Understanding Raganga Ragas: A Unique Musical Tradition

Raganga ragas hold a significant place in the realm of Indian classical music. These ragas, a set of 72 in total, possess a distinct identity and are characterized by their unique musical structure and characteristics. In this article, we delve into the origins, features, and documentation of Raganga ragas, shedding light on their significance in the musical landscape.

Definition and Origin

The term “Raganga raga” was first introduced in the Raga Lakshana, an appendix to the Chaturdandi Prakasika, a treatise on music theory authored by Venkatamakhi. It is attributed to Muddu Venkatamakhi, who listed and classified these 72 ragas in the Raga Lakshana. Raganga ragas are distinct from other musical frameworks and have their own set of musical rules and characteristics.

Distinguishing Characteristics

Raganga ragas differ from the well-known Melakarta ragas in terms of their structure and musical attributes. Although they may share some svarasthanas (notes) with Melakarta ragas, their Lakshana (musical characteristics) are unique and set them apart. Each Raganga raga has its own melodic patterns, ornamentations, and emotional expression, contributing to its individuality and charm.

Documentation in Sangeeta Sampradaya Pradarshini (SSP)

Recognizing the significance of Raganga ragas, Subbarama Dikshitar undertook the task of systematically documenting these ragas in his notable work, Sangeeta Sampradaya Pradarshini (SSP). In the SSP, Dikshitar meticulously detailed the musical structure and nuances of each Raganga raga. Furthermore, he included compositions by Muddusvami Dikshitar in 68 out of the 72 Raganga ragas, enriching the repertoire associated with these ragas.

Bhashanga Ragas: A Subset of Raganga Ragas

Within the domain of Raganga ragas, we find a subset known as Bhashanga ragas. Muddu Venkatamakhi introduced the classification of Bhashanga ragas, which are characterized by having one or more swaras (notes) that are not present in their parent Raganga raga. These ragas exhibit unique melodic structures and offer musicians a diverse range of musical possibilities.

In conclusion, Raganga ragas represent a distinctive and cherished tradition within Indian classical music. Their origin, separate from the Melakarta system, and their detailed documentation in the SSP by Subbarama Dikshitar, underline their importance in preserving and exploring the rich musical heritage of India.


  1. Raganga Malika | Guruguhaamrta
  2. What are Bhashanga ragas? – The Hindu
  3. Asampurna Melakarta – Wikipedia


What is the origin of Raganga raga?

Answer: Raganga raga is a Carnatic music raga that originated from the 16th-century Telugu poet Tallapaka Annamacharya’s composition.

What is the structure of Raganga raga?

Answer: Raganga raga is a pentatonic raga with the notes Shadjam, Rishabham, Madhyamam, Panchamam, and Dhaivatham.

What is the mood of Raganga raga?

Answer: Raganga raga is a peaceful and serene raga that evokes feelings of devotion and tranquility.

What are some popular compositions in Raganga raga?

Answer: Some popular compositions in Raganga raga include Annamacharya’s “Manasa Sancharare,” Tyagaraja’s “Entharo Mahanubhavulu,” and Muthuswami Dikshitar’s “Sri Raghukula Nayaka.”

What are the characteristic features of Raganga raga?

Answer: Raganga raga is characterized by its slow tempo, simple structure, and emphasis on devotional lyrics.

What instruments are typically used to play Raganga raga?

Answer: Raganga raga is typically played on instruments such as the veena, violin, and flute.

When is Raganga raga typically performed?

Answer: Raganga raga is often performed during religious ceremonies, concerts, and other special occasions.

What are some other ragas similar to Raganga raga?

Answer: Some other ragas similar to Raganga raga include Mohanam, Kalyani, and Shankarabharanam.