Sonic Saturday

Listen: Soak in the many colours of Raag Kukubh Bilawal

This raag is sung across a few gharanas and interpreted differently by them.

Of the Bilawal raag varieties, all of which are prescribed for performance in the morning, Kukubh Bilawal seems to have been sung across a few gharanas. However, it is still rarely heard as compared to Alhaiya Bilawal. In fact, it is also interpreted differently by representatives from various gharanas as will be evident in the recordings featured in this episode, the sixth in the series on Bilawal. Perhaps, an opportune way to celebrate Holi, the festival of colours, would be to soak in the many colours of Kukubh Bilawal.

Broadly, some musicians highlight Rishabh, the second swar or note, and seem to add elements from raags like Jhinjhoti, Jaijaivanti, and Nat, to Bilawal. Others give prominence to Madhyam, the fourth swar, and show elements of Khamaj or Gaud Malhar with Bilawal. In fact, there are other varieties of Bilawal that display a blending of the same raags, with the result that the names of each often confuse not just listeners but also seasoned musicians. At times, the mix is quite imperceptible and is a matter of debate among scholars. In many cases, therefore, gurus advise their disciples to follow the melodic structure suggested by the composition and elaborate upon it accordingly.

Eminent scholar-musician BR Deodhar sings a composition in Kukubh Bilawal set to Rupak, a cycle of seven matras or time units. He is accompanied by Anant Kunte on the sarangi, Mahadev Indorekar on the tabla and Vasant Gurav on the harmonium.


The next track features a recital by Jaipur-Atrauli maestro Mallikarjun Mansur. He sings a composition in the 10-matra Jhaptaal.


Renowned vocalist DV Paluskar sings a composition in Jhaptaal.


Scholar-musician Gajananrao Joshi sings a composition in Jhaptaal that is an integral part of the repertoire sung by Agra gharana vocalists. He follows the first composition with another in a medium-paced Teentaal, a cycle of 16 matras.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Following a mountaineer as he reaches the summit of Mount Everest

Accounts from Vikas Dimri’s second attempt reveal the immense fortitude and strength needed to summit the Everest.

Vikas Dimri made a huge attempt last year to climb the Mount Everest. Fate had other plans. Thwarted by unfavourable weather at the last minute, he came so close and yet not close enough to say he was at the top. But that did not deter him. Vikas is back on the Everest trail now, and this time he’s sharing his experiences at every leg of the journey.

The Everest journey began from the Lukla airport, known for its dicey landing conditions. It reminded him of the failed expedition, but he still moved on to Namche Bazaar - the staging point for Everest expeditions - with a positive mind. Vikas let the wisdom of the mountains guide him as he battled doubt and memories of the previous expedition. In his words, the Everest taught him that, “To conquer our personal Everest, we need to drop all our unnecessary baggage, be it physical or mental or even emotional”.

Vikas used a ‘descent for ascent’ approach to acclimatise. In this approach, mountaineers gain altitude during the day, but descend to catch some sleep. Acclimatising to such high altitudes is crucial as the lack of adequate oxygen can cause dizziness, nausea, headache and even muscle death. As Vikas prepared to scale the riskiest part of the climb - the unstable and continuously melting Khumbhu ice fall - he pondered over his journey so far.

His brother’s diagnosis of a heart condition in his youth was a wakeup call for the rather sedentary Vikas, and that is when he started focusing on his health more. For the first time in his life, he began to appreciate the power of nutrition and experimented with different diets and supplements for their health benefits. His quest for better health also motivated him to take up hiking, marathon running, squash and, eventually, a summit of the Everest.

Back in the Himalayas, after a string of sleepless nights, Vikas and his team ascended to Camp 2 (6,500m) as planned, and then descended to Base Camp for the basic luxuries - hot shower, hot lunch and essential supplements. Back up at Camp 2, the weather played spoiler again as a jet stream - a fast-flowing, narrow air current - moved right over the mountain. Wisdom from the mountains helped Vikas maintain perspective as they were required to descend 15km to Pheriche Valley. He accepted that “strength lies not merely in chasing the big dream, but also in...accepting that things could go wrong.”

At Camp 4 (8,000m), famously known as the death zone, Vikas caught a clear glimpse of the summit – his dream standing rather tall in front of him.

It was the 18th of May 2018 and Vikas finally reached the top. The top of his Everest…the top of Mount Everest!

Watch the video below to see actual moments from Vikas’ climb.


Vikas credits his strength to dedication, exercise and a healthy diet. He credits dietary supplements for helping him sustain himself in the inhuman conditions on Mount Everest. On heights like these where the oxygen supply drops to 1/3rd the levels on the ground, the body requires 3 times the regular blood volume to pump the requisite amount of oxygen. He, thus, doesn’t embark on an expedition without double checking his supplements and uses Livogen as an aid to maintain adequate amounts of iron in his blood.

Livogen is proud to have supported Vikas Dimri on his ambitious quest and salutes his spirit. To read more about the benefits of iron, see here. To read Vikas Dimri’s account of his expedition, click here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Livogen and not by the Scroll editorial team.