As the origin of the Indian classical music is dated back to thousands of years, it is quite evident that the cultural and the geographical heritage is deeply integrated with the core essence of Indian classical music, in older times when the transportation and logistics were really sluggish, in order to approach and learn or even check out a gig can be super expensive or physically impossible task ,so due to these logistic constraints most of the gurus and the fellow musicians stayed close to each other and then propagated Indian classical music by learning and spreading their work across india.
The concept of GHARANA in indian classical music aligns with the idea I shared above, how about we check out a simple analogy.A musician can be from Agra Gharana , Banaras Gharana or Punjabi Gharana , all three prefixes which are Agra, Punjabh and Banaras are different geographical location in India and thus has different cultural and linguistic setups, so we can see that the folk and classical music in these areas will have distinct thematic appeal to it, if you will listen to folk music from 29 different states of India you can very easily observe that each piece of music is from a different geographical and cultural sub-set and has it’s own theme, color, texture and instrumental arrangement , it is very diverse and aesthetically pleasing in nature.
Basically these are different school of india classical music , where each one of em has its own signature sound, protocols and structure, just like you can play jazz and the way jazz is interpreted and projected in different parts of the world, same goes with indian classical music. Different cultural and geographical setup have different kinda feel & sound , but the core essence kinda remains the same.
As we can see GHARANA is like a strong clan of musicians , who are very United but at the same time quite decentralized in nature but very organized and efficient when it comes to knowledge dissipation and being creative and innovative musically.
Thanks to Gharans we are able to understand and visualize the true essence of indian classical music, and thanks to these legends for keeping indian classical alive in this digital age.