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Indian Heritage & Culture

Summer Ragas

  • 31 May 2019
  • 4 min read

The world still remembers ragas for spring but has forgotten summer ragas. A raga is defined as a collection of musical notes which are arranged in a particular order and scale with specific melodic movements. In northern India, ragas are classified according to such characteristics as mood, season and time; in southern India, ragas are grouped by the technical traits of their scales.

Ragas associated with Indian summer (grishma) season

  • Raga Marwa: It is sung during the late afternoon hours up to sunset.
  • Raga Sarang: It, in all its forms, is another raga associated with the heat, to be sung when the heat of the day is at its peak. Its melody particularly remain oriented to the summer season.
  • The dhrupad style "Haveli Sangeet".

Dhrupad

  • The word Dhrupad is derived from Dhruva, the steadfast evening star that moves through the galaxy, and Pada meaning poetry.
  • It is a form of devotional music that traces its origin to the ancient text of Samveda.
  • Though a highly developed classical art with elaborate aesthetics, it is also primarily a form of worship, in which offerings are made to the divine through sound or Nada.
  • One significant characteristic of Dhrupad is the emphasis on maintaining the purity of the Raga.

Haveli Sangeet

  • Haveli Sangeet is temple music practiced by the Vaishnavites of Nathdwara in Rajasthan.
    • Nathdwara is the main seat of the Vaishnava devotional cult which created a rich historical tradition of temple-based music.
  • 'Haveli' here is referred to a palace that the deity chooses to live in.
  • In comparison to Dhrupad, Haveli Sangeet, as it is known in Rajasthan and Gujarat, claimed superior resilience as it was believed that Lord Krishna himself was the very audience for its performances.
  • In this music practice, the very essence of the song revolves around Krishna Bhakti and is sung in the form of Kirtans, Bhajans and Bhava Nritya.
  • Known to incorporate a fusion of classical and folk music, the dominant style of singing is still Dhrupad and Dhamar (a taal).
  • The temples of Radha Vallabh at Vrindavan, Krishna at Nandgaon, Shri Radha Rani at Barsana, and Sri Nathji at Nathdwara are all known to reverberate with Haveli Sangeet.
  • In Gujarat, one school of thought holds that Indian classical music has its origins in the Haveli Sangeet of Vallabha Acharya, a pioneer in this genre.

Vallabhacharya

  • It is a school of Hinduism prominent among the merchant class of northern and western India.
  • Its members are worshippers of Krishna and followers of the Pushtimarg (Way of Flourishing) group, founded by the 16th century teacher Vallabha and his son Vitthala (also known as Gosainji).
  • The Vallabhacharya sect is renowned for the degree of devotion paid to its gurus (spiritual leaders), who are considered earthly embodiments of the god.
  • The main temple of the sect is at Nathdwara, in Rajasthan state, where there is a distinctive image of the Lord Krishna called Shri-Nathaji.
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