Alladiya Khan

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Alladiya Khan
Birth name Ghulam Ahmad Khan
Born (1855-08-10)10 August 1855
Uniara, Rajasthan, India
Origin Atrauli, Uttar Pradesh
Died 16 March 1946(1946-03-16) (aged 90)
Bombay, Maharashtra, India
Genres Dhrupad, Dhamar , Khayal,
Occupation(s) singer
Years active 1870–1944

Alladiya Khan (Hindi: अल्लादिया ख़ान; 10 August 1855 – 16 March 1946) was an Indian classical singer, known as "Gaan Samraat" (Emperor of Music). He is also known as "Gauri-Shankar" i.e. Mount Everest of the Indian Classical music. Khansaheb founded the Jaipur-Atrauli gharana.[1] "Heaven knows how many singers were fortunate to have sat at the feet of Ustad Alladiya Khan, founder of the Jaipur-Atrauali gharana."[2] rooted in Dagar Bani. He is also recognized for his revival and creations of many rare ragas.[3]

Early life and background[edit]

Alladiya Khan was born in Uniara, a small village in the present Indian district of Tonk (Rajasthan), then under the native state of Jaipur, on 10 August 1855, in a family of musicians. Though his father Ahmed Khan died early in Alladiya's life, his uncle, Jehangir Khan (of Jaipur), taught him dhrupad for 5 years and then khyal for another 8 years.

Singing career[edit]

Alladiya Khan served in the court of various kings of Rajasthan, including that of Amlata. He sang so well and so much for the kings that he nearly lost his voice due to hours of riyaaz (practice). While trying to regain his voice he developed a new and profound style of singing by which he could sing without compromising the purity of raga but the passage, taans, and creativity of singing the raga. Later he settled down in Kolhapur as the court musician of the local king, Shahu Maharaj. In 1922 he moved to Mumbai after the king died. With his distinguished reputation, Ustad Alladiya Khan became a gem among the many masters in Mumbai. He taught many disciples and sang in many mehfils in Mumbai to which his reputation as an academic grew.

His autobiography, as narrated to his grandson Azizzudin Khan Sahab, is available in English translation, as My Life, with an introduction by Amlan Dasgupta and Urmila Bhirdikar, published by Thema, Kolkata, 2000.[4]


Alladiya Khan was acknowledged for his creation and resurrection of many complex Raags such as Nat Kamod, Bhoop Nat, Kaunsi Kanada, Sampoorna Malkauns, Basanti Kedar, Shuddha Nat, Malavi, Savani Kalyan, DhavalaShree and many more.

Many of these Raags were sung in the Havelis in northern Rajasthan, where Khansahab grew up. From Haveli sangeet tradition, Khansahab brought many of the Raags in the realm of Live Concerts and also created Raags and Bandishes rooted in them. One of the Raags he resurrected was Raag Basanti Kanada. Few of the many Haveli sangeet dhrupads which he made into bandishes were the famous Raag Nayaki Kanada Bandish "Mero Piya Rasiya" and Bihagda Bandish "Ae Pyaari pag hole". "Khan Saheb had never allowed his voice to be recorded."[4] "Alladiya Khan lived in the pre-recording era. So there is no trace of him other tha the marvelous compositions and compound ragas that he left behind. As for Kesarbai, I am discovering that there are people who secretly recorded her and have carefully preserved her music."[3]


Khansahab's major disciples were Ustad Azmat Hussain Khansahab (his elder brother (Ustad Khairat Ali Khan)'s son)[5] his own younger brother, Ustad Haider Khan, and his own sons, Ustad Manji Khansahab and Ustad Bhurji Khansahab and his grandson Azizuddin Khansahab, whom he handed over most of the repertoire of rare Ragas. Khansahab's brother helped grow the Jaipur-Atrauli Gharana after Khansahab's death. Ustad Manji Khan, the second son*, died early in 1937, so it was Ustad Bhurji Khan, the youngest son, who passed on the Gayaki of his father to others worthy of it. Mallikarjun Mansur and Gaan-Yogini Dhondutai Kulkarni are among noted disciples of Bhurji Khan.

Apart from family, Khansahab's initial disciples were Bhaskarbuwa Bakhale, Kesarbai Kerkar Govindrao Shaligram , Dhondutai Kulkarni and in succeeding generation came protégés like, Mallikarjun Mansur and Padmavati Shaligram[6]

In Mumbai, Alladiya Khan saheb's prime disciples were Kesarbai Kerkar, Although he also gave 'talim' (tutelage) to Mogubai Kurdikar for a brief period. Nivruttibuwa Sarnaik received his guidance in his childhood for almost a year.

  • Alladiya Khan's eldest son Badeji ; could not pursue singing as a profession because of health reason. Hence, Ustad Azmat Hussain Khansahab,(his elder brother(Ustad Khairat Ali Khan)'s son) and Manji [or Manjhi] means middle, hence 2nd of 3 sons and Bhurji khan saheb, his youngest son took forward the tradition.

Alladiya Khan died in Bombay on 16 March 1946.[7][8]


The Annual Ustad Alladiya Khan Music Festival is celebrated in Mumbai and Dharwad each year, where several singers and musicians perform, giving homage to Alladiya Khan.[9]

In 2005, the 150th birth anniversary of the musical legend was celebrated.

In 2007, the story of 'Ustad Alladiya Khan', and his noted disciple, Kesarbai Kerkar, was the subject of Namita Devidayal's debut novel, The Music Room.[3] Gaan Yogini Dhondutai Kulkarni's book ' Sur Sangat' (from Rajhans Publications), is rich source of authentic information on this Gharana.

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ All Time Great Classical Singers, Retrieved 22 April 2017
  2. ^ Where talent matters, The Times of India newspaper, Published 26 June 2006, Retrieved 22 April 2017
  3. ^ a b c Ambassadors of their art, The Hindu newspaper, Updated 20 July 2011, Retrieved 22 April 2017
  4. ^ a b Profile of Alladiya Khan on The Hindu newspaper, Published 20 March 2000, Retrieved 22 April 2017
  5. ^, Retrieved 22 April 2017
  6. ^ Profile of Alladiya Khan, Retrieved 22 April 2017
  7. ^ Nayar, S. (1989). Bhatkhande's Contribution to Music: A Historical Perspective. Popular Prakashan. p. 41. ISBN 9780861322381. Retrieved 2015-07-12. 
  8. ^ Devidayal, N. (2009). The Music Room: A Memoir. St. Martin's Press. p. 187. ISBN 9781429921060. Retrieved 2015-07-12. 
  9. ^ Annual Ustad Alladiya Khan Music Festival Times Of India, April 19, 2003, Retrieved 22 April 2017

External links[edit]