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Bihag is a Hindustani classical raga.


Writing about the musical theory of Indian classical music is fraught with complications. First of all, there have been no set, formal methods of written notation. Indian music is an aural tradition, and therefore writing is not an essential part of attaining jñāna (knowledge).

Arohana and Avarohana[edit]


'Ni Sa Ga ma Pa Ni Sa'


Sa' Ni (Dha) Pa Ma Pa Ga ma Ga Re Sa

Vadi and Samavadi[edit]


The Vadi note is Ga.


The Samavadi note is Ni.

Pakad or Chalan[edit]

Bihag uses both shuddha Ma (ma) and teevra Ma (Ma).

It has the pakad Pa Ma Pa Ga ma Ga.

Both R and D are never used in ascent, but always on the way down. That is,

Pa Ni Dha Pa Ma Pa Ga ma Ga Re Sa


Ni Sa Ni Dha Pa Ma Pa Ga ma Ga Re Sa

Organization and relationships[edit]

Related ragas: Maru Bihag, Bihagra.

Bihag is usually assigned to the Thaat Bilaval, but if Teevra Madhyam is given more importance, Bihag seems to be more akin to Kalyan Thaat.


Behavior refers to practical aspects of the music. It is complicated to talk about this for Hindustani music since many of the concepts are fluid, changing, or archaic. The following information cannot be accurate, but it can attempt to reflect how the music existed.

Samay (Time)[edit]

Bihag is played in the night (second quarter of night). The mood of the raag is celebratory as well as romantic, making it a common raag sung especially on occasions of marriage.


Certain ragas have seasonal associations.

Historical information[edit]


The real origin can be traced back to pure classical raagas widely prevalent in the 16th century, and in many folk songs in the Vaishnava period (14th-18th century). It is used in many songs of Tagore and in various Bengali and north Indian compositions.

Important recordings[edit]

In film[edit]

A portion of the alap of raga Bihag may be seen in a scene from Satyajit Ray's 1958 film Jalsaghar, played by the surbahar player Wahid Khan, from 29:50 to 31:58. Dil cheez kya hai from Umrao Jaan contains elements of Bihag.[1]

The song 'Hamare Dil Se Na Jana" from the film 'Udan Khatola' is based on raga Bihag. Even the song Tere Sur Aur Mere Geet [2] from the movie 'Goonj Uthi Shehnai' released in 1959 is also based on Raga Bihag where Shehnai Maestro Ustad Bismillah Khan first lent his immortal shehnai-performance in film music.

Song "Malargal Kaettaen" from "Oh Kadal Kanmani" sung by Chitra & A.R. Rahman is based on raga Bihag.


  • Bor, Joep (ed). Rao, Suvarnalata; der Meer, Wim van; Harvey, Jane (co-authors) The Raga Guide: A Survey of 74 Hindustani Ragas. Zenith Media, London: 1999.

External links[edit]