Kafi (raga)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The raga Kafi is an important raga of Hindustani classical music. This raga corresponds to Kharaharapriya in Carnatic music.

Pandit Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande’s classification of the Ragas has ten different logical groups, consisting of various closely related ragas; Kafi is one of them. The raga Kafi is the principal one, which essentially describes the nature of the Kafi. It is not quite an ancient raga. According to Pandit Bhatkhande, the name of the raga first appears in the Raga Tarangini of Lochana Pandit, who lived in the Mithila district around the fifteenth century (common era).

Raga Kafi has a direct lineage with the folk music of India. Folk music in Tappa, Hori, Dadra, Kirtan and Bhajans from different parts of India have been composed in this raga form for ages.

Modern day[edit]

Nowadays, quite a few variations of Kafi exist. Contamination with vivadi swaras are judiciously being used to increase the listening pleasure. This sort of forced contamination has given rise to Mishra Kafi. Hence, a pure form of Kafi is seldom heard in recent performances.



Kafi is a sampoorna-sampoorna or heptatonic raga, with komal (soft) Gandhar(g) and Nishad(n).


Sa Re ga Ma Pa Dha ni Sa

(ga and ni are komal swars)


Sa ni Dha Pa Ma ga Re Sa. (ga and ni komal)

Vadi & Samavadi[edit]

Pancham(P) is the vadi swara and shadja (sa) is the samavadi swara.


A typical improvisation of Kafi starts as nD,PmgR *, SS RR gg mm P, P m g R, g m P g - R.

The phrases below and termination in R are characteristic of the raga. S R g M P D n. S, RgMP, M P D (M)g


The typical chalan of the raga can be illustrated as follows:

S S R R g g M M P - - D M P g R R n D n P D M P S n D P M G R S.

M P D D n S - S R g R S N D S - S R S n D n D P M P D P g - R - R n D n P D M P S n D P M g R S

Organization & Relationships[edit]

Various distinguished ragas, such Bhimpalasi, Bageshree, Bahar, and Vrindavani Sarang are associated with this raga. Few important tributaries of this raga are Sindhura, Barwa, Neelambari, and Piloo.


गाने/बजाने का समय (Time)[edit]



The raga is suitable to be performed during any season. Specially Hindi Month Fagun (Indian Festival Holi) time, February Last to March


The principal rasa for this raga is sringara.

Important recordings[edit]

Ulhas Kashalkar, Raga Kafi (Concert), 2001;
Shobha Gurtu, Thumri, Raga Kafi, 1987;
Siddheshwari Devi, Thumri, Raga Kafi, 1983;
Debashish Bhattacharya, Raga Mishra Kafi, 1996;


1. Hindustani Sangeet Paddhati and his concise commentary, A Comparative Study of Some of the Leading Music Systems of the 15th, 16, 17th, & 18th Centuries by Pandit Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande.

External links[edit]