The legend of Tansen


Destinations :: Gwalior


The great singer, Tansen, belonged to the Gwalior school of music. He was one of the nine jewels of the court of Mughal emperor Akbar. It's said that Tansen's voice was so magical that when his enemy wanted to kill him he convinced the emperor to ask Tansen to sing a raga that would cause all oil lamps to ignite spontaneously. On the emperor's request Tansen sang that melodic sequence and the wicks burst into flame. But the power of the raga made his body burn with a terrible fever that no doctor could cure.

Tansen's beloved then sang a raga that caused a cloud to burst, abating Tansen's raging fever. Today, Tansen's tomb is found within the Gwalior fort complex. It is a simple pavilion of white marble. On one side of the pavilion is a tamarind tree. Chewing its leaves is supposed to improve one's voice!