Monthly Archives: February 2016

[Guest Post] Recipe: Majjiga Upma

The following Post was composed by Aruna garu. You can follow her on her food blog.

Biyyam Rava Challa Upma

It was on a whim that I wrote to the administrators of Andhra Culture Portal that I would like to share some of my recipes with the audience of the portal. I got a warm welcome almost immediately and here I am with the first of my recipes and look forward to sharing many more.

The first recipe I selected today is Biyyam Rava Challa Upma or Majjiga Upma. Why did I choose this recipe? Because I was having it for lunch just before I saw the mail from the Andhra Culture Portal and thought why not? 🙂

I like cooking with Rice Rava or Biyyam Nook because of its texture. In my home, the most popular dish in this category is Uppu Pindi or Uppudu Pindi. Of course, we also make a whole lot of Pulihoras with Biyyam Nooka.

A slightly more unusual dish that I also make is Biyyam Rava Challa Upma (also known as Majjiga Upma). It is made with rice rava (biyyam nooka) and buttermilk (majjiga). The buttermilk gives this upma a rich texture and a tangy taste which I love. I also take it a notch higher by using Majjiga Mirapakayalu in the tempering (popu).

In my home, Majjiga Upma is used variously as a one-dish meal, a quick tiffin or a snack as the occasion demands.

Time: 30 Mins

Serves: 4


  1. Rice, Biyyam, or Chawal – 2 Cups
  2. Yogurt, Perugu, or Dahi – 2 Cups
  3. Water – 2 Cups
  4. Husked Black Gram, Minapappu, or Udad Dal – 1 tsp
  5. Husked Bengal Gram, Senaga Pappu, or Chana Dal – 1 tsp
  6. Mustard Seeds, Avalu, or Rai – ½ tsp
  7. Red Chillies, Endu Mirapakaya, Lal Mirch – 2
  8. Majjiga Mirapakayalu – 2 (Optional, if you are not using increase red chillies to 3 or 4)
  9. Curry Leaves, Karivepaku, or Kadi Patta – 8 to 10
  10. Asafoetida, Inguva, or Hing – A Large Pinch
  11. Oil – 1 tbsp
  12. Salt to Taste

Method to Make Majjiga Upma or Challa Upma

  1. Make Majjiga or Buttermilk
    • Whisk the yogurt till it is smooth.
    • Add 2 cups water and whisk well.
    • Set aside.
  2. Make Rice Rava or Biyyam Nooka
    • Grind the rice to a coarse powder.
  3. Make Biyyam Rava Challa Upma or Majjiga Upma
    • Add the rice rava and ½ tsp salt to the buttermilk.
    • Mix well.
    • Set aside for 15 minutes.
    • Heat the oil in a kadai.
    • Add the avalu (mustard seeds) and wait till they splutter.
    • Add udad dal and chana dal.
    • Stir-fry the dals till light brown.
    • Turn the heat to low.
    • Add the split red chillies, majjiga mirapakayalu, and curry leaves.
    • Stir-fry for a few seconds.
    • Add the asafoetida.
    • Add ¼ cup water.
    • Wait for 1 minute.
    • Mix the buttermilk-rice rava mix.
    • Mix well.
    • Increase the heat to low-medium.
    • Cover the kadai and let the Biyyam Rava Upma cook.
    • After 3 to 4 minutes, mix well.
    • Cover and cook again.
    • Check again and mix after 3 to 4 minutes.
    • Cook till the rice rava is cooked and the buttermilk is absorbed.
    • Add ½ tsp oil mix well.
    • Cover and set aside for 5 minutes.
    • Serve warm with Avakai or Kharam Podi/Chutney Powder.

