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Varanasi Music



Music is the soul of life. The oldest living city, Benaras has its own rich history that treasures Indian Classic Music. According to the Puranic tales Apsaras, Gandharvas and Kinnars lived in Varanasi and enriched this city with the treasure of music. Lord Shiva is the presiding deity of Varanasi and is also considered as the lord of dance and music.Going back to history one can easily find the numerous instances and examples of various dance, drama and music evolving in varanasi. The literature of ancient and medieval period also point out the great tradition of music in varanasi. Bhakti movement in the medieval period , great saints like Chaitanya ,Vallabhacharya , Surdas , Kabeer , Meera and tulsi made rich contributions to the musical treasure of varanasi. Their bhajan are popular even today.

Dhrupad music primarily devotional in theme and content was the royal music during the regime of Govind Chandra in varanasi . Drupad encourage some other forms of music such as Dhamar, Hori and Chaturang. Over a period of time, the Maharajas and Nawab of Kashi such as Meer Rustam , Maharaj Prabhu Narayan Singh, also gave support to the music by organizing various musical festivals like Jhoola, Jhoomar, Kajri, Birha, Dangal, Gulaband and by introducing the musicians like Waris Ali, Akbar Nisar Khan Sadiq Ali and Ali Bux .They are considered among the jewels of Kashi Darbar. Thus, a galaxy of great musicians made Banaras a great center of music. By the period of time the city also witnesses the development of Banarasi Thumri, Dadra, Chaiti, Hori, Bhairavi, Kajri, Tarana, Ghato and much more. Besides these major streams, lesser-known forms like Tirwat, Sadra, Khamsa, Lavni, Chaturang, Sargam, Ragmala, Kirtan, Qauwali, Kathagayan, Bhajan and Ramayan also developed at Varanasi. It has now become one of the best places to listen and learn Indian music. Varanasi is also associated with many great instrumentalists like Sehnai maestro Ustad Bismillah Khan and world famous Sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar has earned wide acclaim throughout the world. Other instrumentalists who have left their mark are Madan Mohan, Bhola Nath, Pathak, Mannuji, Amarnath Mishra, Brindwan Das, Ramdeo and Subodh Babu. Tappa form of singing also became popular in Varanasi and its main exponents were Shori Miyan, Gammu Khan and Shade Khan.
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