Kharaharapriya is an evergreen raga that musicians call it sampoorna (complete with all seven notes). Kharaharapriya has a distinct melody and brings out the Karuna rasam, invoking pathos in the listeners. The Kafi thaat of Hindustani music is the equivalent of Kharaharapriya.
In Classical music
The ragam is most closely associated with Thyagaraja who composed many songs in it. Both Muthuswami Dikshitar and Shyama Sastri, however, have not composed kritis in Kharaharapriya Chakkani Rajamargamu, Pakkala Nilabadi, Mitri Bhagyame, Rama ni samanamevaru, Nadaci Nadaci, Peridi Ninnu, Chetulara shrungāramu, Vidamu Sevayave and Rama Niyada by Thyagaraja are popular.
Satatam Thaavaka by Swathi Thirunal, Moovasai Konda thirumal by Muthiah Bhagavatar, Senthil Andavan, Srinivasa Tava Charanam, Janaki Pathe, Appan Avatharitha Kathamritham by Papanasam Sivan are set in this raga.
In the film Shakuntalai, M S Subbulakshmi sang ‘Endhan idathu tholum’. The music by S V Venkatraman.
‘Maya Valaiyil’ from Gulebagavali sung by TM Soundararajan, ‘Ariyaparuvamada’ from Missiamma (sung by P Leela and tuned by S Rajeswara Rao) were based on Kharaharapriya.
‘Madhavi Pon Mayilal’ from Iru Malargal is one of the most famous pieces in this raga.
It was composed by M S Viswanathan and sung by TMS. ‘Maharajan Ulagai’ from Karnan by MSV-Ramamurthy was classy. Ilayaraja’s ‘Poo Malarndhida’ from Tik Tik Tik was modern yet stuck to the grammar of Kharaharapriya.
‘Sangeeta Swarangal’ from Azhagan composed by Maragathamani is an interesting piece. ‘Pachai Nirame’ from Alaipayuthey by A R Rahman is largely based on this raga.