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Natabhairavi (pronounced naṭhabhairavi) is a rāgam in Carnatic music (musical scale of South Indian classical music). It is the 20th melakarta rāgam in the 72 melakarta rāgam system. It corresponds to the C minor scale of western music system.

Natabhairavi corresponds to the Asavari thaat of Hindustani music.[1][2] In the Muthuswami Dikshitar school this rāgam is called Nārīrītigowla.[3] Natabhairavi is known to be a rāgam that incites feelings of grandeur and devotion in the listeners.

Structure and Lakshana[edit]

Natabhairavi scale with shadjam at C

It is the 2nd rāgam in the 4th chakra Veda. The mnemonic name is Veda-Sri. The mnemonic phrase is sa ri gi ma pa dha ni.[1] Its ārohaṇa-avarohaṇa structure is as follows (see swaras in Carnatic music for details on the notations used):

(this scale uses the notes chathusruthi rishabham, sadharana gandharam, shuddha madhyamam, shuddha dhaivatham, kaisiki nishadham)

It is a sampoorna rāgam - rāgam having all 7 swarams. It is the shuddha madhyamam equivalent of Shanmukhapriya, which is the 56th melakarta.

Asampurna Melakarta[edit]

Nārīrītigowla is the 20th Melakarta in the original list compiled by Venkatamakhin. The notes used in the scale are the same, but the scales have vakra prayoga (zig-zag usage of notes in the ascending and descending scale).[3]

Janya rāgams[edit]

Natabhairavi has a number of popular janya rāgams (derived scales) such as Bhairavi, Anandabhairavi, Saramati, Jaunpuri, Hindolam (sometimes Hindolam is also associated as a Janya of Hanumatodi) and Jayanthasree. See List of janya rāgams for a full list of Natabhairavi's janya rāgams.

Popular compositions[edit]

Sri Valli Devasena pathe is a popular composition in Natabhairavi, composed by Papanasam Sivan. Parulaseva by Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar is another well known composition in this rāgam. Upacaharamu jeseva, composed by Thyagaraja is also popular.

Muthuswami Dikshitar's composition Sri Neelotpalanayike is set to Nārīrītigowla.

Related rāgams[edit]

This section covers the theoretical and scientific aspect of this rāgam.

Natabhairavi's notes when shifted using Graha bhedam, yields 5 other major melakarta rāgams, namely, Kalyani, Sankarabharanam, Hanumatodi, Kharaharapriya and Harikambhoji. For further details and an illustration of Graha bhedam of this rāgam refer Graha bhedam on Sankarabharanam.

Even though Natabhairavi has quite evenly spaced swara sthanas (pitch positions, notes) like the other 5 in this group, it has not found as much importance in concerts. One is likely to find Kalyani, Todi, Sankarabharanam and Karaharapriya as the main ragam in concerts, more often than Natabhairavi by a big count.


  1. ^ a b Ragas in Carnatic music by Dr. S. Bhagyalekshmy, Pub. 1990, CBH Publications
  2. ^ Raganidhi by P. Subba Rao, Pub. 1964, The Music Academy of Madras
  3. ^ a b Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar Keertanaigal by Vidwan A Sundaram Iyer, Pub. 1989, Music Book Publishers, Mylapore, Chennai

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55 news items

The Hindu
Thu, 07 Jun 2012 03:18:45 -0700

The 20th melakarta ragam of the Carnatic genre Natabhairavi finds its counterpart in Asaavari, the sixth thaat (parent raga) in Hindustani music scheme. Occurring in the second place in the Veda chakram (fourth corresponding to chaturveda), the ...

The Hindu

The Hindu
Thu, 27 Aug 2015 05:03:20 -0700

Before he proceeded to choose raga Lathangi the submain of the concert, he sang Srivalli Devasenapathe of Papanasam Sivan in raga Natabhairavi. The Krithi for raga Lathangi was Mariveredikkevvaru of Pooch Srinivasa Iyengar. The raga part, neraval at ...

Times of India

Times of India
Tue, 18 Aug 2015 00:39:41 -0700

Songs like Sangeethame which is Natabhairavi ragam and Krishna Kripa Sagaram which is a Charukesi ragam are enjoyed by music lovers even today. This movie won National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment. It even ...

The Hindu

The Hindu
Wed, 26 Aug 2015 22:56:24 -0700

After 'Sree Mathrubhutham', a Dikshitar kriti in Misra chapu tala and Kannada raga, Vivek sang the not-so-common 'Sree Valli Devasenapathe' of Papanasam Sivan in Natabhairavi, explaining that this was a favourite raga of M.L.Vasanthakumari. Another ...

The Hindu

The Hindu
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 02:52:30 -0800

The next composition in Natabhairavi sounded like a normal RTP. The 'jhod' and 'jhala' on the guitar was an approximation of the tanam. Conversely, the flautist presented a regular tanam. The ragamalika in the pallavi featured, among others, Neelambari ...
The Hindu
Thu, 19 Feb 2015 05:07:30 -0800

While singing Papanasam Sivan's “Srivalli” in raga Natabhairavi and Dikshitar's “Kanjadalayatakshi” in Kamalamanohari, the sisters brought out the emotive contents of the lyrics to the fore. Tyagaraja's fast-paced “Bantureeti” in raga Hamsanadam added ...
The New Indian Express
Wed, 07 Jan 2015 11:18:45 -0800

In the end, the thillana in Raga Natabhairavi, composed by Veena Krishnamachary, brought out the rhythmic movements. The dance recital was sharp and precise, in addition to her sense of timing and footwork formation. Rarely does one come across such ...

Times of India

Times of India
Wed, 10 Dec 2014 10:33:45 -0800

The common man has, for long, sought to understand and enjoy the brilliance of classical music just like how a fortunate few do. However, for reasons more than one, their limited understanding of ragams and talams has made them consider the subject ...

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