What are Thaat and Pakad of ragas

Thaat and Pakad help us understand the structure of raga and the way of singing respectively. In this tutorial, we will learn about them and see some examples to understand them in greater detail.

What are Thaats 

Thaat is a theoretical concept that helps us group ragas of similar sur and nature. 

In its basic form Raga is a sequence of sur or swaras of Hindustani classical music. It provides a loose framework for weaving an emotional experience for the audience. 

Hindustani Classical Music has many Ragas and it takes years for the musicians to learn to master all of them. Knowing all the ragas and memorizing their constructs is a very difficult exercise. 

In the early twentieth century, Pandit Bhatkande – one of the most influential authorities in Indian Classical music history, studied ragas of all the gharanas and classified them into 32 groups called Thaats. Over time these were further condensed to 10 Thaats.

Thaat is aaroh of all the surs that feature in the ragas in the collection of that particular thaat.

To know more about aaroh and avroh check out our post on the subject by clicking here.

What is Janak Raga or Ashray Raga

A Thaat is named after the raga that resembles the sequence of sur in the Thaat. Janak Raga or Ashray Raga is the the raga after which the thaat is named .

Let us take the example of Bilawal Thaat. It is named after the raga Alhaiya Bilawal. So, Alhaiya Bilawal raga would be the Janak raga of Bilawal thaat.

Characteristics or rules of thaats

Below are some of the characteristics or rules that must be followed by all the thaats. None should flout these rules and one must know them in order to identify as well as get correct understanding of the specific thaat. These rules are as follows:

  1. Thaat have seven notes or surs – no more and no less
  2. It is always formed as aaroh (ascending order) of surs
  3. It is never sung. The ragas in it are sung. Thus thaats are not don’t have the emotional moods that ragas have
  4. They cannot have both the Vikrit and Shudh variation of the same sur. E.g. They can only have either Ni (Komal) or Ni (Shudh) in it and never have both of them in the same thaat.

Summary of all the Ten Thaats of Indian Classical Music

Below is a summary of all the ten thaats and some of the ragas which belong to them.

ThaatSurs in Thaat Janak RagaJanya Ragas (Other Ragas)
BilavalSa Re Ga ma Pa Dh Ni SAAlhaiya BilavalHansdhwani, Deskar, Shankara, Bihaag
KhamajSa Re Ga ma Pa Dh ni SAKhamajTilak kamod, Des, Tilak Kamod, Jaijawanti, Khambavati
KafiSa Re ga ma Pa Dh ni SAKafiBageshri, Dhanashree, Bhim Palasi, Pilu, Megh Malhar
AsavariSa Re ga ma Pa dh ni SAAsavariAsavari, Desi, Darbari, Jaunpuri
BhairaviSa re ga ma Pa dh ni SABhairaviMalkauns, Bilaskhani Todi, Bhupali Todi
KalyanSa Re Ga Ma Pa Dh Ni SAYaman (was previously known as Kalyan raga)Yaman, Bhupali, Hindol, Kedar, Kamod
MarvaSa re Ga Ma Pa Dh Ni SAMarvaMarwa, Puriya, Bhibas, Sohoni, Bhatiyaar
PoorviSa re Ga Ma Pa dh Ni SAPoorviPuriya Dhanashree, Gauri, Shree, Paraj, Basant
TodiSa re ga Ma Pa dh Ni SAMiyan ki TodiGujari Todi, Madhuvanti, Multani
BhairavSa re Ga Ma Pa dh Ni SABhairavAhir Bhairav, Ramkali, Gunkari, Megharanjani

What is Pakad and how is it different from Thaat

Though, Thaat gives information about the surs in the raga, this information is half useful since we need to know the way of singing a raga in order to be able to sing it. 

Many similar ragas in a Thaat are sung very differently and sound very different. 

Raga is a loose framework for singing and the way to sing is encapsulated in what we call Pakad of each raga.

A Pakad of a raga tells us about key surs and their lose sequence in very brief.

For example, Khamaj Thaat has 2 ragas Desh raga and Tilak Kamod raga. 

The surs or notes in Khamaj Thaat are Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dh Ni(Komal). Thus both Desh and Tilak Kamod ragas have these surs in them but they are sung very differently.

To understand the concept of Thaat and Pakad using Khamaj Thaat and its two ragas – Desh raga and Tilak Kamod raga, watch the video below. 

Video : Tutorial on Thaat and Pakad with examples

In the video I explain the basics of Thaat and Pakad. Then I go on to explain the concepts using the surs of the two famous songs Vande Mataram and Aaoge Jab Tum Sajana which are the famous songs  of Desh raga and Tilak Kamod raga respectively. 


Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *