dependencies. Even the eastern part of the Cuddapah district and Chittore district were under the Pandyan sway. The Kalukada chiefs Kesavadeva and his brother Somideva, encouraged by the Pandyas. proclaimed their independence and even made, successful inroads (1267-69 A.D.) into the Kayastha territory which remained under the formers at least for sometime.

Rudramadevi faced the most serious danger from the west. It threatened to overthrow the Kakatiya monarch. The Sauna ruler Mahadeva, who succeeded to the throne of Devagin in 1260 A.D., invaded the Kakatiya kingdom in the early years of his rule. The Yadava records credit him with victory against the Kakatiyas According to Hemadri's 'Vrata-Khanda ,he left her free 'because of his reluctance to kill a woman'. His title Telungarayasirahkamalamulotpatana' suggests that he 'uprooted the stalk of the lotus of the head of Telungaraya'. All these accounts are one-sided. The fact is that Mahadeva never killed any ruler of the Telugu country. It was only a heriditary title. One of the predecessors of Mahadeva, Jaitugi I killed Kakati Rudra in 1195/96 A.D. However, it may be said that though his attack was successful initially, it ended in dismal failure. 'Pratapachantram' mentions that Rudramadevi fought valiantly, put Mahadeva to flight, pursued the Seuna forces upto Davagin and forced him to conclude a treaty with her and pay a crore of gold coins as war indemnity.

The epigraphic evidence from Panugal (Nalgonda district) and Hire-Kogilun bears testimony to this. A hoard of Seuna coins discovered at Rachapatnam (Kaikalur Taluk of the Krishna district) probably 'represents a part of the money which Rudramba, according to Pratapachartram, received from Mahadeva as war indemnity and distributed among the officers of her army' The Kakatiyas 145 In the south, the situation became still worse. As already seen, after the Muttukur conflict, the Nellore kingdom came under the sway of the Pandyas and was placed under their vassals. As the Pandyan inscriptions at Nandalur and Tirupati indicate, even the Vallum Kayasthakingdom came into the possession of the Pandyas (their subordinates the Kalukada Vaidumba chiefs were in charge). Though the Kakatiya vassal Mahamandalesvara Nagadeva Maharaja conquered Nellore and the surrounding territory, it was a temporary phenomenon which lasted just for five years (1271-75 A.D.). The area was reoccupied by the Telugu Cholas who paid allegiance to the Pandyas.

The Kayastha chief Jannigadeva re-occupied the territories of the Valluru kingdom and freed thus from the Pandyan sway. He and his brother Tripurarideva I (1270-72 A.D.) continued to rule the Valluru kingdom as the vassals of Rudramadevi. However with the succession of their younger brother AMBADEVA to the throne in 1272 A.D., the situation underwent a change. Ambadeva was ambitious and powerful. From the
beginning, he resolved to resuscitate the fortunes of his family and carve out an independent kingdom for himself. To pursue these objects, he was in constant wars with his neighbours during his long reign of thirty-two years.

Ambadeva stopped paying allegiance to the Kakatiya queen almost from the very beginning of his rule. His Tripurantakam inscription dated 1290 A.D. records his achievements. It seems that he befriended himself with the Pandyas and the Saunas and with their military assistance proclaimed his independence. He is said to have successfully fought with the seventyfive kings. These kings might be the Kakatiya Nayankaras. Ambaya defeated the Gurindala (Gunjala in the Palnad Taluk of the Guntur district) chief 'Rayasahasramalla Sripati Ganapati. He also subjugated the Kalukada Vaidumba chiefs Kesavadeva and Somideva and their ally Allu Gangu of Gutti (Anantapur district).

He killed Eruva Mallideva Choda in battle and occupied Eruvanadu Pendekallu also came into his possession Kopperunjinga was put to death and thereby Ambadeva assumed the title 'Kadavarayi Vidhvamsaka' With these conquests. Gandtkota, Mulikinadu, Renadu. Sakilinadu, Eruva and Pottapinadu were added to the Kayastha kingdom. He restored Manumagandagopala on the throne of Nellore and made him his vassal. The Pandyas, who attempted to restore their sway here, were defeated and driven away. As a result of this, the Pandyan suzerainty in Andhradesa came to an end. But the establishment of a strong, extensive and independent Kayastha kingdom in the southern parts, gave a jolt to the imperial authority of the Kakatiyas.

Rudramadevi could not tolerate the headstrong and disloyal Ambadeva. She sent an army under her general Mallikarjuna against the rebel chief. However, as the recently discovered Chandupatla (Nalgonda district) grant dated 1283 A.D. indicates, Ambadeva seems to have killed Rudrama along with Mallikarjuna Nayaka in battle in that year. It was Prataparudra II, successor of Rudrama that succeeded in supressing the Kayastha revolt later.

Rudramadevi was undoubtedly one of the greatest rulers of Andhradesa. Her sex did not come on her way in discharging the duties of her exalted office. She took an active part in governing the country and strove hard to promote the best interests of the state. In spite of the wars which frequently disturbed the country, her people remained contented and happy under her rule. Rudrama strengthened the Warangal fort still further. She had also a deep moat dug around it Marcopolo. the Venetian traveller who paid a visit to the kingdom probably a little later, speaks highly of her administrative qualities, benign rule and greatness.

Rudramadevi had no male issue out only two daughters Mummadamma and Ruyyamma. On the advice of her father, she adopted Mummadamma's son Prataparudra (II) as her son and as heir to the throne. On her demise, Prataparudra II ascended the throne of Warangal.