Shivaratri Songs

As Shivaratri is being celebrated today by millions of people, lets take a look at songs commonly heard at this time.


There are many compositions by different carnatic composers describing the attributes of the god Shiva. Here are some of the trinity’s works – Tyagaraja‘s Naada Tanumanisham in raga Chittaranjani, Shambho Mahadeva and Shiva Shiva Yena Radha in raga Pantuvarali, Raga Sudha Rasa in raga Andholika, Ilalo Pranatharthi in raga Atana and Dikshithar’s Akshaya Linga in raga Shankarabharanam, Shri Matrubhootham in raga Kannada and Shri Vishwanatham Bhajesham Chathurdasa Ragamalika. Listen to the stalwarts Bombay Sisters singing Shiva Shiva Ena Radha.

Tamil compositions include Gopalkrishna Bharathi’s Irakkam Varamal and Idhuthano Thillai Sthalam in raga Behag and Papanasam Sivan’s Kapali in raga Mohanam and Samagana in raga Hindoilam. 




Vachanas are the works of Bhakti mystics such as Basavanna, Akka Mahadevi and Allama Prabhu. The word vachana means that which is spoken. This form of rhythmic compositions or poetry developed in the 12th century and was part of the Lingayat movement. Some of the popular vachanas are Basavanna’s Vachanadalli namamrutha, Ullavaru Shivalaya and Akka Mahadevi’s Prithviya Gelida and Naale Baruvadu Nammagimde Barali. Here is a rendition of Basavanna’s Ullavaru Shivalaya by Amrutha Venkatesh.

One of my favourite songs Bho Shambho Shiva Shambho Swayambo, a composition of Dayananda Saraswathi in ragam Revathi, sung by the stalwart Maharajapuram Santhanam.

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