Dilli Gharana

Dilli Gharana

Oldest Khayal Gayaki Gharana, founded by Hazrat Ameer Khusro (RA) in the 13C CE

Dilli has always been a melting pot of various cultures, religions, beliefs which reflect in its architecture, art forms, food and of course music- a fact which has been well embraced by the Dilli Gharana and the result is its very own inimitable style of singing the same taans by giving it variety and intricacy which has now become its hall mark.

Dilli Gharana is a treasure house of various forms such as Khayal, Tarana, Qaul, Qualbana, Naqsh and it also has folk music based forms like Savela, Banhra geet, Suhag geet, Jhoola and Sawan geet.
Apart from the different style of gayaki Dilli Gharana is also credited with the invention of musical instruments- Ustad Bundu Khan for his small sarangi called Tota and Ustad Mamman Khan for his instrument called “Sursagar” which had a combination sounds from the Sarangi, Sitar and Surbahar.

Founder of Dilli Gharana, Hazrat Ameer Khusro (RA)
If you can brave yourself through the complex maze of ancestry and lineage you will eventually find the link that connects Dilli Gharana to the famous Sufi scholar, poet and a great musician of his times Hazrat Amir Khusrow. Hazrat Amir Khusrow popularized Qawwali, by appointing twelve disciples known as Qawwal Bachhe.  Dilli Gharana came out as a branch of Qawwall Bachhon ka Gharana when they adopted Khayal gayaki as their very own.
The Four Pillars of Dilli Gharana
Miyan Achapal, the court musician at the Dilli Sultanat, is said to be instrumental in doing so. His direct descendants- four brothers who were- Ustad  Kaley Khan, Ustad Mamman Khan, Ustad Samman Khan, & Ustad Sugra Khan and carried forward the legacy of their father Ustad Sanghi Khan- a renowned Sarangi player of his time.

Ustad Chand Khan Sahab- The Sangeet Martand

The khayal tradition of Hazrat Amir Khusro was carried on by Ustad Mamman Khan’s son Ustad Chand Khan who was a very well known vocalist in the court of Patiala. Ustad Chand Khan, the maternal grandfather of Ustad Iqbaal performed in various courts and provinces like Indore, Baroda, Ajmer Sharif, Jodhpur, Jammu, Patiala, Malairkotla, Jeend and Hyderabad, the list is inexhaustible. He single handedly worked towards regaining the lost glory of Dilli Gharana and reinstating the status that it so deserved. In the year 1963 he was conferred with the title Sangeet Martand by Bhartiya Sangeet Tatha Lalit Kala Vidyapeeth, Kanpur.

The Traditional Guru Shishya Parampara - Ustad Iqbal Ahmed Khan & His Guru Ustad Chand Khan Sahab
Although he was happy with the way he had shaped up the legacy, he however did not have any heir to carry it forward, until 1954 when he was blessed with a grandson. He finally had an heir apparent. It was when Begum Nafees Sultana, daughter of Ustad  Chand Khan and Ustad  Zahoor Ahmed Khan, a renowned violinist of his times were blessed with a baby boy. They named him Iqbal Ahmed Khan. Very soon it was time to rejoice again for within three months Iqbaal Ahmed Khan was adopted by Ustad Chand Khan Sahab. It was made clear to everyone that he was the chosen one, who, in times to come would be carrying the legacy called Dilli Gharana to new heights.
Ustad Iqbal Ahmed Khan's First Stage Performance At The Age of 6 Yrs.
Ustad  Iqbal Ahmed Khan’s talim started at a very early age, when other children were playing and still learning to hold a bat in their little hands, he was playing with the strings of the tanpura , learning ragas and was treated by a new bandish in place of sweets for a job well done. While the children of his age learned rhymes he was made to learn religious Soz in various ragas. As he grew older, his training became more rigorous.
Ustad Iqbal Ahmed Khan being anointed as Khalifa (Doyen) of Dilli Gharana
On the demise of his mentor/his Guru, his Rehnuma, his very own beloved nana Ustad Chand Khan, Iqbal Ahmed Khan was devastated and had almost decided to leave everything that he was brought up to love and cherish for his sorrow was so deep, the loss irreparable. But it was not meant to be, for his destiny was already written for him. On 1st Feb, 1981, his spiritual Guru, Khwaja Hasan Sani Nizami- Sajjada Nasheen, Dargah Nizamuddin aulia and Hazrat Ameer Khusro, along  with the blessings of the other elders anointed him as Khaleefa of Dilli Gharana in a traditional ceremony of “Dastar Bandi” . The baton had been passed and now the responsibility of carrying the legacy called Dilli Gharana was on the young shoulders of Ustad  Iqbaal Ahmed
Vocal Maestro of the DIlli Gharana
Ustad Usman Khan- Younger brother of Ustad Chand Khan Sahab
Vocal Maestro of the Dilli Gharana
Vocal Maestro Ustad Hilal Ahmed Khan (Son of Ustad Usman Khan & son-in-law of Ustad Chand Khan Sahab)

Vocal Maestro of the Dilli Gharana

Taan Samrat Ustad Naseer Ahmed Khan

Legends of Instrumental Music in Dilli Gharana

Baba-e-Mosiqui Ustad Bundu Khan Playing Tota
(A type of a sarangi invented by him)

Legends of Instrumental Music in Dilli Gharana

Violin Wizard Ustad Zahoor Ahmed Khan performing a Jugalbandi (Duet) with Sarangi Wizard Ustad Umrao Bundu Khan

Ustad Zahoor Ahmed Khan was the father of Ustad Iqbal Ahmed Khan

Legends of Instrumental Music in Dilli Gharana
Sitar Maestro Ustad Zafar Ahmed Khan

Legends of Instrumental Music in Dilli Gharana

Tabla Maestro Ustad Latif Ahmed Khan

Legends of Instrumental Music in Dilli Gharana

Tabla Maestro Ustad Shafaat Ahmed Khan performing Tabla solo


Nikah ceremony of Ustad Iqbal Ahmed Khan with Zohra Khan. Bride and groom being blessed by Tabla Maestro of the Dilli Gharana Ustad Shafaat Ahmed Khan


A Gathering of the Legends of the Dilli Gharana


Ustad Hilal Ahmed Khan having personal time with his Kids. Also seen in the pic are young Iqbal AHmed Khan and Wife Zohra Khan


Ustad Chand Khan (Extreme left) & Ustad Usman Khan (third from the left) being felicitated by Ustad Chand Khan's Shahgirds (Disciples) Pandit Shankar & Shambhu the famous Qawwals

Credits: Story

Created by Vusat Iqbal Khan & Mohd Imran Khan from Dilli Gharana

Sursagar Society of Delhi Gharana (Regd)
Dilli Gharana Productions
Ameer Khusro Institute of Music


Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Translate with Google