Dhrupad Retreat in Gular (Rishikesh, Uttarkhand) with Pandit Nirmalya Dey


As a part of the educational activity of the Naad Chakra Trust (Delhi), this workshop will be held from March 19/2023 to March 25/2023. Workshop will focus on the musical aspect of the dhrupad so as to equip and enable students to be able to consummate the technique, aesthetics and poetic values of the dhrupad into their daily lifestyle. These essential elements of dhrupad art will be taught in a beautiful Himalayan jungle camp which is situated in the walking distance from the Ganga River.

The core and profound musical training will be complemented by the natural settings in the Himalayan range, and will facilitate an experience of integrating the grandeur of this high-end classical music of India.

This weeklong dhrupad retreat is specially designed to maintain a balance between the daily intensive practice sessions (3 sessions of 2 hours each) and rejuvenating the energy from the magnificent Himalayan nature.

The early morning practice for the voice training (Kharaj) and intensive session after the breakfast will be the fixed schedule for the first half of the day. During the day there will be personal time for participants to swim in the icy Ganga or to have a walk in the forest to rejuvenate the energy for the afternoon practice. The evening practice will be followed by a bon fire under the stars at night.


Classical art forms are classical because they emphasize technique training to a very high degree. In this retreat Pandit Nirmalya Dey will elaborate on the technique of the Dhrupad from a musical perspective.

At a more fundamental level, the techniques of developing the intuitive sense and reflex of the notes applied in ragas will be taught. Traditional techniques of the Dagar school for voice training will be demonstrated and practiced.

The technical features for unfolding and exposing the raga, method of alap (exposition) in three phases (slow, medium and fast tempo), presentation of textual content of dhrupad and the improvisation will be taught.


The realm of aesthetics opens up after one develops an understanding of the musical techniques of through intense practice to realize the art. It is not possible to approach the aesthetics without a firm technical basis and practice as a lifestyle to realize and hone it.

However, it is equally important to learn the aesthetics of the Dhrupad so that when the technical training comes to fruition the aesthetics of Dhrupad can be manifested. The Dhrupad has a very well-developed aesthetic and it will be demonstrated in this retreat.


Being one of the essential elements of music, the poetry of the Dhrupad spans the moods of devotion, romanticism, the expression of distress, celebrations, ecstasy, love, spirituality, adoration of nature, principles and elements of music.

The textual contents of dhrupad include the both linguistically meaningful and meaningless texts, and both play the equal role in expressing the creative thoughts. The art of dhrupad exposed through the presentation of the textual contents of alap – featuring the meaningless words and the poetry of the song-text.

In order to expose the creative thoughts, the tradition of Dagarvani School maintains the right balance between the values of the textual content, aesthetics and musical elements through some special melodic gaits. Such experiential melodic movements will be demonstrated.


In 2019 we had a very  successful Dhrupad retreat in Byasi (Uttarkhand). It was a 7 day intensive retreat that was immensely productive and well attended. This year’s Dhrupad retreat and workshop is an extended opportunity to last years and participants need to follow up on their training. Fresh retreatants are also welcome.

This is a video short video that documents Gular retreat 2019.