Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar received The Musician award from Rajendra Prasad in 1952.

Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar (19 May 1890 – 23 January 1967[1]), popularly known as Ariyakudi, was a Carnatic music vocalist, born in Ariyakudi, a town in the present-day Sivaganga district of Tamil Nadu. Ariyakudi developed a unique style of singing which came to be known as The Ariyakudi Tradition and is followed by his students. He is credited with establishing the modern katcheri (concert) traditions in Carnatic music.[2][3][4]

In 1954, he was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship, the highest honour conferred by Sangeet Natak Akademi, India's National Academy for Music, Dance and Drama. This was followed by Padma Bhushan by Government of India in 1958.[5]

Early life and background

Ariyakudi was born in Ariyakudi, a village in the southern Karaikudi town in present-day Sivaganga district of Tamil Nadu, South India, on 19 May 1890. He studied under Pudukottai Malayappa Iyer and Namakkal Narasimha Iyengar in his early years.[6] Later he studied for several years under Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar,[6] the senior most disciple of Patnam Subramania Iyer.[citation needed]

He married Ponnammal (in 1909) and the couple had two daughters. Later he set up another house with Kanjanur Sundarambal Dhanammal, who was a devadasi and became his student after which there was a romantic association. With two women in his life, his later years witnessed domestic acrimony. [7]

Career and legacy

He made his debut at Tyagaraja Aradhana in 1918.[citation needed]

The doyen of Carnatic music, Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, is known to have remarked, "I was greatly influenced by Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar. I do not want another life. But if there is one, I want to be able to sing like Ramanuja Iyengar".[8] And another maestro, G N Balasubramaniam, a contemporary of Ariyakudi, is known to have prostrated in front of him out of respect. Ariyakudi formed a formidable partnership on the concert platform with mridangam maestro Palghat Mani Iyer and two had a strong friendship born out of mutual respect.[9] Palghat Mani Iyer is reported to have said, "Annaa (Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar) and Iyengarval (Ariyakudi) are like my two eyes".


Ariyakudi's famous disciples include [V V Sadagopan]K V Narayanaswamy, B. Rajam Iyer, Alepey Venkatesan, Madurai N. Krishnan,[10] and Ambi Bhagavathar. He also had regular interactions with M.S. Subbulakshmi and shaped her musical interests.



See also


  1. ^ Sangeeta Sangadhigal - 28 (Tamil)
  2. ^ Lakshmi Subramanian (1 January 2008). New Mansions for Music: Performance, Pedagogy and Criticism. Berghahn Books. pp. 47–. ISBN 978-81-87358-34-3. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  3. ^ Shankar, Bala (13 December 2018). "The word Ariyakudi brought to fashion". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  4. ^ Balasubramanian, V. (28 January 2016). "Remembering Ariyakudi". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  5. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 October 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  6. ^ a b Papa (2 January 2011). "Pages ago - A musicians' musician". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  7. ^ "Ariyakkudi, maestro who woke up snoring crowds at concerts & made modern-day Carnatic music". 23 June 2019.
  8. ^ Semmangudi's comments on Ariyakudi - Frontline Interview[usurped]
  9. ^ P, Venkatesan. "Ariyakudi and Mani Iyer". Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  10. ^ "Vidwan Madurai N. Krishnan passes away". 25 November 2018. Archived from the original on 12 November 2018. Retrieved 25 November 2018.
  11. ^ "Sangita Kalanidhi recipients". Madras Music Academy website. Archived from the original on 30 December 2012.
  12. ^ "SNA: List of Akademi Awardees". Sangeet Natak Akademi Official website. Archived from the original on 31 March 2016.
  13. ^ "SNA: List of Sangeet Natak Akademi Ratna Puraskarwinners (Akademi Fellows)". SNA Official website. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016.
  14. ^ a b c Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyenkar Day. Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar Trust. 1984.
  15. ^ "Awardees of Sangeetha Kalasikhamani". The Indian Fine Arts Society. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  16. ^ "Padma Awards Directory (1954–2009)" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 May 2013.