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Tripadi (Kannada, Sanskrit lit. tri: three, pad or "adi": feet) is a native metre in the Kannada language dating back to c. 700 CE.


The tripadi consists of three lines, each differing from the others in the number of feet and moras (Sanskrit matras),[1] but in accordance with the following rules:

  • The first line has 4 feet, each with 5 moras, and a caesura at the end of the second foot.[1]
  • The 6th and 10th feet of the tripadi are each required to have the metrical pattern of a Brahma foot:

 -\smile \ \mathrm{or} \ \smile\smile\smile \ \mathrm{or} \ -- \ \mathrm{or} \ \smile\smile- \ \

where \smile (breve) denotes a short syllable, and - (macron) a long one.

  • The remaining feet have either 5 moras or 4, chosen to satisfy the rules of Nagavarma II:[1]

Line 1 20 moras in four feet
Line 2 17 moras in four feet
Line 3 13 moras in three feet.

Metrical structure[edit]

An example, of a possible scansion (metrical structure) of a tripadi, is given in (Kittel 1875, p. 98), where it is also stressed that it is not the form of the moras, but the number that is important. (Here * denotes a caesura)

 \overbrace{\smile \smile \smile-}^{\mathrm{Foot 1}} | \overbrace{\smile\smile\smile-}^{\mathrm{Foot 2}} \star \overbrace{\smile\smile\smile-}^{\mathrm{Foot 3}} | \overbrace{-\smile-}^{\mathrm{Foot 4}} (Line 1: 20 moras in 4 feet)

 \overbrace{\smile \smile \smile\smile}^{\mathrm{Foot 5}} | \overbrace{\underbrace{--}_{\mathrm{Brahma}}}^{\mathrm{Foot VI}} | \overbrace{\smile\smile\smile-}^{\mathrm{Foot 7}} | \overbrace{\smile\smile\smile\smile}^{\mathrm{Foot 8}} (Line 2: 17 moras in 4 feet)

 \overbrace{\smile \smile \smile\smile}^{\mathrm{Foot 9}} | \overbrace{\underbrace{--}_{\mathrm{Brahma}}}^{\mathrm{Foot X}} | \overbrace{\smile\smile\smile-}^{\mathrm{Foot 11}} || (Line 3: 13 moras in 3 feet)

Another example (Kittel 1875, p. 99) is:

 \overbrace{\smile \smile-\smile}^{\mathrm{Foot 1}} | \overbrace{--\smile}^{\mathrm{Foot 2}} \star \overbrace{\smile\smile-\smile}^{\mathrm{Foot 3}} | \overbrace{-\smile-}^{\mathrm{Foot 4}} (Line 1: 20 moras in 4 feet)

 \overbrace{\smile \smile \smile\smile}^{\mathrm{Foot 5}} | \overbrace{\underbrace{-\smile}_{\mathrm{Brahma}}}^{\mathrm{Foot VI}} | \overbrace{\smile\smile-\smile}^{\mathrm{Foot 7}} | \overbrace{-\smile\smile\smile}^{\mathrm{Foot 8}} (Line 2: 17 moras in 4 feet)

 \overbrace{\smile \smile -\smile}^{\mathrm{Foot 9}} | \overbrace{\underbrace{-\smile}_{\mathrm{Brahma}}}^{\mathrm{Foot X}} | \overbrace{\smile\smile\smile-}^{\mathrm{Foot 11}} || (Line 3: 13 moras in 3 feet)


A well-known example of the tripadi is the third stanza in the inscription of Kappe Arabhatta (here the symbol | denotes the end of a line, and ||, the end of the tripadi):

Sādhuge1a Sādhu1b mādhuryange1c mādhuryam1d |
bādhippa1e kalige2a kaliyuga2b viparītan2b |
mādhavan2c ītan2d peran2e alla2f ||

The literal translation of the tripadi is:[2]

To the good people,1a good;1b to the sweet,1c sweetness;1d |
causing distress1e

to the kali age,2a an exceptional man in Kaliyuga,2b |
Madhava (or Vishnu)2c this man,2d another2e is not2f||

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Kittel 1875, p. 98, Narasimhia 1941, p. 383
  2. ^ Narasimhia 1941, pp. 346, 329, 323, 295, 286, 320, 278


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tripadi — Please support Wikipedia.
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