Ragam is the Outcome of the factors of Arohana and Avarohana. Arohana is the ascending order of the swaras such as S-R-G-M-P-D-N-S and avarohana is the descending order of the swaras such as S-N-D-P-M-G-R-S. The combination of swara groups that produce sound moving up and down, within the Sruti boundaries is called RAGAM.


An important aspect in Carnatic music is the Janaka Ragas or Melakartha ragas. They are 72 in number. The 72 Melakartha ragas are formed by the three classifications of swaras R-G-M-D-N, namely

  • Rishabha Gandhara;
  • Madhyama;
  • Dhaivatha;
  • Nishada

Rishaba Gandhara Varieties - 6

  • Suddha Rishabam
  • Chathursruthi Rishabam
  • Shatsruthi Rishabam
  • Suddha Gandharam
  • Sadharana Gandharam
  • Anthara Gandharam

Madhyama varieties - 6

  • Suddha Madhyamam
  • Prathi Madhyamam

Dhaivatha Nishada Varieties – 6

  • Suddha Dhaivatham
  • Chatursruthi Dhaivatham
  • Shastuthi Dhaivatham
  • Suddha Nishadam
  • Kaisiki Nishadam
  • Kakali Nishadam

If the above classification are multiplied the 72 Melakartha ragas are formed i.e., 6x2x6 = 72.

Out of these 72 Melakartha ragas, the first 36 ragas called “Suddha Madhyama” Melakartha ragas and the other 36 are called “Prathi Madhyama” Melakartha ragas. These 72 Melakarthas are grouped into 12 chakras. The first 36 Suddha Madhyama Melakartha ragas have 6 chakras, namely (1) INDU; (2) NETHRA; (3)AGNI;(4)VEDA;(5)BANA;(6)RUTHU. The second 36 Prathi Madhyama Melakartha ragas have 6 chakras namely (1) RISHI; (2) VASU; (3)BRAHMA; (4) DISI; (5) ADITYA.