The mere utterance of his name brings back memories of valour and Velama pride. Also known as "Gajabaludu" and "Simha Vikramudu", his slaying of Peda Viziarama Raju, the Raja of Vizianagaram, was the single most event of significance, which catapulted him not only in the annals of Bobbili History but also of India.
The suicide of his sister and the wiping out of his entire clan in the famous `Bobbili Yuddham' led him to avenge almost single-handedly their killing. Tandra Paparayudu is revered as a tiger, who upheld the glory of the Padmanayaka Velamas. A `chavadi', which bears his name, was erected in Bobbili town in 1900.
The founder of the Bobbili house, Pedda Rayudu, 15th in descent of the Rajas of Venkatagiri, was a Velama by caste. Pusapati Madhava Varma was the ancestor of the royal Vizianagaram family. The rivalry between the two families dates back to 1652. Sher Muhammad Khan, the Fouzdar of the Nawab of Chicacole granted the Rajam hunda to Pedda Rayudu in recognition of his services.
Rayudu's son Lingappa, who succeeded him, selected Bobbili as his headquarters, built a fort there, found the town and called it Pedda-puli (big tiger). The name became Pebbuli and Bebbuli and in course of time it became Bobbili. The son of Sher Khan was abducted by rebels and Lingappa saved him. He was granted 12 villages and the hereditary title `Ranga Rao' in recognition of his service.
Lingappa was succeeded by his adopted son Vengal Ranga Rao and the latter by Rangapati. His son Rayadappa succeded him and later his adopted son Gopalakrishna took over. During Gopalakrishna's rule in 1753, the Northern Circars were assigned to the French by the Nizam of Hyderabad and Bussy, the French General, agreed to lease Chicacole and Rajahmundry Circars to Pedda Viziarama Raju, the Raja of Vizianagaram. A rupture between Bussy and the Nizam led to the weakening of the former's authority. Viziarama Raju placed his troops at the disposal of Bussy and helped him in re-establishing his suzerainty.
Viziarama Raju persuaded Bussy to help him in defeating his arch rival, the Raja of Bobbili. On January 24, 1757, Bussy with his army and the army of Viziarama Raju in tow marched towards the Bobbili fort. The army of Gopalkrishna Ranga Rao was no match for the combined armies of Bussy and Viziarama Raju but he and his men put up a brave fight till the end.
Tandra Paparayudu was at Rajam at that time. The French General knew that it would be impossible to reach Bobbili via Rajam as Paparayudu was camping there and took a different route to reach the fort. Rani Mallamma Devi, wife of Ranga Rao and sister of Paparayudu, sent a message to him on coming to know of the enemy's advance towards the fort.
However, the enemy intercepted the courier and the message did not reach Paparayudu.
Meanwhile, Ranga Rao and his men after defending the fort for several hours realised that the enemy could not be contained for long. Ranga Rao did not want the women and children in the fort to be at the mercy of the enemy. He ordered them to be sacrificed. Rani Mallamma Devi committed suicide.
When the news reached him, Tandra Paparayudu rushed to the demolished fort and saw his sister and the entire family lying on the ground in a pool of blood. Seething with vengeance he took an oath to kill Viziarama Raju.
Viziarama Raju was camping in a tent, basking in the `glory' of the unequal war, which annihilated his enemy. Tandra Paparayudu along with Devulapalli Peddanna and Buddaraju Venkaiah managed to reach the tent in which Viziarama Raju was sleeping. Paparayudu gained entry through the rear of the tent, while the other two stood guard at the entrance.
He woke up Viziarama Raju shouting "Puli, Puli... Bobbili Puli" (tiger, tiger... Bobbili tiger). Viziarama Raju tried to divert his attention saying that Velama heroes should not belittle their clan as cowards gaining entry through the backdoor. "You have wiped out our entire clan through dubious means and have no right to get ethical treatment," replied Paparayudu and stabbed him repeatedly in the chest.
Hearing the commotion, the bodyguard of Viziarama Raju tried to enter the tent but was killed by Peddanna, who was guarding the entrance. The entire army was alerted and the Bobbili tiger Paparayudu and the other two killed themselves.