Raga Darbari Kanada

   About Darbari Kanada

Raga Darbari or Kanada or Darbari Kanada

Darbari Kanada, or simply Raga Darbari, (pronounced darbari kanada), is a raga in the Kanada family, which is thought to have originated in Carnatic music and brought into Hindustani classical music by Miyan Tansen, the legendary 16th-century composer in emperor Akbar's court. This tradition is reflected in the name itself; Darbar is the Persian derived word in Hindi meaning 'court'.  As the most familiar raga in the Kannada family, it may sometimes also be called Shuddha Kanada or pure Kannada. It belongs to the Asavari thaat.This rag is called raga Kaanada in Yakshagana Karnataka state dance. It is also sometimes written as Durbari and Durbarikanada.

Darbari is a grave raga, played deep into the night, considered to be one of the more difficult to master, and with the potential for profound emotional impact.Darbari is a very serious raga and hence, slow and elaborate meend and andolan are generally more preferred than light and frivolous ornamentations like murki or khatka. The improvisation of Darbari is done more in the mandra saptak, or lower octave.

The ascension of arohana is in the lower and middle octaves. In the avarohana the note Ga (gandhar) komal is used in a slow vibrato (andolan) on this note. Similarly, komal Dha is also used by Andolan. The Andolan of komal Ga and komal Dha add to the gravity of the raga. The association of the notes Ni and Pa sounds pleasing. Its Vadi swara is Re and Samavadi is Pa.

For reference, the set of notes in the Asavari thaat is S R g M P d n, and for Darbari, the role of the komal gandhar is crucial, as is dwelling on the lower komal dhaivat for some time.

Other ragas in the Kanada family include Nayaki Kanada, Abhogi Kanada, Shahana Kanada, Kaushi Kanada, Bageshree Kanada and Adana. (Adana is part of the Kanada Raga group)

It is an ubhaya vakra sampurna ragam derived from the 20th melakarta ragam Natabhairavi.Its arohana-avarohana structure is as follows in Carnatic music :
arohana : S R2 G2 S M1 P D1 N2 S
avarohana : S D1 N2 P M1 P G2 R2 S
This scale uses the notes chatusruti rishabham, sadharana gandharam, shuddha madhyamam, shuddha dhaivatham, kaisiki nishadham.

'The Raga Darbari Kanada is also called and Raga Darbari. The raga which is most similar to Raga Darbari is Raga Adana. The most special feature of Raga Darbari is the nature of Ga and Dha. These are the two prominent notes, which have an oscillating character.

The Raga Darbari Kanada, said to be created by Miya Tansen, results in a sweet and heavy atmosphere. In this Raga, Gandhar and Dhaivat are the two prominent notes which have oscillating character. Raga Darbari is a satirical Hindi novel written by Sri Lal Sukla, published in 1968. He was awarded the Sahitya Academy Award, the highest Indian literary award, in 1969 for this novel.

In this Raga, Gandhar and Dhaivat are the two prominent notes which have oscillating character. In Aaroh, Gandhar is rendered with a Kan of Rishabh and Dhaivat is rendered with a Kan of Pancham. Whereas in Avroh, Gandhar is rendered with a Kan of Madhyam and Dhaivat with Kan of Nishad.

Dhaivat is skipped in Avroh like S' (n)d n P. This is a Gamak and Meend Pradhan Raga and is generally expanded in Mandra and Madhya Saptaks. 

Darbari is a grave raga, played deep into the night, considered to be one of the more difficult to master, and with the potential for profound emotional impact.

The ascension of arohana is in the lower and middle octaves. In the arohana the note Ga komal is used in a weak manner and a slow vibrato (andolan) on this note. The association of the notes Ni and Pa sounds pleasing. Its vadi swara is Re and samvadi is Pa.

Raga Darbari is among the most revered in the whole Hindustani tradition. Its name, like our own, is derived from durbar, Persian for ‘royal court’ (see the painting above) - and it is little stretch to imagine its majestic tones echoing across grand marble floors, bringing solemn relief to kings, warlords, and diplomats alike. Performances tend to be slow, grave, and reverential, balancing vocalistic turns with a precise microtonal geometry.

