Who were the Astadiggajas?

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chasethesun | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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The astadiggajas were poets from the South Indian Vijayanagara Kingdom.  The term specifically refers to a group of eight poets under the patronage of the king Krishna Deva Raya who reigned from 1509 - 1529.  The eight astradiggajas were meant to represent the eight pillars of the king's literary assembly.  This symbolism was drawn from the religious belief that eight elephants sustained the whole world on their backs.  In fact, astadiggajas means "elephants in eight directions".  The astadiggajas are considered the fathers of Tegulu poetry, and perhaps the most famous among them was named Allasani Peddana