Majjiga Upma

Disclaimer: This article represents the opinions of the Author, and should not be considered a reflection of the views of the Andhra Cultural Portal. The Author is responsible for ensuring the factual veracity of the content, herein.

e-Pragati—One small step for Andhrapreneurship

A version of this Post was published by Anil Prongs at his blog, on November 23,2015


The IT revolution has bought several changes in India. It changed what was an agriculture based economy to a country with strong service sector. It opened avenues for employment in the form of foreign based and even domestic IT/ITES companies using the extensive skill force available in India. The government has also realised the importance of IT and decided to use it for what we call it e-governance. The prime minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi has introduced “Digital India” to revolutionize e-governance and digitize Government departments. Taking an inspiration from Digital India, the government of Andhra Pradesh has introduced e-pragati, which was launched by Shri Nara Chandrababu Naidu on October 9th at Visakhapatnam.

The IT revolution is not new to the Telugu land. Mr. Naidu, when he was the chief minister of erstwhile Andhra Pradesh (Telangana and Seemandhra combined) was always a proponent of IT to bring out a sustainable development. Due to his efforts Hyderabad is a IT Hub of India after Bangalore. He introduced the e-seva service which brings all the citizen related services under one roof. Even as the Chief Minister of present Andhra Pradesh, he introduced e-cabinet, a paperless cabinet meeting which is a first of its kind in the country. A true visionary!

Coming to e-Pragati, it is one kind of e-governance which brings a revolutionary change in how services are offered, achieved, designed and consumed. It aims to integrate  government related services through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) through the use of cutting edge technologies like SOA, SMAC. This initiative intends to improve quality in various sectors like Agriculture, Education, Healthcare, Construction, Skill development, urban and rural development.


Under this there are 72 projects, made into 14 packages for ease of implementation over the next 3 years, at a cost of 2398 crore rupees. [2] “Andhra Pradesh will become the first state in the country to introduce state-wide enterprise architecture in governance with the e-Pragati project that is slated to be completed by September 2017.” [2]

What is the advantage of this project?? Well, enabling this will ensure a faster movement of files between  departments and even reducing the use of paper. There were instances where files would get stuck in one department for several days but the use of e-pragati  reduces this time consumption. E-pragati also improves the ease of doing business; now industrialists can get clearances though a single window system within a matter of days without even visiting each department. One more advantage of this e-pragati is it reduces corruption and nepotism.

To quote futurist Alvin Toffler, “The great growling engine of change – Technology”. Indeed, technology is a catalyst for change. A change which brings inclusive growth, economic prosperity and sustainable development. As far as Andhra Pradesh is concerned, this change is helping it bring out a digital revolution..One small step for Andhrapreneurship, one giant leap for Andhra Pradesh.



Disclaimer: This article represents the opinions of the Author, and should not be considered a reflection of the views of the Andhra Cultural Portal. The Author is responsible for ensuring the factual veracity of the content, herein.

