The word Mahakavi or Maha Kavi is an honorific and means "Great Poet" or "Dean of Poets". The title Mahakavi is conferred by the Sahitya Academy appointed by the King. There are only handful of Indian poets who have been conferred the status of Mahakavi. Those conferred use "Mahakavi" as title attached to their name for example:
- ("mahakavi Kuvempu") Kuppali Venkatappa Puttappa' (29 Dec1904 – 11 Nov 1994')'popularly known by his pen name Kuvempu, He is widely regarded as mahakavi, the greatest Kannada poet of the 20th century.
- Mahakavi Kunnampurathu Varghese Simon
- Kālidāsa, a 5th-century Sanskrit playwright and epic poet.
- Adikavi Pampa(Pampa) (c. 10th century),one of three gem in kannada poetic literature. he is called by the honorific Ādikavi ("First Poet") was a great poet in Kannada-language Jain poet whose works reflected his philosophical beliefs.A court poet of Chalukya king Arikesari II, who was a feudatory of the Rashtrakuta dynasty king Krishna III, Pampa is best known for his epics Vikramārjuna Vijaya or Pampa Bharata, and the Ādi purāṇa, both written in the champu style around c.939. These works served as the model for all future champu works in Kannada.
- Kumara Vyasa (Kannada: ಕುಮಾರವ್ಯಾಸ) is the pen name of Narayanappa (Kannada: ನಾರಾಯಣಪ್ಪ), an influential and great kannada poet of early 15th century in the Kannada language. His pen name is a tribute to his magnum opus, a rendering of the Mahabharata in Kannada. Kumara Vyasa literally means "Little Vyasa" or "Son of Vyasa" (author of the Mahabharata). He was the contemporary and archrival of the famous Veerashaiva poet laureate Chamarasa who wrote the seminal work Prabhulingaleele covering the lives of Allama Prabhu and other Shiva Sharanas, circa 1435. Both poets worked in the court of Deva Raya II.
- Ponna (Kannada: ಪೊನ್ನ) (c. 945) was a great Kannada poet in the court of Rashtrakuta Dynasty king Krishna III (r.939–968 CE). The emperor honoured Ponna with the title "emperor among poets" (Kavichakravarthi) for his domination of the Kannada literary circles of the time, and the title "imperial poet of two languages" (Ubhayakavi Chakravarti) for his command over Sanskrit as well. Ponna is often considered one among the "three gems of Kannada literature" (Ratnatraya, lit meaning "three gems".
- Vidyapati (1352–1448), also known as Maithil Kavi Kokil (the poet cuckoo of Maithili language), a Maithili poet and Sanskrit writer
- Janna known as mahakavi janna (greatest kannada poet of 13th century. (Kannada : ಮಹಾಕವಿ ಜನ್ನ) was one of the well-known Kannada poets of the early 13th century. He graced the court of Hoysala empire King Veera Ballala II and earned the title Kavichakravarthi ("Emperor among poets").Although all his works are known for the grace and style, Yashodhara Charite is his magnum opus and one of the classics of Kannada literature.
- (Kuvempu 'Kuppali Venkatappa Puttappa' (29 Dec1904 – 11 Nov 1994')'popularly known by his pen name Kuvempu, was an Indian novelist, poet, playwright, and critic. He is widely regarded as mahakavi, the greatest Kannada poet of the 20th century.
- Subramania Bharati (1882–1921), was a Tamil writer, poet and journalist, and Indian independence activist and social reformer from Tamil Nadu. Popularly known as "Mahakavi Bharatihiyar", he was a pioneer of modern Tamil poetry and is considered one of the greatest Tamil literary figures of all time.
- Ranna (Kannada: ರನ್ನ) was one of the earliest and arguably one of the greatest poets of the Kannada language. His style of writing is often compared to that of Adikavi Pampa who wrote in the early 10th century. Together, Ranna, Adikavi Pampa and Sri Ponna are called "three gems of ancient Kannada literature"
- Moyinkutty Vaidyar (1852–1892), a Muslim Malayalam poet of the Mappila pattu genre
- Kumaran Asan (1873–1924), one of the modern triumvirate poets of Malayalam
- Ulloor S. Parameswara Iyer (1877–1949), one of the modern triumvirate poets of Malayalam
- Vallathol Narayana Menon (1878–1958), one of the modern triumvirate poets of Malayalam
- K.V. Simon (1883–1944), a Christian Malayalam poet, Sanskrit scholar and polyglot
- Puthencavu Mathan Tharakan (1903–1993), a Christian Malayalam poet
- P. C. Devassia (1906–2006), a Christian Sanskrit scholar and poet
- Laxmi Prasad Devkota (1909–1959), a Nepali poet.
- Dattātreya Rāmachandra Bēndre (31 January 1896 – 26 October 1981) named as varakavi (gifted poet).popularly known as Da Rā Bēndre, is generally considered the greatest Kannada lyric poet of the 20th century and one of the greatest poets in the history of Kannada literature. A pioneering poet of Kannada's Navōdaya movement and a leading figure in the linguistic renaissance of Kannada in the region of North Karnataka.
- Mahakavi Series, a television documentary series anchored by poet Kumar Vishwas during 2016