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Raaga Time
Ragas are classified according to the day, night or seasons. This classification is strictly followed by Hindustani musicians.

Even in Carnatic music, ragas have been classified on the basis of time. There are ragas that can be sung at all times. They are called Sarvakalika ragas. Ragas like Chakravaha, Bhairavi, Kambhoji and Arabhi fall into the category of Sarvakalika Ragas.

Ragas like Bhupala, Revagupti, Bauli, Malayamarutha, Valaji and Desakshi are to be sung before the Sun rises. After the Sunrise , ragas like Bilahari, Kedaram and Dhanyasi are sung. These ragas are also known as Prabhat ragas. Asaveri is an afternoon raga. Sriraga and Madhyamavathy are mid-day ragas. Mukhari and Begada are afternoon ragas and Ragas akin to Vasantha, Natakurunji and Purvi-Kalyani are evening ragas.

Even ancient Tamil hymns like Thevaram, composed by the Nayanmars, are allotted specified time. These are classified as Pagal Pann (Day), Iravu Pann (Night) and Podupann (Common).

The ragas sound pleasant when they are sung at times specific to them. It is, however, not compulsory that these are sung at a particular time. They are, nevertheless, sure to enhance the positive results when sung at proper time.

In Hindustani music, the 24 hours of a day is divided into 8 praharas. One prahara consists of 3 hours, starting with dawn. The ragas are also sung on the basis of seasons. The Bahaar (Vasantha Ruthu) group of ragas is sung for the spring season. The Malhaar (Varsha Ruthu) group of Ragas is sung for Monsoon and Kaanarha group for late nights.

The Bahaar group consists of Ragas like Bahaar, Adhaana Bahaar, Sur Bahaar, Basanth Bahaar etc. The Malhaar group or the Monsoon melodies consist of Malhaar (Suddh), Megh Malhaar, Miyan Ki Malhaar, Meera Ki Malhaar, Sur Malhaar etc. The Kanhaara group or the night melodies comprise Darbari Kanahara, Hueseni Kanhaara, Abhoghee Kanhaara and Kanhaara.

The Hindustani ragas are also classified on the basis of the notes - Vadi and Samvadi. Vadi is the primary important note and Samvadi the next important note. The first Prahara ( 6-9 AM ) denotes the morning hours or the Ushahkaala. The Ragas belonging to the Kalyaan and Bilawal Thaats are sung during this time.

The second Prahara ( 9-12 AM ) denotes the forenoon or the Prabhaathakala. Ragaas like Bhairavee, Thodee, Asaavere and Kafi Thaats are best rendered during these hours. The third Prahara ( 12-3 PM ) denotes the afternoon or Poorvaanha.

The Kafi and Thodee Thaat ragas are sung this time. The fourth Prahara ( 3-6 PM ) denotes early evening or the Aparanha or the Poorvasandhya. Ragas of Porvee, Marwaa and Bhairav are chosen for singing at this hour.

The fifth Prahara ( 6-9 PM ) denotes the late evening or the Sandhyakala. Kalyan and Bilawal Thaats ragas are practiced this time. The sixth Prahara ( 9-12 PM ) denotes early night or the Poorva Ratri. Khamaj, Kafi Thaats Ragas are suited for this time. The seventh Prahara ( 12-3 AM ) denotes late night or the Apara Ratri. Asaveree and Bhairavee Grouped Ragas are sung during this time. Finally, the eighth Prahara ( 3-6 AM ) denotes pre-dawn or the Brahma Muhurtham. Poorvee, Marwaa, Bhairav and Bhairavi Thaats Ragas are most suitable for rendering during this hour.

The Hindustani ragas have been classified into 10 Thaats, similar to the Melakartha Ragas of the Carnatic music. Ragas like Bhairavi and Piloo can be sung at all times.

There was yet another raga rendered by Miyan Tansen in the Akbar’s Court. It is known as Deepak raga. Summer is regarded as the appropriate time for this raga. But it is supposed to set the singer aflame. Tansen was fortunately saved when he rendered this Raga, thanks to his quick-witted wife who sang the Malhaar Raag.

The relevance of time in rendering a raga is highlighted by Sarangadeva in Sangitha Ratnakara and Sangitha Makaranda of Narada.