Telugu Poetry: హృదయ ఘోష – వాణి కవితలు

flaming heart

హృదయ ఘోష – వాణి కవితలు


నేను సైతం ప్రపంచాగ్నికి సమిధ నొక్కటి ఆహుతిచ్చాను అన్నాడు శ్రీశ్రీ


1329477166sri sri

పుస్తకాల దొంతర సర్దుతున్నప్పుడు ఒక డెయిరీ దొరికింది. పేజీలు ఖాళీ ఉన్నాయే, పద్యాలు రాసుకోడానికి ఉపయోగ పడుతుందని బయటికి తీశా. అందులో శ్లోకాలు, సంస్కృతంలో ఛందస్సు పైన వ్యాసాలు , శ్రీ శ్రీ రాసిన మహా ప్రస్థానములో కొన్ని
కవితలు, అన్నమాచార్య కీర్తనలూ రాసి ఉన్నాయి. ఉబుసు పొనప్పుడో, నా మీద కోపం వచ్చినప్పుడో (ఎప్పుడూ పుస్తకాలు
ముందరేసుకుని చదువుతూనో, రాస్తూనో ఉంటానని) ఇలా రాయడం నా భార్యకు పరిపాటి, నేను కూడా మాటలాడుకుండా రాస్తూ
కూర్చుంటే నీకు ఎలా ఉంటుందో చూపిస్తాననని.
నాకు చాలా బాగుండేది. ఒకటి ఊళ్ళో వాళ్ళ కబుర్లు వినక్కర లేదు, రెండు ఎవరన్నా చదువుతున్నా, రాస్తున్నా నా కడుపు నిండుతుంది.
సరే పేజీలు తిప్పుతుంటే ఎంతో మంచి కవితలు. ఆమె రాసినవే. కొన్ని నా కళ్ళ వెంట నీళ్ళు తెప్పించాయి. నా మీద విసుర్లతో
కూడా ఒక గేయం. చూశారా భార్యతో ఎక్కువ కబుర్లు చెప్పక పోవడం వల్ల ఫలితం? అప్పట్లో మేమిద్దరమే ఉండేవాళ్ళ
మండీ ఒంటి కాయ సొంఠి కొమ్ము లాగా.
ప్రళయ మారుతం అనే ఈ గేయంలో సృష్టి కర్త, భర్త, సమ్హర్త అయిన భగవంతుడ్ని ఎలా ఆవాహనం చేసిందో చూడండి వాణి!
ప్రళయ మారుతం.


ప్రపంచానికి ఊపిరి పోసిన నీవు
ప్రళయానికి కారణ మవుతున్నావే
జీవ కోటిని కూకటి వేళ్ళతో
ఓ సృష్టి కర్తా సృష్టిని
విలీనం చేస్తున్నావే!
నీ గొప్ప తనాన్ని
ఎన్ని జన్మలు కావాలో
నీలో జఠరాగ్ని ఎంతుందో
ఆకలి వేసిన నీకు ఆహుతి
అవుతున్నదే ఈ లోకం!
కరుణించు మమ్మల్ని
వీక్షించు కరుణా దృష్టితో
మలయ పవనాన్ని వీచి
మానవత్వం నింపు
మమ్మల్ని నింపు
నీ అసమాన ప్రభావంతో
నిర్మల హృదయంతో
కురిపించు కరుణని!
నీ చేతిలో బొమ్మలం
నీ పాలి బిడ్డలం
వెళ్ళలేని పాపలం
చేసుకో మమ్మల్ని
నీ ప్రతి రూపాలుగా
నీ ఆఙ పాలించే
నీ దివ్య సందేశాన్ని
దశ దిశలా
నీ ఘన కీర్తి
భూలోక భువర్లోక
సువర్లోక మహా లొకాలకు
అస్థిత్వం లేని మాకు
నీవేగా ఆధారం
మా జీవాధారం
మా జీవన వేదం
నీ గొప్ప తనాన్ని
మనసు నిండగా
రావోయి మిత్రమా
మా కలలు పండగా!


