Khamboji or Kambhoji or Kambodhi is a popular Raga in Carnatic Music.
This raga is a Janya Raga, derived from Harikambhoji , 28th on the Melakarta scale. Though a janya raga, it is a major raga and enjoys an important place in Carnatic Music along with the major melas like Todi, Shankharabharanam, Kalyani and Kharaharapriya. It is an old raga and has been mentioned as early as the 7th century. Given its name, its origins are probably from the Kamboj or Kambhoj people, a territory possibly in North-West India. This raga lends itself to detailed elaborations and sounds good in all tempos. It is considered auspicious and its mood is both tranquil and courageous. It is often described as being majestic. All the major composers have contributed a number of kritis in this raga; some well known kritis are O Rangashayee by Tyagaraja, Sri Subrahmanyaya namaste by Muthuswami Dikshithar, Kana Kan Koti Vendum by Papanasam Sivan, Thiruvadi Sharanam by Gopalakrishna Bharati and Kuzhaloodi Manamellam by Oothukadu Venkata Subbaiyer.
There are numerous references to Raga or Ragini called Kambhoji in ancient Indian musical traditions. Narada's Sangita Makaranda (7th to 8th century AD) broadly classifies Ragas into eight subsets and includes three raginis in each subset. In this scheme of classification, Narada accepts raga Kambhoji as a mode of Shri raga, the first subset of his scheme of classification. Ramaditya, the author of Swara-Mela Kalanidhi (1550 AD) has accepted 20 melas and has accommodated 64 Jana-ragas among the melas. In this scheme of classification, the twentieth mela is Kambhoji under which come the Jana-ragas like Kambhoji. Ragamala of Pundrikavitthala classifies ragas into six divisions with each group having several raginis and ragas imagined to be their spouses and sons. Thus the ragini Kambhoji is assumed to be one among the several spouses of raga Nat-Narayana. Chatravarishach. Chhat-raga Nirupanam authored by Narada (1525-50 AD) lists ten main ragas and accepts the Kambhoji as the spouse of seventh raga called Raga Nata-Narayana. Chaturdandi Prakashika authored by Venkatamakhin (also known as Venkateshwara Dikshit, -1660 AD) assumes 19 melas and lists the Kambhoji, Kedaragaula and Narayanagaula as the Janya ragas under mela Kambhoji. The Anupa-Sangit-Ratanakar by Sangit Acharya Bhava-Bhata lists 20 ragas as being fundamental ragas. The third raga of his scheme, called Kedar Raga, includes more than a dozen of raginis, the seventh being the well known Kambhoji. Raja Tulaji, the ruler of Tanjore (1763-87 AD) has written a well known book on musicology known as Sangit-Saramritoddhar. Raja Tulaji assumes 21 Janakmelas and includes Kambhoji and Yadukul-Kambhoji as the Jana ragas under the eighth Janaka-mela of his scheme of classification.
Most of the references above are comparatively recent but this should not be taken to mean that raga Kambhoji is also of recent origin. Reference to this raga as Thakkesi is in the ancient Tamil epic Cilappatikaram which is referred by the Sanskrit name kamboji. Brihaddesi authored by Sangit Acharya Matanga Muni (500-700 AD) is the most important work between Natyashastra (2nd century BC) and Sangita Makarand (7th to 8th century AD).
Since the Raga Kambhoji has been classified as Female Raga (i.e., Ragini), this raga is particularly suitable in conveying the sentiments of Shringara (romantic and erotic), Hasya (humorous) and Karuna (pathos).