Darbari is suited to vocal performance, often at vilambit laya (slow tempo), with a focus on mandra and madhya saptaks (low/middle octaves). It takes Re as the vadi (king note), indicating it to be poorvang-dominant (with a melodic centre of gravity in the lower half of the scale).

There is strong use of meend (bends) and gamak (heavy oscillations), particularly around ga and dha. Deepak Raja describes these swaras as unlocking the heart of the raga's 'ponderous deliberateness', and notes that some consider them to be 'suppressed micro-swaras', intoned lower than usual.

On the way up they are often played a touch of the notes below - like (R/)g and (P/)d - and on the way down with a touch of the notes above - (m\)g and (n\)d. In addition to ga and dha, musicians can use Pa as a nyas (resting tone).

As with other Kanada family ragas, Darbari uses the characteristic phrases (P/)n P in ascent and m, gm(S/)RS in descent, and has a similar tendency for vakra (zig-zag) patterns. Ornaments, used frequently, tend to loop around themselves, staying within their own scalar region (SRgmP or PdnS).

Pandit Ulhas Kashalkar has mastered the nuances of the Gwalior, Agra, and Jaipur khayal gharanas. His version of Darbari, live from Darbar 2011, sets the raga to vilambit tilwara taal (slow 16-beat rhythm). He alternates long sustained tones with rapid taans (melodic elaborations), often resolving with a m\g slide, even teasing the boundaries of the raga with touches of shuddha Ni (natural 7th) at points (e.g. 2:35 and 7:38) - an unusual trick. (He likely picked it up from Agra gharana forebears such as Ustad Faiyyaz Khan, who does similarly on this 1936 recording.) 

Ustad Ali Akbar Khan incorporated Darbari-style ideas into the avroh of his own Raga Chandranandan. Darbari's closest Carnatic equivalent is Natabhairavi. Darbar believes in the power of Indian classical music to stir, thrill, and inspire. 

The therapeutical effect of  Darbari Kanada is said to be very effective in easing tension and anxiety, Providing great relief from Headache (Acute), Migraine, Mind Concentration, Grief, Mental shock, and promotes Good Sleep.

Created from the notes of Asavari Thaat, the raga acquires it darkness from the Komal G  D and N. Darbari Kanada has an interesting approach to its intervals. The oscillated treatment of two swaras – komal G, and komal D are much lower than usually found; this lower than normal flattening is often referred to in Indian music as ati-komal. It is this extreme alteration of the intervals that helps give Darbari Kanada its distinctive character. These two oscillations are fundamental to the sculpting of the two phrases which virtually define the melodic personality of Darbari Kanada – g M R and d n P. The occurrence of repeat swaras - as double or triple combinations like SSS, NNN, PPP is a special feature of this raga.

The phrases of G M  R  S and N  P, the signature phrases of Kanada group of ragas feature in this raga with a characteristic substance or weightiness. The undulation(the specific wavy pattern) of G is specially significant in setting the mood of the raga.  As the most familiar raga in the Kanada family, it may sometimes also be called Shuddha Kanada.

Other ragas in the Kanada family include Abhogi Kanada, Nayaki Kanada, Shahana Kanada, Kaushi Kanada and Adana.(Adana is part of the Kanada Raga group !) Darbari Kanada raga is presented in a vakra (twisted) fashion to distinguish it from related ragas such as Jaunpuri, Asawari, or Adana.

The raga is an illustrious example that can vividly bring out the feeling of love and pathos. The beauty, the poignancy and the depth of the raga can easily be brought out with the notes G M R S.  The emotion of love – ( to love and to be loved is one of the most important factor that keep us going in our life ; the nature and universe loves you so that you exist!) – relationships ( they bring in love – be it father, mother, wife, children, brother/ sister or friends !) and the meaning of life in itself is nothing but to love and to be loved (Life is complete and meaningful only with the ties of these  loving relationships!). At one level, the masculine temper of the raga gives it a majestic swaroop, at another level, the pathos and the poignancy of the raga evokes a feeling of vairagya, total detachment from worldly pleasures, a mood for meditative solitude or seclusion. Darbari Kanada is a late night raga considered to be one of the more difficult to master and with the potential for profound emotional impact.

