Some of the ragas are very popular, with hundreds of compositions; some others with comparatively lesser numbers. Some other ragas are not so popular, compositions are also few. We are going to see a raga, which is very familiar and popular, but very few compositions, which are also non-popular – the Raga is Valachi (Valaji). This raga is a janya of mela (16) ragam Chakravakam, without R1 and M1. Valachi is suitable for singing in the mornings; Raag Kalavati is the Hindustani equivalent of this raga. The arohana-avarohana of Valaji is:
S G3 P D2 N2 S // S N2 D2 P G3 S
This is a symmetric and linear scale and the notes featured include shadja, anthara gandhara, panchama, chathusruti dhaivata and kaishiki nishada. When the Valaji scale is augmented with the suddha rishabha (R1), it yields Malayamarutham; the addition of chathusruti rishabha (R2) results in a rare and lovely raga called Janasammohini, popular in Hindustani music. When the dhaivata is eschewed from the Valaji scale, we get the raga Mahati, created by Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna.
This can be represented as:
Chakravakam - (loses M1) – Malayamarutham – (loses R1) – Valachi – (loses D2) - Mahati
Valachi is considered a janya ragam of Chakravakam, the 16th Melakarta ragam, though it can be derived from other melakarta ragams, Harikambhoji, Vagadheeswari, Ramapriya, Vachaspati or Nasikabhooshani, by dropping both rishabham and madhyamam. Since Chakravakam is lowest in ordinal number among these 6 melakarta scales, Valaji is associated with it.
There are few compositions (almost a dozen) in ragam Valachi; but none of them are popular, in the sense, they find only very little place in concerts. Renditions are available, mostly of academic interest only. But, the raga is much preferred in Light and Film music; there are too many songs in this raga in various South Indian languages. This is mainly due to Valachi being a very sweet raga, compared to Chakravakam or Malayamarutham; the devotional ‘Unnudaya Velondre’ sung by Seerkazhi Govindarajan is one of the best example how popular the songs are.
Valachi yunna (varnam) – Kadaloor Subramaniam
Chalamu seya (varnam) – Lalgudi G.Jayaraman
Jalandhara supeetasthe – Dr. Muthaiah Bhagavathar
Padame thunai – Papanasam Sivan
Sanna hejegalittu – Purandaradasar
Santatamu nine – G.N.B.
Sri Gayathri devi – Bhaktha Jnanananda Theertha
Thandava priya – Kalyani Varadarajan
Koovi azhaithal – Vaali
Karthikeya kamalekshana – Dr. V.V.Srivatsa
Unnudaya vel onre – (popularized by Seerkazhi)
We shall discuss the composition, “Jalandhara supeetasthe” in detail.
jAlandhara supIThastE jApAkusuma bhAsurE
bAlArkka kOTi prabhE | bAlE paripAlisau ||
bhavarOga nivAriNi bhaktajana paripAlini
navashakti svarUpiNi nAda harikEsha rAgjni
(Meaning : The one who resides in Jalandhara ( a place), the one who is adorned by the flowers of Japa (chanting). The one who is as radiant as the radiance coming from one crore early morning suns, the little lady, take care of me. The one who cures the worldly diseases, the one who takes care of the devotees, The one who is an embodiment of new energy (shakti), the ruler of Harikesha).
Here is a very beautiful rendition of Dr. Muthaiah Bhagavathar composition by his first and foremost disciple, Sri. Madurai Mani Iyer.