Asampurna Melakarta

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The Asampurna Melakarta (transliterated as Asaṃpūrṇa Mēḷakarta) scheme is the system of 72 ragas (musical scales) originally proposed in the 17th century by Venkatamakhin in his Chaturdanda Prakasikha.[1] This proposal used scales with notes that do not conform to the sampurna raga system. Skipped notes or repeated notes, etc., were used in some of the ragas.[1] Some of the ragas of any Melakarta system will use Vivadi swaras (discordant notes). The original system is supposed to avoid such ill-effects and was followed by the Muthuswami Dikshitar school. The naming of the original system followed Katapayadi system.[1] Muthuswami Dikshitar's compositions use the name of these ragas in the lyrics of the songs and is still referred to by those names even in radio / TV announcements of these songs.

Later Govindacharya came up with a more mathematical and regular system of 72 ragas, which is currently considered fundamental ragas (musical scales) in Carnatic music (South Indian classical music). These melakarta ragas were sampurna ragas. Some of the names of the ragas had to be modified to fit into the Katapayadi system.

Rules for Melakarta[edit]

In the Asampurna Melakarta system, there is no set rule for the ragas in contrast to the currently used system of Melakarta ragas.[1][2] Some ragas though are the same in both systems (like 15 - Mayamalavagowla and 29 - Dheerasankarabharanam), and in some cases the scales are same, while names are different (like 8 - Janatodi and Hanumatodi, 56 - Chamaram and Shanmukhapriya).[1][2][3]


The mela system of ragas was first propounded by Raamamaatya in his work Svaramelakalanidhi c. 1550. He is considered the father of mela system of ragas. Later Venkatamakhin expounded in the 17th century in his work Caturdandi Prakaasikaa a new mela system known today as melakarta.[1] He had made some bold and controversial claims and defined somewhat arbitrarily 6 swaras from the known 12 semitones, at that time, to arrive at 72 melakarta ragas. The controversial parts relate to double counting of R2 (and similar swaras) and his exclusive selection of madyamas for which there is no specific reasoning (also known as asampurna melas as opposed to sampurna ragas). However, today the 72 melakarta ragas use a standardized pattern, unlike Venkatamakhin's pattern, and have gained significant following. Govindhacharya is credited with standardization of rules and giving a different name for such standard ragas, which have different structure but same swaras as that proposed by Venkatamakhin.[1] The scales in this page are those proposed by Govindhacharya.


The 72 melakarta ragas are split into 12 groups called chakras, each containing 6 ragas. The ragas within the chakra differ only in the dhaivatham and nishadham notes (D and N), as illustrated below. The name of each of the 12 chakras suggest their ordinal number as well.[2][4]

  • Indu stands for the moon, of which we have only one - hence it is the first chakra.
  • Netra means eyes, of which we have two - hence it is the second.
  • Agni is the third chakra as it denotes the three divyagnis (fire, lightning and Sun).
  • Veda denoting four Vedas is the name of the fourth chakra.
  • Bana comes fifth as it stands for the five banas of Manmatha.
  • Rutu is the sixth chakra standing for the 6 seasons of Hindu calendar.
  • Rishi, meaning sage, is the seventh chakra representing the seven sages.
  • Vasu stands for the eight vasus of Hinduism.
  • Brahma comes next of which there are 9.
  • The 10 directions, including akash (sky) and patal (nether region), is represented by the tenth chakra, Disi.
  • Eleventh chakra is Rudra of which there are eleven.
  • Twelfth comes Aditya of which there are twelve.

Melakarta table[edit]

The 72 melakarta ragas[1][5] can be divided into two parts: suddha Madhyamam and prati Madhyamam ragas. See Katapayadi sankhya for more information on how to derive the various swaras of a raga from its melakarta number. See swaras in Carnatic music for explanation of the notations like R1, G2, N2, etc.

