There are many Ragas in Hindustani Classical Music which have their origin in Carnatic Music; however, they do not become popular after adoption in Hindustani Music. Raga Narayani falls in that category of ragas. The raga is documented in Carnatic Music under 3 Melakartas - No.16 Chakravakam, No. 28 Harikambhoji and No.29 Dheerashankarabharanam. The raga from Harikambhoji Melakarta (Khamaj Thaat) resembles Narayani of Hindustani Classical Music.
Raga Narayani is considered to be a mixture of ragas Durga and Sorath (Aroha of raga Durga and Avaroha of raga Sorath). The scale of the raga can also be interpreted as raga Durga with the addition of Komal Nishad -n- in Avaroha.
In this Raga Pancham is a Nyas Swar and Dhaivat is Deergh (elongated) like: S R P ; m P n D D P. This differentiates this Raga from Raga Surdasi Malhar where Dhaivat is not elongated. This Raga can be expanded in Madhya and Tar Saptak. It creates a soothing atmosphere.
Raga Narayani an import from Carnatic music, the Hindustani raga Narayani is a janya of the Khamaj that, corresponding to the 28th melakarta Harikambhoji: S R G M P D n. It employs all the swaras of the Khamaj that except for gandhar.
In the Carnatic tradition Narayani presents itself in two disparate avatars. The inspiration for the Hindustani Narayani is Tyagaraja‘s conception parlayed by his kritis, bhajanaseyu margamunu and Rama neevekani. The other version due to Dikshitar, instantiated by his composition Mahishasura mardini, is a janya of the Dheerashankarabharanam melakarta.
A brief discussion of Narayani is found in Pandit Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande‘s monumental work Hindustani Sangeet Paddhati. Bhatkhande’s own Dhrupad-anga composition in Sooltal, Narayana ko nita bhaja re, is documented in his Kramika Pustaka Malika and re-printed in Raja Nawab Ali‘s Marifunnaghmat. But as we shall see, the prevailing structure and lakshanas of the Hindustani Narayani follow closely the blueprint imbedded in the two compositions of S.N. Ratanjankar, to wit, the vilambit, bamana re bichara and the druta bandish, sahelariyan gavo ri. Let us now tease out the main features of the raga.