యాచక మహారాజు


అతనో యాచకుడు
నిత్య దుఖితుడు
చేయి చాస్తాడు
సిగ్గు విడిచి
యాచిస్తాడు పదిమందినీ!
నిండుతుంది బిక్షాపాత్ర
కానీ మనసులో ఏదో కక్ష
తినగా మిగిలేది కొంత
దాచడానికి చెంత ఓ బొంత!
ఎదురుగా ఓ ఇంద్ర భవనం
తరిగిపోని వైభవం
రంగు, రంగుల దుస్తులు
రంగులీనే కార్లు!
అక్కడ వారి కళ్ళల్లో కాంతి
యాచకుడి మనసులో అశాంతి
చూసిన కొద్దీ ఈర్ష్య
నాకెందుకీ శిక్ష!
వాళ్లు తృప్తిగా చేసే దానం
యాచకుడికి అదో అవమానం
ఎంత ఇచ్చినా వారికి ఆస్తి తరగదే
ఎంత దొరికినా నాకు ఆస్తి పెరగదే!
యాచించి యాచించి
కుంచించుకు పోయిన అతడు
యోచించి, యోచించి
మరుగుజ్జై పోయాడు!
అప్పుడు జరింగిందో అద్భుతం
వెన్నెల నింపే చంద్రోదయం
చుట్టూ చీకటి, గాలి వాన భీభత్సం
చేయి చాచిందో హస్తం!
ఆ హస్తం వెనుక దీనమైన కళ్ళు
యాచించాయి యాచకుడిని
ఒక్క ముద్ద అన్నం, ఒక్క రాత్రి విశ్రాంతి
మండుతున్న వొళ్ళు, కాలే కడుపు!
అందించాడు ఆపన్న హస్తం
తినిపించాడు పట్టెడు అన్నం
బళ్ళున తెల్లవారింది
యాచకుడి మనసు విప్పారింది!
ఎదురుగా మేడ కన్నా
చెట్టు కింద గుడిసె మిన్న
నేను ప్రపంచానికి రాజుని
పెట్టగలిగే మహరాజుని!
బొంత తెరిచి తీశాడు తన ధనం
పదిమందికి పంచాడు ఆనందం
ఎప్పుడో తాను చేసిన పుణ్యం
యాచకుడు చెశాడు ధర్మం!
అతనికి పెరగ లేదు ఆస్తి
కానీ మనసు నిండుగా తృప్తి!
సర్వే జనాః సుఖినో భవంతు
నేను సైతం ప్రపంచాగ్నికి సమిధ నొక్కటి ఆహుతిచ్చాను అన్నాడు శీ శ్రీ

Personalities: S.Janaki

In an industry marked by unscrupulous careerists and no-holds barred competitors, S. Janaki gaaru is that rare voice of integrity.

Playback singer extraordinaire, she, along with P.Suseela garu, formed the twin pillars of female voice accompaniment from the 70s to the 90s in then united Andhra.

As such, it is only natural that our continuing Series on Andhra Personalities includes this scintillating singer:  S.Janaki.



Born April 23, 1938 in Palapatla, Andhra Pradesh (then part of the Madras Presidency), Sishtla Sreeramamurthy Janaki is a native of Guntur District. She became a singer at the tender age of 3, and has not looked back since.

She is said to have been inspired by the All India Radio programmes and was given instruction in music by Paidiswamy. She later won the AIR music prize (2nd place) and that catalysed a legendary music career. This native Guntur girl then shifted to Chennai where she became a staff artiste at AVM Studios.

Janaki gaaru’s first film was in Tamil (Vidhiyin Vilayadal)in 1957. While this was not released, the Telugu version later was and she featured in 2 songs.

In her very first year, Janaki is estimated to have sung 100 songs in six languages, which was a record of sorts in those days. [6]

Since she is a favourite of God’s Own Country, “her first Malayalam film song was ‘Irul moodukayo vaanil….’ from the film ‘Minnunnathellam Ponnalla’ (1957)”. [6] Her versatility is considered to be astonishing: aside from her command of emotional range, she has sung imitating a child, imitating a drunk, and even imitating a man. It is, therefore, not for nothing that she is considered gifted at mimicry too.

S. Janaki is also considered a talented lyricist. She has composed a number of songs in Telugu and Tamil. Even more impressive, she composed music for the Telugu film Mouna Poraatam (1988).

Aside from playback music, she has also recorded Classical Carnatic standards as well. Despite marrying and being busy with family life, she managed to continue her career and showcase her talent to Andhra, the rest of the country, and even large swathes of the world. Reputedly very spiritual, she has sung numerous Bhakti songs dedicated to Krishna and Shirdi Sai Baba.



S.Janaki gaaru’s achievements rarely need recitation to the rasikas of Telugu (and South Indian) filmdom. Her distinguished, decades-long career had her singing beside fellow greats such as S.P.Balasubramanyam and Yesudas, and she sang for top heroines such as Jayaprada and Sridevi. With her unique ability to convincingly emote a range of rasas, her voice is celebrated by many even today.

