The Bishnupur Gharana (otherwise spelt Vishnupur Gharana) is structure of singing that pursues the Dhrupad ritual of Hindustani music, one of the two Indian classical harmony forms. It initiated in Bishnupur (Bankura), West Bengal. The name of the town defines “city of Vishnu” in Bengali. In the early past, this region, known as Mallabhum was the residence of Malla Kings who were subservient to the Mughal Empire who were followers of Lord Vishnu and regulars of music. Bishnupur Gharana was formed in 1370 A. D. by the patronage of the Malla kings.Historians suggest that ‘Mallabhum’ had once been the enriching centre of Eastern India.It also has the feature of being the sole Gharana in West Bengal.
The gharana is supposed to have been set up in the 13th century, even though there is no notable proof to support this. In the 16th century, during the time in power of Mughal emperor Aurangazeb, islamic fervor was at its crest in the Mughal empire, and thus many musicians moved to the shelter of the Maharaja of Bishnupur who was a keen follower of the arts.
The purpose of this organization is not only to encourage this gharana worldwide, but also to endorse the aesthetic fashion of training through Guru Shisya Parampara all over the world.
This 250 years mature gharana believes that with time the approach of teaching should also modify, keeping the old spirit but using a much superior phenomenon. This is” VOCAL SCIENCE”, initiated in teaching By Gokul Nag.
Style of Singing
In this style, the artist shines in telling the beauty of the Raga during the alap. It is simple, devoid of grave, cumbersome decoration. It is free from complex play with the rhythm. Layakari is though allowed in Dhamar, another figure of vocalization. The Khayal of the Bishnupur School is noted for its sugary, lilting melody. It is festooned with the usual curios, which add variety to the harmonious presentation of the Raaga.
The dhrupad of the Bishnupur gharana exercises shuddha dhaivata in raga vasanta, a stroke of komal nisada in the downhill notes of Raga bhairava. It has discarded kadi madhyam (proper center) in raga ramakeli, and proposes suddha dhaivata in raga puravi and Raga Lalita and komal nisad in raga vehaga. It has also inculcated its own character considering rhythm. It was this gharana which found the custom of Sawal-Jabab in Hindustani Music.
Its origins and the expansion have led to an immense openness in the education and evolution contained by this gharana.