Hindustani, Kafi


An oft-heard compound raga churned out of Bhim and Palasi, this has overshadowed both its Janak (parent) ragas. Mythically Krishna, the cowherd boy, played this sweet melody on his flute to give a return call to all his grazing cows and cowherd friends. As such this raga, exuding peace and assurance, is associated with homecoming and offers a vast canvas for improvisations. Its universal appeal has made it very popular in every genres of Indian music; so much so that Bhim and Palasi are almost extinct now. Bhimpalasi is also adopted by Carnatic stream as Bhimpalas.

Thhaat: Kafi

Jaati: Audav-Sampoorn (pentatonic ascent-heptatonic descent)

Vaadi:Madhyam (M)

Samvaadi: Shadja (S)

Swaras: Omits Rishabh ( R ) and Dhaivat (D) in ascent, sports Komal Ghandhar (g) and Nishaad (n), rest shuddh swarasAaroh (ascent): n. S g M P n S’(Western Notes: A# C D# F G A# C)

Avaroh (descent): S’ n D P M g, M g R S (Western Notes: C A# A G F D#, F D# D C)

Chalan (key phrases): n. S R n. S, P.n.S, S M, M g M P, P M P, g M P n D P, P n S’ n S’, M’g’R’S’, S’n D P, D M P, g, Mg R S

Time: Late afternoon (pre-sunset)


  1. Kramik Pustak Malika by Pandit V N Bhatkhande
  2. The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Music of India
  3. The Raga-ness of the Ragas by Deepak Raja

Web links:

  1. Ustad Abdul Karim Khan (vocal)
  2. Kishori Amonkar (vocal)
  3. Pandit Bhimsen Joshi (vocal)
  4. Pandit Ravi Shankar (sitar)
  5. Ashwini Bhide (vocal)

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