In the context of traditional bhajans of Bhaktas, a raga (rāg) is a melody or tune in which a bhajan is sung. The traditional bhajans of Bhaktas are sung in a variety of rāgs which consist of rāgs for a particular season or occasion and also rāgs for a particular time of day. Also, certain rāgs are reserved for special occasions.
The rāgs associated with a particular time of day are as follows:
After Sunrise (6AM to 8AM)
8 AM – 10 AM
10 AM – 12 Noon
12 Noon – Sunset
After Sunset (till Midnight)
Godi, Kānado, Kalyān, Kāfi, Kālero, Māru, Bihāg, Sorath, Sorath Deshi Fer
Panthido, Sāmeri, Pancham
Devgandhār Prabhāt, Prabhāt
For the evening bhajan sessions, there is a sequence of rāgs which are sung until midnight. These are known as bārmāsi rāgs which means rāgs for any month.
Now let’s look at the rāgs associated with season or occasions.
Spring season (Vasant, Holi, Dhuleti)
Nirgun Vasant, Sagun Vasant, Vasant Dhanāshri, Rang Rasiyo, Rāyaso, Dhamār, Garbi
Malār, Hindolā-ni Sāmeri, Rishikesh Sāmeri, Malār Chhappe, Hindolā-ni Kāfi, Hindolā-no Kālero, Hindolā-nu Māru, Sajani, Bihāg Fer
Bilāval, Āshāvari or Sārang during the procession; after cremation, Dhol-Mangal and then Charchari
Nāni Āshāvari, Moti Āshāvari, Sārang
The rāg vasant is associated with the spring season while rāg malār (or malhār) is associated with the rainy season. Rang rasiyo, rāyaso and garbi are sung on Dhuleti (the day after Holi). For Janmāshtami, there is a sequence of hindolā rāgs which leads to the rāg bihāg fer at midnight. For the kirtan sessions which are normally held during the day, the rāg is based on time of day. In the morning, the rāg will be āshāvari while in the afternoon, the rāg will be sārang.
Here we have given just a basic raga guide. Of course, there are many more rāgs which are still sung today.