Note that descent for both ragas are similar in structure as in N  to P to G. This usage of N P G P G etc. are vital to both ragas.

Kanada takes the higher catusruthi dhaivatam, whereas Darbari Kanada takes the lower Shuddha dhaivatam. This is a key  differentiator between Kanada and Darbari Kanada. GAndAram (ga):The (sAdAraNa) gAndhAram is the lifeblood swara of both ragas,but the typical/characteristic gamakas used for it varies between the two. Thus we find both similarities and differences between the two ragas in phrases containing G2. In Darbari Kanada, the G2 is sung in aslowly with a slight slow oscillation. It is done so from R2 when ascending, and from M1 when descending.

Darbari Kanada is regarded as one of the most grand, and profoundly introspective ragas in Hindustani music. Several prominent musicians have even stated that Darbari Kanada is the raga they would choose to sing before passing away! The raga possesses one of the most famous peaks in Hindustani music.

   Structure of Raga Darbari Kanada

Thaat : Asavari

Time : Midnight i.e. 3rd Prahar of the Night

Arohana : S R (M)g, M P (n)d n S' or S R (R)g, (R)g M P d n S'  

Avarohana : S' (n)d n P M P (M)g, M R S or S' d n P M P (M)g, (M)g M (S)R, S

Vadi : R

Samavadi : P

Synonym : Durbari

Swaras : Gandhar, Dhaivat and Nishad Komal. Rest all Shuddha Swaras.

Jati : Sampurna - Sampurna Vakra
Vishranti Sthan : S; R; P; - S'; P; R;

Mukhya Ang : S R g (R)g ; m P d (P)d n P ; n m P S' ; S' (n)d n P m P (m)g m R S ; ,d ,n S;

Aaroh Avroh : S R g m P d n S' - S' d n P m P g m R S;

Similar Raga : Kaunsi Kanada, Adana

A jany raga of 20th Melakartha Natabhairavi, Darbari Kanada has the following Arohana and Avarohana

Arohana : S R2 G2 M1 P D1 N2 S

Avarohana : S D1 N2 P M1 P G2 M1 R2 S

Jiva Swara : G and D (Much lighter than the usual G2 and D1)

   External Videos of Raga Darbari Kanada

   Songs based on Raga Darbari Kanada

Ram Ke Darbaar Baithe, 
Rasiya Ghar Jane De Mohe, 
Radha Raman Shyam 
Rama Nama - Roopakam - Gopala Dasar
Govardhana Giridhara – Adi - Narayana Theerthar
Matha Ramo Ramanama - Thrisram
Hari Tum Haro – Bhajan
Varuvai Varuvai - Adi
Nindathi Chandanam - Ashtapadi - Jayadevar
Srikantha Enagistu - Purandaradasa

Favourite Filmy Raga

Shivadam Shivanaamam – Malayalam – Mazhavillu
Azhage Nin –  Malayalam – Amaram- Raveendran
Malare Mounama – Tamil- Karnan – Vidyasagar
Kaatre – Tamil- Rhythm – A.R.Rahman
Pudu vellai Mazhai – Tamil - Roja – A.R.Rehaman ( another marvel in Darbari Kanada)
KalyANa thenilA – Tamil - Mounam Sammadham
Jogi Aaya – Hindi- Black n White – Sukhwinder Singh
Tere Dar Pe Aaya Hun, Kuchh Karke Jaunga - Hindi – Laila Majnu – Madan Mohan

Popular Film Songs

1.Daiya re daiya, laaj mohe lage  Film: Leader
2. Dil jalta hai to jalne de  Film: Pehli Nazar
3. Jhanak jhanak tori baaje paayaliya  Film: Mere Huzoor
4. Nain-heen ko raah dikha prabhu
5. O duniya ke rakhwale, sun dard bhare mere lale  Film: Baiju Bawra
6. Teri duniya mein dil lagta nahi  Film: Bawre Nain
7. Tora man darpan kahlaaye  Film: Kaajal

8. Muze Tumse Kuch Bhi Na Chahiye

9. Ghungat Ke Pat Khol Tohe Piya Milenge
Non-Film Songs
1. Ku-ba-ku fail gai baat shanaasai ki (Ghazal)



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