She was univerally feted by the 4 main South Indian Film industries for her contributions. In Kannada alone she is said to have sung 1,000 songs. Despite this volume in Kannada, and her nativity in Andhra, she is considered the “Malayali’s eternal favourite” [6], and has practically been adopted as a daughter of Kerala. Such is the story of the scintillating songstress S. Janaki.

She was also awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2013, which she famously rejected (many believe rightly so). It is no secret that South India has been neglected in national awards and patronage. While many credit Delhi centric politics, there is a more insidious reason. Under the mantle of Ganga-Yamuna Tehzeeb (in fact more of Tehzeeb and less Ganga-Yamuna), the practitioners of native arts and the native artforms themselves are neglected by a foreign looking and debauched elite that looks to the arts of India’s neighbour.

It is time that persons of sophistication and true refined taste, rasika and sahrdaya alike, make it a point to emphasise our own traditions. We have our own tastes and there is no reason to wax eloquent over parvenu traditions easily branded as all flair and little framework. Rather than praising others who borrowed our frameworks for their own tastes (self-servingly mocking ours) and agendas , it is time those of us who hold true to Bharata Muni reassert the beauty of our own tastes and assert what is in fact ours.  In her own quiet way, S.Janaki gaaru did just that, and the accomplishments of this talented singer give her the gravitas to hit just the right note.

  • Hugely popular playback singer in South India with a career stretching 50+years
  • Recorded 20,000+ songs in 17 languages ranging from Telugu and Hindi to Japanese and even German
  • Received 31 state awards and 4 National awards. 14 times in Kerala and 7 times in AP
  • Awarded Honorary Doctorate by Mysore University for her contributions to Kannada Playback Industry over 35 years
  • Was awarded Padma Bhushan, which she famously rejected



Hugely popular for over 50 years throughout Southern India, S. Janaki is a veritable playback industry institution. It is rare for a singer or even actor to be so universally beloved by another state. But what the Marathi “Rajnikanth” Gaekwad is to Tamil Nadu, so the Andhra Janakiamma is to Kerala. So why is she known as The Queen of Expression?

The voice which expressed deep hidden feelings of a village girl equally emoted most modern notes of urban. The Voice which expressed the pain in love expressed the sensuous notes with same ease. [1]
What’s more, in a refreshingly collaborative example, she has also sung with fellow singing legend P.Susheela gaaru a number of times. Modern day rival divas could learn from that example between two competing songstresses.  Whether accompanying other famous singers or matching musical accompaniment, the Queen of Expression was also the Doyenne of Versatility. Flute, Violin, even Nadaswaram could be effortlessly paired with her beautiful voice, over the course of a storied career. She even collaborated with peerless composer Ilaiyaraaja.

Famous for duets, she sang alongside the great gana gandharva Ghantasala gaaru. However, her most notable song pairing was with S.P.—a cross decade, cross industry collaboration that remains compelling to this day.
Young or old, layperson or classical enthusiast, Janakiamma is feted by all for her femininely formidable yet fragile voice. A true gem of our 2 states and celebrated by others, she is a must know personality for the current generation.



Crafts: Etikoppaka


Today’s topic is one of the unique crafts from Visakhapatnam District and is known for its beautiful lacquer work, woodwork, and toys all under the title of its village of origin: Etikoppaka.

With another one of those uniquely Telugu names, Etikoppaka is a recognised brand, its own GI tag, and this week’s installment in our continuing Series on Arts & Crafts of Andhra.



Etikoppaka in Visakhapatnam District, Andhra Pradesh, is one of the most important centres of lacquerware. Meaning Koppaka on the stream, the village grew up around the waters of the river Eru (also known as Varaaha). It is named after Koppa Raja Narayana of the Eastern Chalukya dynasty branch based around Elamanchili. The area also has an ancient Buddhist mercantile heritage. With over 12,000 people, it is predominantly a farming community. Nevertheless, there are an estimated 250 families who specialise as artisans.


The picturesque village of Etikoppaka provides an ideal stop for tourists and prospective entrepreneurs alike. Located some 65 km outside of beautiful Vizag, it is a stone’s throw away from AP’s commercial capital.

