Himalayan Dhrupad Retreat 2017 with Pandit Nirmalya Dey


We are happy  to announce that we are organizing a week long dhrupad retreat with Pandit Nirmalya Dey in the Himalyan mountains, this year.

It has been our long time dream to do an intensive Dhrupad retreat in the Himalayas.

The retreat will be held in the Himalayan village Dharamkot and will happen in the first week of March 2017.The precise dates will be posted soon.



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 last year’s retreat.


Dhrupad is the core of Indian classical music. The genre carries all the subtle nuances of classical music, prescribed in the old Sanskrit scriptures.

The wikipedia describes the Dhrupad in detail:

Dhrupad consists of several sections including Alap, Jod, Jhala, 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 Sufi Hazarat Inayat Khan, this is the reason that many Indian mystics were musicians and are pictured with musical instruments.

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 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. This is a pioneering retreat, and we hope this will be the beginning of more to come.

There are tremendous synergies to doing Dhrupad in the Himalayas.

These will be described in more detail in this section for now an initial bulleted list is presented below:

  • 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
  • The meditation centers in Dharamkot that retreatants can avail of
  • The Dalai Lama and his primary base being in McLeod Ganj and access to Tibetan Buddhist meditation centers, libraries.
  • Combining Yoga asanas with Dhrupad in the Himalayas
  • Combining formal meditation with Dhrupad.



The Wikipedia says:

“Dharamkot is a small hill station in Kangra district in the state of Himachal Pradesh, India. On the crest of a hill above McLeodGanj, Dharamkot is an attractive spot that presents a wide view of the Kangra Valley and the Dhauladhar ranges. There are a couple of small (and interesting) eateries around. Several foreigners have taken residence in the area; all live in village homes and tiny guest houses. Dharamkot also has the Vipassana meditation centre, Dhamma Shikara, as well as the Tushita Meditation Centre which is a centre for the study and practice of Buddhism in the Tibetan Mahayana tradition.

Past Dharamkot, at a distance of 9 km from McLeodGanj, much of which is a steady climb, Triund is at the foot of the Dhauladhar ranges and is at a height of 2,827 m. The snow line, which is considered to be the most easily accessible in the entire Himalayan range starts from Ilaqua, 4 km from Triund. A good walker will take around four hours to reach Triund from McLeodganj and another one and a half to two hours to reach Ilaqua. After Dharamkot, one passes by the Galu Devi Temple when the climb and the trail becomes demanding.”

McLeod Ganj

The Wikipedia says:

McLeod Ganj (also spelt McLeodGanj or Mcleodganj) is a suburb of Dharamsala in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, India. It is known as “Little Lhasa” or “Dhasa” (a short form of Dharamshala used mainly by Tibetans) because of its large population of Tibetans.[1] The Tibetan government-in-exile is headquartered in McLeod Ganj. The Dalai Lama is based in McLeod Ganj.

It has an average elevation of 2,082 metres (6,831 feet). It is situated on the Dhauladhar Range, whose highest peak, “Hanuman Ka Tibba”, at about 5,639 metres (18,500 feet), lies just behind it.


Learn Dhrupad Indian Classical Vocal Music With Pandit Nirmalya Dey at the Shriram Bhartiya Kala Kendra in Delhi

The Shriram Bhartiya Kala Kendra New  Delhi is about to select and admit a new batch of students to study vocal  Indian Classical Music with a focus on the Dhrupad with Pandit Nirmalya Dey.

The selection and admission is going to happen in the 1st week of July 2016 and the interested candidates may contact the Bhartiya Kala Kendra and submit their application on time.

To express your interest in this event you could do a like on the facebook event page below,  or message us on the same:

The Shriram Bhartiya Kala Kendra is a pioneer institute of music and dance in Delhi. Students from abroad who have a scholarship from ICCR, may also register themselves through ICCR in collaboration with Shriram Bhartiya Kala Kendra.

Please note that if you are interested in applying you must do so directly at the Bhartiya Kala Kendra in the first week of July 2016.

Pandit Nirmalya Dey:

Nirmalya Dey is a renowned master vocalist and teacher in the tradition of Dagarvani dhrupad. Inspired by his mother, he started his initial dhrupad training with Prof. Nimaichand Boral, who was a disciple of Ustad Nasir Moinuddin Dagar. From 1988, Nirmalya Dey learned in the true tradition of Guru-Shishya Parampara, spending extended time with another celebrated dhrupad master, Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar. Nirmalya continued to take advanced training and also regularly performed on the stage with Ustad until he passed away in 2013. While meticulously maintaining the traditional musical form and its nuances he imbibed from his teacher, who represented the 19th unbroken generation of dhrupad performing family, Nirmalya also evolved his own distinctive style and approach to dhrupad.

For more information on Pandit Nirmalya Dey see:


Dhrupad is the oldest existing form of Indian classical music. The nature of Dhrupad is spiritual – its purpose is aradhana (worship). Seeking not to entertain, but to induce deep feelings of peace and contemplation in the listener.

Its origin is linked to the recitation of Sama veda , the sacred Sanskrit text. Dhrupad probably evolved from the earlier chanting of Om , the sacred syllable which is claimed to be the source of all creation. Later, the rhythmic chanting of the Vedic scriptures evolved into singing of Chhanda and Prabandha.

One significant characteristic of Dhrupad is the emphasis on maintaining purity of the ragas and the swaras.

For more information on Dhrupad See:

For more information on the Bhartiya Kala Kendra see:


First Dhrupad Retreat, Varanasi, February 2016


Nirmalya Dey will be leading a Dhrupad retreat in India annually. Dhrupad is the oldest form of Indian classical music. It is music and meditation, and is a pure form of Nada Yoga. Intensive Dhrupad retreats are designed to strengthen the practitioner’s  home practice and elevate their musical understanding.

The first retreat will be held in India, in the city of Varanasi  starting on February 27, 2016  till March 8, 2016.

Space is limited, so do send in your expression of interest for planning purposes.