'Shuddha Madhyamam ragas'
No. Raga Arohana Avarohana Sampurna raga
1. Indu Chakra
1 Kanakambari S R₁ M₁ P D₁   N₁ D₁ P M₁ G₁ R₁ S Kanakangi
2 Phenadyuti S R₁ M₁ P D₁ P N₂   N₂ D₁ P M₁ G₁ R₁ S Ratnangi
3 Ganasamavarali S R₁ M₁ P D₁ N₃   N₃ D₁ P M₁ G₁ R₁ S Ganamurti
4 Bhanumati S R₁ M₁ P D₂ N₂   N₂ D₂ P M₁ G₁ R₁ S Vanaspati
5 Manoranjani S R₁ M₁ P D₂ N₃   N₃ D₂ P M₁ G₁ R₁ S Manavati
6 Tanukeerti S R₁ M₁ P N₃   N₃ D₂ N₃ P M₁ G₁ R₁ S Tanarupi
2. Netra Chakra
7 Senagrani S R₁ G₂ R₁ M₁ G₂ M₁ P N₁ D₁   N₁ D₁ P M₁ G₂ M₁ G₂ R₁ S Senavati
8 Janatodi S R₁ G₂ M₁ P D₁ N₂   N₂ D₁ M₁ P G₂ R₁ S Hanumatodi
9 Dhunibhinnashadjam S R₁ G₂ M₁ P D₁ N₃   N₃ D₁ P M₁ G₂ R₁ S Dhenuka
10 Natabharanam S G₂ M₁ P N₂ D₂ N₂   N₂ D₂ N₂ P N₂ P M₁ G₂ G₂ R₁ R₁ S Natakapriya
11 Kokilaravam S R₁ M₁ M₁ P M₁ P D₂ N₃   N₃ D₂ D₂ P M₁ G₂ R₁ S Kokilapriya
12 Rupavati S R₁ M₁ P    N₃ D₃ N₃ P M₁ G₂ S Rupavati
3. Agni Chakra
13 Geyahejjujji S R₁ M₁ G₃ M₁ P D₁   N₁ D₁ P M₁ G₃ R₁ S Gayakapriya
14 Vativasantabhairavi[1] (Dhativasantabhairavi[2][3]) S R₁ G₃ M₁ P D₁ N₂   N₂ D₁ M₁ G₃ M₁ P M₁ G₃ R₁ S Vakulabharanam
15 Mayamalavagowla S R₁ G₃ M₁ P D₁ N₃   N₃ D₁ P M₁ G₃ R₁ S Mayamalavagowla
16 Toyavegavahini S R₁ G₃ M₁ P D₂ N₂   N₂ D₂ P M₁ G₃ R₁ S Chakravakam
17 Chayavati S R₁ G₃ M₁ D₂ N₃   N₃ D₂ P M₁ G₃ R₁ S Suryakantam
18 Jayashuddhamalavi S R₁ G₃ M₁ P N₃   N₃ D₃ N₃ P M₁ G₃ R₁ S Hatakambari
4. Veda Chakra
19 Jhankarabhramari S R₂ G₂ M₁ P D₁ N₁ D₁ P D₁   N₁ D₁ P M₁ G₂ R₂ G₂ R₂ S Jhankaradhwani
20 Nariritigaula S G₂ R₂ G₂ M₁ N₂ D₁ M₁ N₂ N₂   N₂ D₁ M₁ G₂ M₁ P M₁ G₂ R₂ S Natabhairavi
21 Kiranavali S R₂ M₁ P D₁ P D₁ N₃   N₃ P D₁ P M₁ P G₂ R₂ S Keeravani
22 Sree S R₂ M₁ P N₂   N₂ P D₂ N₂ P M₁ R₂ G₂ R₂ S Kharaharapriya
23 Gourivelavali S R₂ G₂ S R₂ M₁ P D₂   N₃ D₂ P M₁ G₂ R₂ S Gourimanohari
24 Viravasantam S R₂ M₁ P N₃ D₃ N₃   N₃ P M₁ M₁ R₂ G₂ S Varunapriya
5. Bana Chakra
25 Sharavati S M₁ G₃ M₁ P D₁ N₁ D₁   N₁ D₁ P M₁ G₃ R₂ S Mararanjani
26 Tarangini S R₂ G₃ P D₁ N₂ D₁ P D₁   D₁ P G₃ R₂ S R₂ G₃ M₁ G₃ R₂ S Charukesi
