Kanakangi (pronounced kanakāngi, meaning the golden bodied one) is a rāgam in Carnatic music (musical scale of South Indian classical music). It is the 1st Melakarta rāgam in the 72 melakarta rāgam system of Carnatic music. It is called Kanakāmbari in the Muthuswami Dikshitar school.[1][2]

Structure and Lakshana

Kanakangi scale with shadjam at C

It is 1st rāgam in the 1st chakra Indu. The mnemonic name is Indu-Pa. The mnemonic phrase is sa ra ga ma pa dha na.[1] Its ārohaṇa-avarohaṇa structure (ascending and descending scale) has all shuddha swaras, as follows (see swaras in Carnatic music for details on below notation and terms):

(the notes are shuddha rishabham, shuddha gandharam, shuddha madhyamam, shuddha dhaivatham, shuddha nishadham)

It is a sampurna rāgam – a rāgam that has all seven swaras (notes). It is the shuddha madhyamam equivalent of Salagam, which is the 37th melakarta.

Asampurna Melakarta

Kanakāmbari is the 1st Melakarta in the original list compiled by Venkatamakhin. The notes used in the scale are the same, but the ascending scale is different. It is an audava-sampurna raga (5 notes in ascending scale, while full 7 are used in descending scale).[3]

Janya rāgams

Kanakangi has a few janya ragams associated with it, of which Karnātaka shuddha sāveri and Lavangi (a recent addition to Carnatic music by Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna) are a little popular. See List of janya rāgams for a full list of Kanakangi's janyas.

Popular Compositions

Sri Gananatham Bhajamyaham is one of the few compositions in this austere ragam, by Thyagaraja, one of the most important composers in the history of Indian music. Also, Koteeswara Iyer has composed a krithi in this raga, he having composed in every melakarta raga.

Another important composition is that of Muthuswamy DikshitarkanakAmbari kAruNyAmRtalahari in the rāgam KanakAmbari.

Sreesa Putraya is a composition by Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna, is part of a series of compositions he created in every melakartha raga.

The popular Tamil movie Sindhu Bhairavi has a song Moham ennum, in this ragam Kanakangi.

Related rāgams

This section covers the theoretical and scientific aspect of this rāgam.

Kanakangi's notes when shifted using Graha bhedam, yields Kamavardani. Graha bhedam is the step taken in keeping the relative note frequencies same, while shifting the shadjam to the next note in the rāgam. For further details and an illustration refer Graha bhedam on Kanakangi.


  1. 1 2 Ragas in Carnatic music by Dr. S. Bhagyalekshmy, Pub. 1990, CBH Publications
  2. Raganidhi by P. Subba Rao, Pub. 1964, The Music Academy of Madras
  3. Shree Muthuswami Dikshitar Keerthanaigal, by A Sundaram Iyer, Music Book Publishers, Mylapore, Chennai
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