Appealing for its beautiful finish on wood and weave alike, rather than merely limiting this craft to toys, one should note that lacquer’s applications are numerous. From decorative household artwork to lovely lacquer bangles, Etikoppaka in particular offers a standout addition to the home or person of fashionable types.

Known as “the toy village”, Etikoppaka bommalu are brand of its own. The toy industry itself is largely derived from the neighbouring village of Nakkapalli (originally–and more appropriately– Laccapalli).


Lac industry appears to have flourished in the erstwhile combined state of Andhra, going by the number of villages carrying the name ‘Lakkavaram’, or ‘Lakkavarapukota,’ spread all through the state, in the districts of Visakhpatnam, Vijayanagaram, Prakasam, East and West Godavari, and Warangal. [3]


Lac is the most notable characteristic of the method. This word for a particular kind of wax originates in the Sanskrit word laksha, which featured prominently in the infamous lakshagriha episode of the Mahabharata.



In a world polluted by plastic toys, the non-toxic vegetable dyes of the Etikoppaka offer an alternative. Using a soft wood, these products are then fashioned to perfection with objects varying from beads and earrings to candle stands and vermillion boxes.

The EU contributed to the drop in the industry with its commercial review of the product, which questioned the safety of the resins and dyes. Nevertheless, through the patronage and commitment of C.V. Raju, local landlord and artisan himself, a temporary revival in fortunes was seen.

He resolved to ensure that safety and non-toxic certification would not be an impediment to marketing this lovely handicraft. He experimented with various dyes and natural processes. He innovated by using organic dyes from the handloom industry in place of chemical dyes, which had come into fashion. In the process, he identified a number of natural and specifically vegetable dyes that could surmount any objection, and offered a range of colours such as ochre, olive, turquoise, and indigo blue.


The Tharini, or turned wood lacquer, process is used to prepare these exquisite examples of Andhra craftwork.

First, a fine grain softwood, such as ankudu, is first collected then left out to dry in the hills. This makes for a picturesque view amid the panorama of the Eastern Ghats.

Lac sticks are used to lacquer up the items. Lac is a non-violent process that uses secretions of insect pupae on wood as a wax. The insect itself later leaves alive and well, and the resulting lac stick is then used to embalm the wood.

Clear lac can also be produced from crushed lac sticks tied to a cloth and dipped in hot water. This can then be  oxidised with natural vegetable colour and then applied to a carved wood piece turning on a lathe.

Performed either by lathe, machine, or hand, lacquer work is an intensive but rewarding process.

The oxidised lacquer is given a beautiful flair with mogali reku (kevda leaf).



The subtle elegance and subdued yet vibrant colours of wholly organic dye make Etikoppaka lacquerware a promising commercial opportunity and a must-have for fashionable Andhra ladies, whether unmarried or a mother. Still very much a cottage industry, it is an artisan driven craft that could truly blossom under a cooperative armed with business insight.

Of late, applications have expanded across the board. That is why this unique craft of AP is not meant to be just limited to toys. In fact, intricate jewelry boxes, vases, stools, and even bottles are being made in all shapes and sizes using this polish.


Modern e-retailers have already tossed their hats in their ring and have marketed the product as a mid-range luxury item. Whether for jewelry or for show or for young ones, it’s a treasure to treasure for a lifetime.


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The Koppaka handicrafts would have faded away, like many others of their ilk, had Raju not innovated. In today’s world, where cultures and societies are getting homogenised, it is the traditional handicrafts such as the Etikoppaka articles that lend an identity to a village and a sense of pride to its people. [3]

Etikoppaka lacquerware is a craft with great commercial potential. Not only does it present an opportunity for healthy margins from shrewd investors or a means of securing the livelihood of hundreds, possibly thousands, it provides yet another prong to revitalising Brand Andhra. Rather than buying Made in China, buy Made in Andhra. Make a buck while making a difference in the process and invest in the future of these artisans and your culture along the way.