27 Sowrasena S R₂ G₃ M₁ P D₁ N₃   N₃ D₁ P M₁ G₃ R₂ G₃ S Sarasangi
28 Harikedaragaula S R₂ M₁ P N₂   N₂ D₂ P M₁ G₃ R₂ S Harikambhoji
29 Dheerasankarabharanam S R₂ G₃ M₁ P D₂ N₃   N₃ D₂ P M₁ G₃ R₂ S Dheerasankarabharanam
30 Nagabharanam S R₂ G₃ M₁ P N₃ D₃ N₃   N₃ P M₁ G₃ M₁ R₂ S Naganandini
6. Rutu Chakra
31 Kalavati S R₃ G₃ M₁ P D₁ N₁ D₁ P D₁   N₁ D₁ P M₁ R₃ G₃ M₁ R₃ S Yagapriya
32 Ragachudamani S M₁ R₃ G₃ M₁ P N₂ N₂   N₂ D₁ P M₁ M₁ R₃ S Ragavardhini
33 Gangatarangini S R₃ G₃ M₁ P D₁ N₃   N₃ P D₁ M₁ M₁ G₃ M₁ R₃ S Gangeyabhushani
34 Bhogachayanata S R₃ G₃ M₁ P N₂ N₂   N₂ D₂ N₂ P  N₂ P M₁ R₃ S Vagadheeswari
35 Shailadeshakshi S M₁ G₃ P D₂   N₃ D₂ S N₃ P M₁ R₃ S Shulini
36 Chalanata S R₃ G₃ M₁ P D₃ N₃   N₃ P M₁ R₃ S Chalanata
'Prati Madhyamam ragas'
7. Rishi Chakra
37 Saugandhini S G₁ R₁ G₁ M₂ P D₁   N₁ D₁ P M₂ G₁ R₁ S Salagam
38 Jaganmohanam S R₁ G₁ M₂ P D₁ N₂   N₂ D₁ P M₂ G₁ R₁ S Jalarnavam
39 Dhalivarali S G₁ R₁ G₁ M₂ P D₁ N₃   N₃ D₁ P M₂ G₁ R₁ S Jhalavarali
40 Nabhomani S G₁ R₁ M₂ P D₂ P N₂   N₂ D₂ P M₂ G₁ R₁ S Navaneetam
41 Kumbhini S G₁ R₁ G₁ M₂ P N₃ D₂ N₃   N₃ D₂ P M₂ G₁ R₁ S Pavani
42 Ravikriya S G₁ R₁ G₁ M₂ P N₃ D₃ N₃   N₃ P M₂ G₁ R₁ S Raghupriya
8. Vasu Chakra
43 Girvani S R₁ G₂ M₂ P D₁ N₁ D₁ P D₁   N₁ D₁ P M₂ G₂ R₁ S Gavambhodi
44 Bhavani S R₁ G₂ M₂ P D₁ P N₂   N₂ D₁ P M₂ G₂ R₁ S Bhavapriya
45 Shivapantuvarali S R₁ G₂ M₂ P D₁ N₃   N₃ D₁ P M₂ G₂ R₁ S Shubhapantuvarali
46 Stavarajam S R₁ M₂ P D₂   N₂ D₂ P M₂ G₂ S Shadvidamargini
47 Sauviram S R₁ G₂ M₂ P D₂ N₃   N₃ D₂ M₂ G₂ R₁ S Suvarnangi
48 Jivantika S R₁ G₂ M₂ P D₃ N₃   N₃ P M₂ G₂ R₁ S Divyamani
9. Brahma Chakra
49 Dhavalangam S R₁ G₃ M₂ P D₁   N₁ P M₂ G₃ R₁ S Dhavalambari
50 Namadeshi S R₁ G₃ M₂ P D₁ N₂   N₂ D₁ P M₂ G₃ R₁ S Namanarayani
51 Kashiramakriya S G₃ R₁ G₃ M₂ P D₁ N₃   N₃ D₁ P M₂ G₃ R₁ S Kamavardani
52 Ramamanohari S R₁ G₃ M₂ P D₂ N₂   N₂ D₂ P M₂ G₃ R₁ S Ramapriya
53 Gamakakriya S R₁ G₃ M₂ P D₂ P   N₃ D₂ P M₂ G₃ R₁ S Gamanashrama
