Indian Music

Indian Music

Music is supposed to be the soul of life. By virtue of being the oldest living city, Benaras has its own rich history and treasure of music. According to mythology, when Renu (son of Vishwamitra) and Mahagovind founded Kashi (Varanasi), they also brought with them the Aryan traditions and the Vedic culture. Lord Shiva is the presiding deity of Varanasi and is also considered as the lord of dance and music. According to the Puranic tales the Apsaras, Gandharvas and Kinnars lived in Varanasi and made the musical tradition of Varanasi a rich one.

The origins of Indian classical music can be found from the oldest of scriptures, part of the Hindu tradition, the Vedas. It has also been significantly influenced by Indian folk music, and Hindustani music has been influenced by Persian music.

Music is supposed to be the soul of life. By virtue of being the oldest living city, Benaras has its own rich history and treasure of music. According to mythology, when Renu (son of Vishwamitra) and Mahagovind founded Kashi (Varanasi), they also brought with them the Aryan traditions and the Vedic culture. Lord Shiva is the presiding deity of Varanasi and is also considered as the lord of dance and music. According to the Puranic tales the Apsaras, Gandharvas and Kinnars lived in Varanasi and made the musical tradition of Varanasi a rich one.

Going back to history, we find numerous instances and examples of dance, music and drama evolving in Varanasi.

Over a period of time, the Maharajas of Kashi or Varanasi also gave patronage to music and that resulted in making Varanasi a great center of music. Here, it’s important to note the contribution of Maharaj Prabhu Narayan Singh, who gave patronage to Bahadur Shah’s court Musicians like Waris Ali, Akbar Ali, Nisar Khan, Sadiq Ali and great Ashiq Ali Khan. Ali Mohammad and Ali Bux, the sons of Basat Khan, were considered the “jewels” of Kashi Darbar. Thus, a galaxy of great musicians made Banaras a great center of music. Varanasi saw the development of Banarasi Thumri, Dadra, Chaiti, Hori, Bhairavi, Kajri, Tarana, Ghato and much more. Besides these major streams, lesser-known forms like Tirwat, Sadra, Khamsa, Lavni, Chaturang, Sargam, Ragmala, Kirtan, Qauwali, Kathagayan, Bhajan and Ramayan also developed at Varanasi.

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