Pañchamukhi Tāḷa Avadhāna:
Tāḷa avadhāna-s are critical tests for the laya gn̲āna and concentration level of an artist. These are highly academic in nature and the entertainment value is usually very low. Dwitāḷa avadhāna is the most popular form of tāḷa avadhāna. In this, usually two different tāḷa-s having equal number of āvṛttākṣara-s are shown simultaneously by the two hands. Normally a pallavi is sung while doing Dwitāḷa avadhāna. But, Pañchamukhi avadhāna is a unique, a very rare and difficult tāḷa avadhāna in which the avadhāni has to show all the five gati-s simultaneously with 5 different parts of his body while singing. Mathematically, once all the gati-s start on a single beat, they come together again on to a single beat only after 1260 letters, 1260 being the least common multiple of 3 4 5 7 & 9.
History: Pañchamukhi has its origin in Hiñdu mythology. The legendary multifaceted genius ‘Harikathā Pitāmaha’, ‘Pañchamukhi Paramēśwara’ Śrimat Ajjāḍa Ādibhaṭla Nārāyaṇa Dāsu of Vijayanagaram, Āñdhra Pradēsh is the first man to discover and demonstrate this rare avadhāna. He composed a single line Sarva dēvatā stuti of 28 letters duration in 45 rāga-s and sang it while showing Pañchamukhi. Getting inspiration from Sri Nārāyaṇa Dāsu, Sri Muṭnūru Sūryanārāyaṇa Śāstri of Chīpurupalli town of Vijayanagaram district practiced not only the Pañchamukhi presented by Śri Nārāyaṇa Dāsu garu but also another two varieties of Pañchamukhi and ‘Āñjanēya Ṣaṭkāla Ṣaṇmukhi’. He got the theory of all these avadhāna-s from ‘Nañdi Bharatam’, an ancient Sañskṛt text, practiced them on his own and gave demonstrations at many places including the Music Academy, Madras. He translated ‘Nañdi Bharatam’ into Telugu as ‘Nandīswara Bharatam’.