Gujarat is famous for its musical traditions, encompassing elaborate classical as well as earthy folk music. The state has been home to many renowned musicians. Narsinh Mehta was a Vaishnav poet belonging to Junagadh who created many hymns and devotional songs. Legend has it that Narsinh Mehta was spiritually in communion with Lord Krishna when he sang the Raag Kedar. He is associated with the famous hymn, Vaishnav Janto, one of Mahatma Gandhi's favourites. Spiritually uplifting music has been part of Gujarat's notable musical traditions.

Music Evolution

Music in Gujarat has a long history and wide diversity. The state is known for different forms of music, appropriate for different occasions. Some of the major types of music include lullabies, festival songs, wedding songs, devotional music, and Rannade. The Vaishnavs, devotees of Lord Vishnu, were creators of temple music. The Gadhavis and Charans, on the other hand, are folk artistes. The tradition of music in these communities is passed down on a hereditary basis. This has helped preserve the traditional form of the music. In the context of classical music, Gujarat has contributed to naming of ragas such as Bilaval, Sorathi, Gujaqri Todi, Lati, Ahiri and Khambavati. In the context of folk music, Gujarat's contribution, besides different styles of singing, include varied musical instruments. These instruments include wind instruments, string instruments, and percussion. Wind instruments such as Bungal, Pava, and Turi and string instruments such as Ektaro, Jantar, and Ravan Hattho are contributions from Gujarat. This region has also gifted folk music with drums and percussion items such as Zanz and Manjira.  Gujarat has a long and rich tradition of classical and folk music. Music can rightly be said to form part of life in Gujarat, and most auspicious occasions have some kind of music associated with it. Even dedication to god is shown with a devotional hymn.


The Garba and Raas are dances associated with Lord Krishna, who lived at Gokul during his childhood. Lord Krishna is famously depicted in pictorial representations holding a flute, which he is said to have learned during his childhood. Another art form associated with him is the drama Bhavai. Gujarat is also famous for its vibrant dance forms, be it the Dangi, Siddi, Tippani, or Padhar. The Gaekwad rulers of Baroda were patrons of music, and their court featured singers and musicians such as Ustad Hazrat Inayat Khan, Ustad Abdul Karim Khan, Ustad Faiyaz Khan, and Pandit Omkarnath Thakur. The All India Music Conference was first held in Baroda in 1914 under the patronage of Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad.


Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad, a great admirer of Indian Classical Music, established a music school in Baroda. Ustad Moula Bux received assistance from the Maharaja for establishing the Academy of Indian Music. Today, this institution is part of the Faculty of Performing Arts at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda. The Gyan Shala was first set up in 1886, and is today known as the Department of Indian Classical Music (Vocal-Tabla). The Department of Indian Classical Music is the largest in the Faculty of Performing Arts.

Modern Today

Modern forms of music have also become popular in Gujarat, particularly among the youth. Hip Hop, Pop, Jazz and other styles of Western music have been appreciated, and Indian musical traditions from other states, such as Punjabi Bhangra, have also caught the fancy of young people. As New Year celebrations and other occasions feature many types of music, artists come flocking to the larger cities such as Ahmedabad to participate in musical events.

Home to old and new musical traditions, Gujarat is indeed a delightful place for lovers of music and performing arts.

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