This article is about Indian classical raga. For god, see Khandoba. For the festival, see Malhar (festival).

Malhar is an old raga in Indian classical music.[1] Malhar is associated with the atmosphere of torrential rains.[2] Besides the basic Shuddha Malhar, which was the original Malhar, there are several Malhar-related ragas that use the Malhar signature phrase m (m)R (m)R P, including Miyan Malhar, Ramdasi Malhar, Gaud Malhar, Sur Malhar, Des Malhar, Nat Malhar, and Meera ki Malhar. AROHAN: S,R,g,M,P,DHA,N,SA AVAROHAN: SA,n,DHA,P,M,g,R,S chalan: N(KHAD) SA RE dha MA(SLAR)


According to legend, raga Malhar is so powerful that when sung, it can induce rainfall. It is possible that the rainfall that the legends speak of is in fact metaphorical of the state of mind brought about by the recital of the raga.

There are many written accounts of Raga Malhar. Many great artists of the medieval period and much earlier periods used to sing this raga. Tansen, Baiju Bawra, Baba Ramdas, Nayak Charju, Miyan Bakhshu, Tantarang, Tanras Khan, Bilas Khan (son of Tansen), Hammer Sen, Surat Sen, and Meera Bai are among the singers who are said to have been capable of starting rains using various kinds of Raga Malhar.[3]

According to a legend, once the Mughal emperor Akbar asked his court musician Tansen to sing Raga Deepak, the raga of light. The effect was such that all the lamps in the courtyard lit up themselves, and Tansen's body became so hot that he had to sit in the nearby river to cool himself. However, the river began to boil, and it became apparent that Tansen would soon boil to death. He set out on a search to find someone who could sing Raga Malhar to cure him. In due course he reached Vadnagar, in Gujarat, where he found two sisters, Tana and Riri, whom he asked for help. They agreed to sing Raga Malhar to cure him. When they sang the Raga, rains came down in torrents, which cooled Tansen's body immediately.[4]


There are many variations of Raga Malhar, and are categorised chronologically[3] based on the era of their composition - prachina (before the 15th Century), madhyakalina (15th - 18th Century) and arvachina (19th Century and thence). Ragas Shuddha Malhar, Megh Malhar and Gaud Malhar belong to the first period

Miyan ki malhar is a variation introduced by Tansen (one of the composers in the court of the Mughal emperor Akbar), which follows the swaras: S R g m P D n N. Though Miyan ki malhar and Raga Bahar have the same tone material, the melodic movements in Miyan ki malhar are rather serious and slow, moving more in the lower tetra-chord, whereas movements in Bahar are more sprightly and centre around the high Sa.[5]

In popular culture


  1. Bhavan's Journal v.26:14-26 (1980). Page 27.
  2. Manorma Sharma (2007). Music Aesthetics. APH Publishing. p. 113. ISBN 978-81-313-0032-9.
  3. 1 2 Bannerjee, Dr. Geeta (2000). Raag Malhar Darshan. SAWF.
  4. Bigamudre Chaitanya Deva (1995). Indian Music. Taylor & Francis. p. 18. ISBN 978-81-224-0730-3.
  5. Shah, Jaisukhlal (1969). Malhar ke prakar. Bombay.
  6. 1 2 Raga. Centre of South Asian Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

External links

Examples of Miyan ki Malhar:

Examples of Gaud Malhar:

Examples of Ramdasi Malhar:

Example of Sur Malhar:

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