Karauli , Rajasthan is delighted to be a part of Palace Day in collaboration with Centre for Historic Houses, Jindal Global University . As the descendants of Lord Krishna, and the heads of Yaduvansh the Karauli family are considered an integral part of the Brajmandal and even a millennium after Raja Jayendra Pal, the last Hindu ruler of Mathura sent his son Raja Bijai Pal away while he stayed back to defend Mathura, the rituals and music of Karauli have always been inextricably associated with Lord Krishna.
The devotional fervour, a quotidian part of life for everyone from the rulers to the farmers and tribespeople ensured that Karauli was home to an exuberant folk music culture. Much like the divine play or leela of Lord Krishna which on a philosophical level refers to the cyclic nature of time, creation and dissolution, the musical styles transformed with the passing of the year-with the change of seasons and the festivals that accompanied each change. In Karauli the Holi festivities actually begin from Basant Panchami, or the festival of spring, as the instruments of Holi sangeet, the dhap and the harmonium are worshipped commencing the two months of Hori songs culminating with the actual festival of Holi.
Hori, or the devotional songs of Holi range in themes from the divine mischief of Lord Krishna, the love between Radha and Krishna and the very act of creation itself. The Hori songs are in Braj bhasha (in fact the term Hori-with the lilting burr transforming the ‘l to ‘r’ is part of Braj dialect) and are sung in Raag Kaafi. Interestingly two famous Maharajas of Karauli were also composers of holi bhajans. Raja Chandrasen composed several well-known bhajans under the pen name of Chandra Sakhi- and was revered as a Bhakti saint. More recently, in the early 1900s, Maharaja Bhanwar pal and his guru Maujnath ji composed a compilation of verses called Bhanwaresh vaani celebrating Nirguna philosophy.
Music was, and continues to be a vibrant community activity with each community gathering in the ‘bageechis’ or public gardens that were granted by the Karauli State to play their distinct styles .