Born on 4 May 1767 at Tiruvayyaru in Tanjavur district of Tamil Nadu, to the daughter of the poet-composer Girija Kavi, he was named after the presiding deity of Tiruvarur. The family shifted to a house gifted by the king of Tanjavur in Tiruvayyaru, on the banks of the Kaveri river, an abode of saints, poets and musicians. Born and bred in a highly cultured family, he was a profound scholar and poet. He studied Sanskrit, astrology, music and his mother tongue Telugu. He was a disciple of Sonthi Venkataramanayya, one of the foremost singers of the day. Who?