54 Vamshavati S R₁ G₃ M₂ P D₃ N₃   N₃ P M₂ G₃ R₁ S Vishwambari
10. Disi Chakra
55 Shamalam S R₂ G₂ M₂ P D₁   N₁ D₁ P M₂ G₂ R₂ S Shamalangi
56 Chamaram S R₂ G₂ M₂ P D₁ N₂   N₂ D₁ P M₂ G₂ R₂ S Shanmukhapriya
57 Sumadhyuti S R₂ G₂ M₂ P D₁ N₃   N₃ D₁ P M₂ G₂ R₂ S Simhendramadhyamam
58 Deshisimharavam S R₂ G₂ M₂ P D₂ N₂   N₂ D₂ P M₂ G₂ R₂ S Hemavati
59 Dhaamavati S R₂ G₂ M₂ P D₂ N₃   N₃ D₂ P M₂ G₂ R₂ S Dharmavati
60 Nishadham S R₂ G₂ M₂ P D₃ N₃   N₃ P M₂ G₂ R₂ S Neetimati
11. Rudra Chakra
61 Kuntalam S R₂ G₃ M₂ P D₁   N₁ D₁ P M₂ G₃ R₂ S Kantamani
62 Ratipriya S R₂ G₃ M₂ P D₁ N₂   N₂ D₁ P M₂ G₃ R₂ S Rishabhapriya
63 Gitapriya S R₂ G₃ M₂ P D₁ N₃   N₃ D₁ P M₂ G₃ R₂ S Latangi
64 Bhushavati S R₂ G₃ M₂ P D₂ N₂   N₂ D₂ P M₂ G₃ R₂ S Vachaspati
65 Shantakalyani S R₂ G₃ M₂ P D₂ N₃   N₃ D₂ P M₂ G₃ R₂ S Mechakalyani
66 Chaturangini S R₂ G₃ M₂ P D₃ N₃   N₃ P M₂ G₃ R₂ S Chitrambari
12. Aditya Chakra
67 Santanamanjari S R₃ G₃ M₂ P D₁   N₁ D₁ P M₂ R₃ S Sucharitra
68 Joti S R₃ G₃ M₂ P D₁ N₂   N₂ D₁ P M₂ G₃ S Jyoti swarupini
69 Dhautapanchamam S R₃ G₃ M₂ P D₁ N₃   N₃ D₁ P M₂ R₃ G₃ S Dhatuvardani
70 Nasamani S R₃ G₃ M₂ P D₂ N₂   N₂ D₂ P M₂ R₃ G₃ S Nasikabhushani
71 Kusumakaram S R₃ G₃ M₂ P D₂ N₃   N₃ D₂ P M₂ R₃ G₃ S Kosalam
72 Rasamanjari S R₃ G₃ S P M₂ P N₃ D₃ N₃   N₃ D₃ N₃ P M₂ P R₃ G₃ S Rasikapriya

Popular Melakarta scheme[edit]

Govindacharya learnt the 72 ragas scheme above of Venkatamakin and later proposed the symmetrical scales that is more in vogue today in terms of the official Melakarta scheme.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Shree Muthuswami Dikshitar Keerthanaigal, by A Sundaram Iyer, Music Book Publishers, Mylapore, Chennai
  2. ^ a b c d Ragas in Carnatic music by Dr. S. Bhagyalekshmy, Pub. 1990, CBH Publications
  3. ^ a b Raganidhi by P. Subba Rao, Pub. 1964, The Music Academy of Madras
  4. ^ South Indian Music Book III, by Prof. P Sambamoorthy, Published 1973, The Indian Music Publishing House
  5. ^ Pocket book of Melakarta ragas

External links[edit]