Posted on: 16 April 2013

RAGAMALA Paintings are a series of illustrative paintings from medieval India based on Ragamala or the 'Garland of Ragas', depicting various Indian musical modes, Ragas. They stand as a classical example of the amalgamation of art, poetry and classical music in medieval India.

Ragamala paintings were created in most schools of India painting, starting in the 16th and 17th centuries and are today named accordingly, as Pahari Ragamala, Rajasthan or Rajput Ragamala, Deccan Ragamala, and Mughal Ragamala.

In these painting each raga is personified by a colour, mood, a verse describing a story of a hero and heroine (nayaka and nayika), it also elucidates the season and the time of day and night in which a particular raga is to be sung; and finally most paintings also demarcate the specific Hindu deities attached with the raga, like Bhairava or Bhairavi to Shiva, Sri to Devi etc. The paintings depict not just the Ragas, but also their wives, (raginis), their numerous sons (ragaputra) and daughters (ragaputri).

The six principal ragas present in the Ragamala are Bhairava, Dipika, Sri, Malkaunsa, Megha and Hindola and these are meant to be sung during the six seasons of the year – summer, monsoon, autumn, early winter, winter and spring.

- Wiki

A Leaf with two Ragamala illustrations: BHAIRUN (BHAIRAV) RAGINI AND BAIRADI RAGINI, India, Deccan, Hyderabad, circa 1760

Gouache heightened with gold on paper, a double-sided leaf, each page with text above the miniature in red and black nast’aliq script on cream paper, red borders
recto painting: 24.2 by 18cm
verso painting: 25.8 by 18.1cm
leaf: 36.2 by 26cm


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Prof. S.K.Ramachandra Rao, has edited a book titled "Sri-Tattva-Nidhi (of Krishna Raja Wodeyar III of Mysore) (Vol-1). It was published by Kannada University, Hampi in 1993. However, in reality it was on Ragamala Paintings as depicted in " Svarachudamani" authored by the Mummadi Krishna Raja Wodeyar. Similar set of Ragamala Paintings are also found in Sri Tattva-Nidhi.

Raja Chandra , is the book in English? Can you please tell me where can I get it from? Thanks. Write to them and ask for the English version : SRI TATTVA=NIDHI of Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar Edited by Prof. S.K.Ramachandra Rao and published by Prasaranga, Kannad University, HAmpi-583211, Karnataka.