Dhrupad by the Ganga With Pandit Nirmalya Dey


Art Beyond Hype is delighted to organize a 7 days dhrupad retreat between 17th and 24th Feb 2018 in Byasi, Rishikesh Uttarakhand. After overwhelming participation of the students from India and abroad in Varanasi (2016) and Dharamkot chapters (2017), we are planning to organize this retreat for the third consecutive year to extend the opportunity to those participants who joined the retreat before and as well as to the new aspiring scholars who want to discover the art of dhrupad.

The retreat will take place in Byasi – a peaceful spot in the foothill of Himalaya along the river Ganga. In addition to 6 hours intense practice of dhrupad every day, the participants will have opportunity to go for river rafting, rock climbing, tracking and swimming in the pristine river Ganga during the free time of the retreat. For the first time the participants will be able to have pleasure of accommodating themselves in the tents situated in the nature. The location of the retreat is about 30 kilometres far from Rishikesh town – completely free from sound and air pollution.


In India, from ancient times, yogis and mystics always lived and practiced in forest hermitages, away from the cities. Of these, the most cherished and sought after in yogic circles have always been, the Himalayas. These mountains have a very special energy and yogis and mystics of all inclinations have made a beeline for the Himalayas to deepen their meditation or to give up city life, for living in the lap of deep nature.

The above background puts into practice the immensity and depth of doing intensive dhrupad retreats in the Himalayas, with one of the greatest living masters of the Dhrupad, Pandit Nirmalya Dey.

There are tremendous synergies to doing Dhrupad in the Himalayas.

  • Predawn Kharaj with pure Himalayan Oxygen
  • The effects of Himalayan glacial water on health, body, energy and voice
  • The effects of walking in the mountains on health, body, energy and voice
  • The role of breath in Nad Yoga and the impact of super pure air on breath
  • The meditative vibe in the Himalayas
  • Combining Yoga asanas with other activities in the Himalayas
  • Combining formal meditation with Dhrupad.


Dhrupad is the core of Indian classical music. The genre carries all the subtle nuances of classical music, prescribed in the old Sanskrit scriptures. A more detailed description of the Dhrupad can be found here:


Dhrupad consists of several sections including Alap, Madhya-Alap, Drut-Alap, Composition and improvisation. A more detailed description of the Dagarvani Dhrupad can be found here:


Essentially Dhrupad is a high art form, it is austere, and focuses on the purity of the sound and notes.  The retreat participant will be exposed to the basic as well as subtle aspects of the Dhrupad.



The Nad Yoga aspect of the Dhrupad, is immensely enhanced by the purity of the nature in the Himalayas. The Himalayas are home to thick pine forests, ultra pure air and crystalline glacial water, that are perfect for practicing Dhrupad meditatively and deeply.

India is the ancient land of spirituality. In times before recorded history, a spiritually advanced civilization lived here, and they lived a very high grade lifestyle which brought the world spiritual gems such as Yoga, Sanskrit, Ayurveda, the Vedas and the Dhrupad.

Each of these were an aspect of the higher life. Yoga means to connect with the divine. Ayurveda is the science of health and holistic living. Sanskrit is the language in which all of the knowledge of this higher civilization was recorded. The vedas express spiritual truths. And Dhrupad is Nad Yoga or sound meditation.

According to Patanjali’s yoga sutras yoga is simply expressed in three words:

Citta Vritti Nirodha

Citta means mind, vritti means thoughts and Nirodha means stop. Today yoga has become identified with Asanas or postures, which are a small part of the real yoga. The asanas are designed to get the body and energy into good shape, so as to enable deeper meditation with the goal of achieving Samadhi, or a deep still state of mind.

Meditation, asanas and other forms of spiritual practice are powerful, however according to many music is among the most powerful way to connect with the divine.

According to Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar, there are two types of music, Desi and Margiya. While the Desi music is designed for entertainment, the Margiya music is primarily for connection to the divine.

The Dhrupad is Margiya music, and is designed to induce deeply meditative states of mind.


In 2016 we had a very  successful Dhrupad retreat in Varanasi. It was a 10 day intensive retreat that was immensely productive and well attended. This year’s Dhrupad retreat and workshop is an extended opportunity to last years participants to followup on their training. Fresh retreatants are welcome.

This is a video directed by Andrei Demidenko, that documents Varanasi retreat 2016.