Varali or Varaali (pronounced varāḷi) is a rāgam in Carnatic music (musical scale of South Indian classical music). It is a janya rāgam (derived scale) from the 39th melakarta scale Jhalavarali. It is a janya scale, as it is said to have a vakra scale (zig-zag notes) in the ascending scale.[1]

ArohanamS G₁ R₁ G₁ M₂ P D₁ N₃ 
Avarohanam N₃ D₁ P M₂ G₁ R₁ S

It is a vivadi rāgam. It is the 4th in the list of 5 Ghana rāgams (Nata (raga), Gaula, Arabhi and Shree ragam being the others).[2] In olden times, this rāgam was called Varati,[2] and is said to be more than 1300 years old.[3] It is with this name that it is referred in old musical texts like Sangita Makarandha and Sangita Ratnakara.[3]

Structure and LakshanaEdit

Varali is an asymmetric rāgam due to the vakra prayoga in ascending scale. It is a vakra-sampurna-sampurna rāgam (sampurna meaning containing all 7 notes).[1][2] Its ārohaṇa-avarohaṇa structure (ascending and descending scale) is as follows:

The notes used in this scale are shadjam, shuddha rishabham, shuddha gandharam, prati madhyamam, panchamam, shuddha dhaivatam and kakali nishadham. The madhyamam used is said to be slightly higher than the prati madhyamam, and is also called as chyuta panchama madhyamam (also referred as Varali madhyamam).[3] For the details of the notations and terms, see swaras in Carnatic music. Some also believe that it can be sung as S R1 G1, and this phrase also appears in many compositions, Kanakanaruchira being one of the most popular.


It is believed that Varali, when taught directly by a teacher to a student, will strain their relationship or could cause ill effects to one or the other.[2] The ragam is said to be learnt by listening and self-learning.

Popular compositionsEdit

There are many compositions set to Varali rāgam. Many compositions in praise of Lord Ganesha are set to this raga.[2] Here are some popular kritis composed in this ragam.


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


  1. ^ a b Raganidhi by P. Subba Rao, Pub. 1964, The Music Academy of Madras
  2. ^ a b c d e Ragas in Carnatic music by Dr. S. Bhagyalekshmy, Pub. 1990, CBH Publications
  3. ^ a b c Summary of the Raganubhava session on Varali on 13 February 2000