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Bilahari is a rāgam in Carnatic music (musical scale of South Indian classical music). It is basically a raga of Bengal. It is a janya rāgam (derived scale) from the 29th melakarta scale Sankarabharanam. It is a janya scale, as it does not have all the seven swaras (musical notes) in the ascending scale. It is a combination of the pentatonic scale Mohanam and the sampurna raga scale Sankarabharanam.[1] It is a morning rāgam.[1][2]

ArohanamS R₂ G₃ P D₂ 
Avarohanam N₃ D₂ P M₁ G₃ R₂ S

Structure and LakshanaEdit

Ascending scale with shadjam at C, which is same as Mohanam scale
Descending scale with shadjam at C, which is same as Sankarabharanam scale

Bilahari is an asymmetric rāgam that does not contain madhyamam or nishādham in the ascending scale. It is an audava-sampurna rāgam (or owdava rāgam, meaning pentatonic ascending scale).[1][2] Its ārohaṇa-avarohaṇa structure (ascending and descending scale) is as follows:

The notes used in this scale are shadjam, chathusruthi rishabham, antara gandhara, panchamam and chathusruthi dhaivatham in ascending scale, with kakali nishadham and shuddha madhyamam included in descending scale. For the details of the notations and terms, see swaras in Carnatic music.

This rāgam also uses kaisiki nishadham (N2) as an external note (anya swara) in the descending scale. Hence it is considered a bhashanga rāgam, a scale with notes external to the parent scale.[1][2]

Popular CompositionsEdit

There are many compositions set to Bilahari rāgam. Here are some popular kritis composed in Bilahari.

Related rāgamsEdit

This section covers the theoretical and scientific aspect of this rāgam.

Scale similaritiesEdit

  • Mohanam has a symmetric pentatonic scale, with the notes same as the ascending scale of Bilahari. Its ārohaṇa-avarohaṇa structure is S R2 G3 P D2 S : S D2 P G3 R2 S
  • Mohanakalyani is a rāgam which has the prati madhyamam in descending scale (descending scale of Kalyani) in place of the shuddha madhyamam. Its ārohaṇa-avarohaṇa structure is S R2 G3 P D2 S : S N3 D2 P M2 G3 R2 S
  • Garudadhvani is a rāgam which has the ascending and descending scales interchanged, in comparison with Bilahari. Its ārohaṇa-avarohaṇa structure is S R2 G3 M1 P D2 N3 S : S D2 P G3 R2 S

Desakshi is a raga which is similar to Bilahari. The arohana remains the same, while the sampoorna avarohana has Kaishiki Nishada in place of Kakali Nishada.


  1. ^ Alternate notations:
    • Hindustani: S R G P D 
    • Western: C D E G A C
  2. ^ Alternate notations:
    • Hindustani:  N D P M G R S
    • Western: C B A G F E D C


  1. ^ a b c d Ragas in Carnatic music by Dr. S. Bhagyalekshmy, Pub. 1990, CBH Publications
  2. ^ a b c Raganidhi by P. Subba Rao, Pub. 1964, The Music Academy of Madras