Tana and Riri

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Tana and Riri is an Indian story about two girls born around 1564, who were asked to sing in the court of Akbar.[1] The story has become part of Gujarati folk culture.[2]

The twins were from a northern town known as Vadnagar near Visnagar in the state of Gujarat.

The legend[edit]

When Akbar's court singer, maestro Tansen's preceptor died, he sang the raag "Deepak". The effect of singing this raag is said to be that the singer starts feeling an incurable heat in his/her body. When Tansen was affected by the burns of the Deepak raag, he roamed around the whole of India. Finally the commander in chief of their army, Amjadkhan, came to Vadnagar and found out about the two sisters Tana and Riri who were proficient singers and could cure Tansen (expert of raag dipak) by singing raga Malhar. When they were asked to sing at Akbar's court, they refused to come since it was their vow as Nagars only to sing in front of the village deity's idol. Instead they committed suicide by drowning in a well. They chose to do this rather than to refuse, which would have caused a war-like situation in their town. Later when Akbar came to know of it he apologised to their father and asked Tansen to develop a new genre of pieces named in honor of Tana-Riri.

The villagers who feared attack by Akbar's army, got converted to Banias now known as Dashanagar.


A memorial has been erected in Vadnagar to honour Tana-Riri.

Tana-Riri Music Festival is organised every year by Government of Gujarat in their dedication.[3][4]


  1. ^ Desai, Anjali H. (2007). India Guide Gujarat. India Guide Publications. p. 226. ISBN 9780978951702. 
  2. ^ Khan, Iqtidar Alam (1999). Akbar and his age. Northern Book Centre. p. 264. ISBN 9788172111083. 
  3. ^ "Setting of a new Guinness book world record at Tana Riri festival in Vadnagar". DeshGujarat News from Gujarat. 10 November 2016. Retrieved 11 February 2017. 
  4. ^ "Tana Riri festival opens in Vadnagar, north Gujarat". DeshGujarat News from Gujarat. 21 November 2015. Retrieved 11 February 2017.