Raga Durga


This week’s expert is Bhavani Ram and she chose Raga Durga for today. She opined, “Raga Durga is one the finest ragas. It’s a soothing raga that can bring out the emotions from the singer and of the listeners. It creates a soothing atmosphere, which is neither too reflective nor playful. That’s the beauty of this raga.”

History: There are no specific details available about the birth of this raga, just that it is associated with Goddess Durga and adopted from the South Indian Classical Music’s Shudh Saveri. Shrimati Kesarbai Kerkar was the one who popularized this raga.

Nuances: This raga is sung during the second prahar of night 9:00 PM. to midnight (nishitha). Hailing from the Bilawal Thaat, this raga invokes beautiful emotions within us, which is neither deep nor playful. It doesn’t render the audience into a reflective or a melancholic state like some ragas do. Khayals, bandishes and bhajans are composed so beautifully based on this raga that the listeners practically sway and dance to the melodic compositions. The aaroh and avaroh of this raga is Sa, Re, Ma, Pa, Dha, Sa and Sa, Dha, Pa, Ma, Re, Dha, Sa. And all are shuddh swaras.

Bollywood and Raga Durga: This raga is a melodious one and music composers have a wonderful time composing songs on it. Some examples of Bollywood songs based on this raga are:

Chanda re mori patiya le ja… Banjaran (1960)

Raat ka sama jhoome Chandrama… Ziddi (1964)

Tum na jaane kis jahan me kho gaye… Sazaa (1951)

Brindavan ka Krishna Kanhaiya… Miss Mary (1957)

Duniya rang rangeli Baba… Dharti Mata (1938)

Hum bewafa hargiz na the… Shalimar (1978)

Sawan ka mahina pawan kare sor… Milan (1967)

Bhavani’s Take: Raga Durga according to me is a powerful raga and is associated with Goddess Durga who vanquishes all evil and sorrows that bind us in our day-to-day life. When I render a bhajan or a khayal based on Raga Durga, I go into a trance and my whole being transcends to a sublime plateau. For me, it’s not just a raga, but it defines the sublime and power.


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