Vishnupur, the town of the deity Vishnu, can be found in West Bengal and used to be the cultural centre of East-India. At the beginning of the 19th century Raghunath Singh Deo II, the king of Vishnupur, appointed Bahadur Khan, the Senia musician from Delhi, to be the leader of the court musicians, trying to establish classical music in his court. The king loved and appreciated classical music so much that he declared that anybody can learn music from Bahadur Khan for free who has a good heart and voice. The court musician of emperor Akbar, Miyan Tansen’s lineage was the predominant musical school of the era, the dhrupad style of the Senia Gharana. Bahadur Khan also belonged to this line and he was not only a singer but used such instruments very skillfully like the vina, the rebab and the surshingar. Gadadhar Chakravorty was his first student who is considered the founder of the Vishnupur Gharana and who had both vocal and instrumental training.

His student was Ram Shankar Bhattacharya, whose major student was Anantlal Bannerjee, who was followed by his sons, Ram Prasanna and Gopeswar. Gopeswar Banerjee did not only excel as a court musician (he served in the courts of Brudwan, Narajol and Mayurbranj), but he was the author of many books on music as well (Sangeet Chandrika, Geet-Darpan, Geet-Praveshika, Sangeet Lahari).

Ram Prasanna Banerjee (1870-1928), the eldest son of Anantlal Banerjee learned to play the sitar, like his father did, from the raja Sir Jotindra Tagore, and playing the surbahar from Nilmadev Chakravorty (who was the student of Allauddin Khan, the founder of the Maihar Gharana) and Sajjad Mohammad, and tappa from Gopal Chandra Chakravorty. He was in the service of the Raja of Bahadur, Narendra Nath Khan for some time, and after the death of the raja he returned to Vishnupur, where he founded the Anant Sangit Vidhyalay School of Music.

Gokul Nag


One of the best known disciples of Ram Prasanna was Gokul Nag (1908-1983), who was a well respected musician of his time in India.

Gokul Nag: Raga Jhinjhoti (1975)

The son of Gokul Nag, Manilal Nag is still an active sitar player, known for his special style and refined technique. Manilal Nag lives and teaches in Calcutta. He was rewarded with several state and independent honours.