Indian religious music: 4 melodies that reach the soul
Indian religious music is an essential part of spirituality in the subcontinent. We present four rhythms that you can listen to and enjoy inside a temple.
In the past, Hindu temples had hosted the Indian classical dance schools. Bharatnatyam or Orissi were represented inside the temple in honor of the gods. Dance has left sacred space, but music continues to play a leading role in Indian temples. We recommend four places to get in touch with the gods, letting yourself be carried away by the rhythm of Indian sacred music.
Kīrtana . The Golden Temple of Amritsar is a true magnet. The beauty of its walls covered with gold and the flow of pilgrims compete with spiritual songs. Three musicians recite the sacred verses of Guru Grant Sahib accompanied by the table and the harmonium from sunrise to the closing ceremony, with which the oldest copy is put in a safe place to spend the night. Hypnotic singing is repeated in all gurudwaras. However, sitting down to enjoy its hypnotic rhythm at sunset on the marble of the Golden Temple is unparalleled.
QAWWALI. The letters of the Sufi teachers speak of love and metaphors to understand this heterodox current of Islam with great acceptance in India. Through devotional singing it is intended to reach Allah, although Sufism is open to all religions. The qawwali sessions are held periodically in the Dargah, or tombs of the Sufi saints, Mughal architecture buildings of a touching beauty. A group of musicians sing the love lyrics improvisedly while the faithful, at the door of the dargah, listen attentively. Fateh’s tomb in the palace complex of Fatehpur Sikri is the perfect setting to listen to it in an incomparable setting.
TIBETAN SONG . The mantra recitation of Tibetan monks is very present in the localities of the Himalayas. The Dharamsala monasteries are a faithful reflection of the ancestral practices of this original form of Buddhism led by the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama has its official residence and monastery in the small mountain town of McLeod Ganj. Around it many monastic communities have been established and all of them repeat the songs and it is not surprising that they invite the traveler to share the ceremony having tea.
BHAKTI SONGS. In Hinduism , everything revolves around music. It is not strange to find music in temples, especially in Krishna, where groups of women meet to celebrate God. In Udaipur , the famous Jagdish temple always congregates faithful who sing to Vishnu around noon. In the ghats, stairs to the ritual bath that enter the river Ganges in Rishikesh or Benares you can attend a real concert that brings us closer to the gods during the aarti, or evening ceremony. Bhakti is a practice that emphasizes the devotee’s love for God through music, so the faithful actively participate. Do not hesitate to join, you will be welcome.