Voices along the Ganges : Chants & Folklores

Before commencing any further, a small ‘statutory‘ warning. Please do not blame me if you find the links to the mp3 files in my posts to be dead, sooner or later. I do not know of a site that has hosted it’s music files for more than a few years. The web is abundant with dead mp3 links. Already many of the songs that I had put in my previous posts have been removed by their host servers, and visitors on my blog have been sending me frantic complaints.

Amusingly mp3 files are like orphan kids, living on the streets, forever yearning for a permanent abode. They are more often than not, shunned after a few days of shelter offered by a kind soul. Ironically mp3 files are the most sought after but also the most hounded after files, always being chased by copyright laws. At first loved, then hated and feared by the webmasters, mp3 files are almost treated like live bombs amidst peace loving net-citizens. So don’t be surprised, if you wake up one fine morning and find the links not working anymore and the files gone forever.

Continuing our journey along the holy river of Ganges, we arrive at Benares (Varanasi), the holiest city of the Hindus. The significance of Benares lies not only in the fact that it is considered so holy, but in the fact that it embodies the Hindu philosophy of death. Death for the Hindus is just one step forward in the endless cycle of birth and rebirth. And believers come to Benares to die or to cremate their departed relatives, believing that Lord Shiva himself whispers words of salvation into the ears of the dead here.

Benares – Nirgun Pad : (Download)

Benares – Hori in Raga Mishra Kafi : (Download)

Benares – Birha : (Download)

These words of salvation, Hindus believe, free their souls from the cycle of birth and rebirth, granting them moksha. Nowhere else do death and life coexist so closely as they do in Benares. Boatmen row, beggars beg, bathers bathe, and pilgrims pray.

The largest tributary to the Ganges is the Ghaghara, which meets it before Patna, in Bihar, bearing much of the Himalayan glacier melt from Northern Nepal. The Gandak, which comes from near Kathmandu, is another big Himalayan tributary. Other important rivers that merge with the Ganges are the Son, the Gomti which flows past Lucknow, and the Chambal made notorious by the ravines in its valley which are noted for lawlessness and banditry (including the infamous Phoolan Devi).

Patna – Pachra Chant : (Download)

Patna – Kilona (Chant to a Child) : (Download)

.. more Voices along the Ganges »

The journey along the river Ganges will continue…

Enjoy !!



  1. Rajalakshmi Iyer said,

    October 23, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    Hi Rajesh ,

    Just wanted to drop you a note to say Hello and to thank you for all the lovely music you have shared on esnips .

    I found Pt. Channulal Mishra on your page and cannot thank you enough 🙂 I love his voice and his artistry and given that his CDs are so rare, it was especially kind of you to share : thank you !

    I am just back in Bangalore after 10 days in Banaras , where I went and met Pt.Channulal Mishra himself in person . I had the happy fortune of spending 2 hours with him one-to-one and talk philosophy and music with him and collected CDs directly from him 🙂

    I was planning to organize a concert in Bangalore and Panditji has agreed to come , sometime in January . Given your love for music , I was wondering if I could brainstorm with you a bit to use this opportunity to create a bit of Banaras in Bangalore .

    I am a complete novice in this area and would appreciate your viewpoint .

    Thanks ! I’ve left you a PM on esnips with my contact info . Look forward to hearing from you .


  2. sachin said,

    December 1, 2008 at 11:44 pm

    hi there
    i am back again…. i have just finishing hear a beautiful rendition from ustad sarahang……… humne saiyyan.thanks again for letting us hear such beautiful gems……

    i just want to ask you about one of the ‘nautankis’ you included in your one of the 3 posts on songs along ganges. it is nautanki from patna. may i know something the singer??? from where did you get this??? if you have more folk from UP and bihar plz upload it

  3. indianraga said,

    December 2, 2008 at 2:56 pm


    The ‘nautanki’ that you have mentioned is not from Patna but Kanpur, sung by an unknown singer. If you are an old movie buff you will notice its uncanny resemblance to a song in a hindi movie ‘Mujhe Jeeno Do’ starring Sunil Dutt and Waheeda Rehman. Sunil Dutt played a dacoit in the ravines of river Chambal, and Waheeda Rehman, his lover sings this particular song (Nadi Naare Na Jao Shyam Paiyyan Padoon). Kanpur is one of the major cities around the Chambal river.

    All the songs in my ‘Voices along the Ganges’ series are field recordings.

  4. Cristobal said,

    December 18, 2008 at 8:04 pm

    My name is Cristobal from Chile, really thaks for the blog…

  5. April 6, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    hi i chanced upon this blog as i was looking for something else….. gosh i didn’t know such music ever existed …. i luv it …….as u have mentioned all these songs are field recordings i must add its stupendous stuff….AMAZING!!!!! i am fortunate to have come across this.

  6. priyanka said,

    August 8, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    I loved bowsing and listening to ganges songs specially from bihar …..simply superb and fabulous..I was wondering how do u do all these with so much of efforts…thanking for all this will not be enough at all

  7. indianraga said,

    August 8, 2009 at 5:36 pm


    I am lucky to have assembled a large collection of music running through various genres. Some of these are very rare field recordings. This is my way of sharing them with the world.

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