Kafi Raag Introduction

The raga Kafi is an important raga of Hindustani classical music. This raga corresponds to Kharaharapriya in Carnatic music.

Pandit Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande’s classification of the Ragas has ten different logical groups, consisting of various closely related ragas; Kafi is one of them. The raga Kafi is the principal one, which essentially describes the nature of the Kafi. It is not quite an ancient raga. According to Pandit Bhatkhande, the name of the raga first appears in the Raga Tarangini of Lochana Pandit, who lived in the Mithila district around the fifteenth century
(common era).

Raga Kafi has a direct lineage with the folk music of India. Folk music in Tappa, Hori, Dadra, Kirtan and Bhajans from different parts of India have been composed in this raga form for ages.

Modern day

Nowadays, quite a few variations of Kafi exist. Contamination with vivadi swaras are judiciously being used to increase the listening pleasure. This sort of forced contamination has given rise to Mishra Kafi. Hence, a pure form of Kafi is seldom heard in recent performances.



The typical chalan of the raga can be illustrated as follows:

S S R R g g M M P – – D M P g R R n D n P D M P S n D P M G R S.

M P D D n S – S R g R S N D S – S R S n D n D P M P D P g – R – R n D n P D M P S n D P M g R S


Samay (Time)

Evening and the first part of Night.


The raga is suitable to be performed during any season. Specially Hindi Month Fagun (Indian Festival Holi) time, February Last to March


The principal rasa for this raga is shringar.

Prahar 5 (6 pm - 9 pm)
Important Anuvaadi
Avaroha S’-n-D-P-m-g-R-S
Tanpura TuningP
Other Characteristics Shuddh Ga, shuddh Ni and komal Dha are vivadis but are often used for embellishment.
Performance time is not strictly defined. Can be performed at any time of the day or night.
Similar RaagasGara
Popular Film Songs 1. Biraj mein holi khelat nandlaal
Film: Godan
Taala: Keharva
Music Director:
2. Gairon pe qaram apnon pe sitam
Film: Aankhen
Singers: Lata Mangeshkar
Taala: Dadra
Music Director: Ravi
Poet: Sahir Ludhiyanvi
Non-Film Songs