Learn Mid-Night Raag Malkauns

Raag Malkauns Specs:

Thaat: Bhairavi
Aarohi: 'n S g m d n S'
Amrohi: S' n d n d m g m g S 'n S
Vadi: m
Samvadi: S
Pakard: 'n S; g m g S; 'n S 'd 'n 'd 'm; 'd 'n S;
Time: 9 pm – 12 am
Zaat: Audav – Audav

Malkauns is one of the oldest Raags of the North Indian Classical music. It is a very popular Raag and has been sung by many eminent Classical Music artists. The nature of this Raag is serious but wonderfully melodious to hear. You will understand what I am saying if you hear this Raag. You will have a wonderful experience that you will cherish forever. The instrument that best express the royal character of the Raag is Sarod and the flute rejoices the melancholy. The singer while singing this Raag gets so engrossed that he forgets his surroundings. According to Dr. Sarita Pathak Yajurvedi, Assistant Professor, Department of Music, Bharati College, University of Delhi, this Raag is very good for meditation. However great expertise is required to express and conjure the temperament of Malkauns Raag.

The origin of this Raag is Thaat Bhairavi because there is g d n. Bhairavi thaat has r g d n. As r is not there in this Raag so it has only g d n Sur. In this Raag, R and P are Varjit. The meaning is that these two Sur are omitted in this Raag. So there are only 5 Sur in Arohi i.e, S g m d n and 5 Sur in Amrohi i.e, S' n d m g. The main Sur or Vadi here is m. The next important Sur or Samvadi is S.

The best time to sing this Raag is mid-night when there is silence all around and you can absorb the true essence of this Raag. Even though serious and silent in nature, this Raag is very sweet and attracts and mesmerizes you. According to Pandit Harish Chandra Srivastav, meend is pivotal in Malkauns Raag: g S, S m. Also Sur Vistar is very important in Malkauns Raag. While singing this Raag, you will find that there is smoothness in the movement between one Sur to another. The Taal used in this Raag is Teen Taal.

The main Sur-Sangatis are:

  1. 'd 'n S m, g m g S, g m g S
  2. m g, mg S
  3. G m, g n S'
  4. S' n d n d m

The Nyas Sur i.e. the ending Sur of Raag Malkauns are S g m. Malkauns Raag is elaborated equally in all the three Saptaks: Udara, Mudara and Tara. As P is varjit, so while singing with a Tanpura, it is necessary to tune the chords to S and m. Many khayal, small and big, Dhrupad, Dhamar and Tarana are based on this Raag but Thumri is not sung in this Raag. Raag Chadrakauns is similar to Malkauns Raag. Just changing n to N makes it Chadrakauns Raag.


  1. S' d 'n S, m, mg, m g m g S, 'n g S
  2. S, 'd 'n 'd, 'n 'n g S, S, S g m g S, 'd 'n S m, 'g S g S
  3. S g m, m m g, S g m, 'd 'n S - 'n S g - S g m – m - g m d - m, dg m S, 'd 'n S - 'n S

As you hear so often, this Raag is very old and that Raag is very old. But in case of Malkauns, this is seriously OLD!!! Meaning it dates back several thousand years. It’s even thought of by some as the original 5 Sur Audav Raag. The etymology comes from Sanskrit words Mala and Kaushika, which suggests that it may mean either necklace or garland of snakes if you take literal translation. Or may suggest someone who has no fear of danger. Urdu speakers might refer to as La-Khouf. Today’s young generation might refer to as “Dabang”. Yes, I said it!

Aadha Hai Chandrama Raat Aadhi Aay Sur Ke Panchi Aay
Ankhiyan Sang Ankhiyan Lagi Aaj Man Tarpat Hari Darshan Ko Aaj
Pag Ghungharu Baandh Meera Nachi Abida Paween – Aaj More Ghar
Dede Kangna Kabhi Kaha Na Kisi Se
Piya Bin Tarsat Nain

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