Dhrupad is accepted to be the oldest existing form of North Indian classical music. The Dhrupad tradition is invariably a major heritage of Indian culture. The origin of this music is linked to the recitation of Sama Veda, the sacred Sanskrit text. Crossing with time gradient changes from vedic rhythms, chants, dhruva and prabandha at the end of 13th century initiated as a Dhruva-Pada or Dhrupad. Dhrupad is the oldest vocal and instrumental style, from which the extant Indian classical music originated. The continuity of Dhrupad, a contemplative and meditative form, has been sustained by few traditions like Darbhanga, Dagar, and Betiya traditions. Indeed, the leading Dhrupad maestros remark that rather than to entertain the audience, Dhrupad's purpose is Aradhana (worship). The nature of Dhrupad music is spiritual, seeking not to entertain, but to induce deep feelings of peace and contemplation in the listener

The word dhrupad is derived from dhruva (fixed, steadfast) and pada (word, composition, poetry). One significant characteristic of dhrupad is the emphasis on maintaining purity of the ragas and the swaras (notes).Bearing a specific composition, it consists of four parts namely sthai, antara, sanchari and abhog but now-a-days only two parts sthai and antara are mostly practiced in the school of Dhrupad teaching, apart from some practioners who perform all the four parts, and are sung in different styles.The emphasis is on developing each note with purity and clarity.

Dhrupad is said to have emerged from Prabandha. The Prabandha mode comprised of four sections - the opening section, udgraha, the exposition section, melapaka, a preset form, dhruva and the concluding abhoga. Of these, the dhruva mode is alleged to have been provided by the basis for the present day dhrupad. By about the 15th century when the Prabandhas became far too stereotyped and as such lost their popular appeal, a simplified derivation of Prabandhas emerged in the form of Dhrupad. Bharata`s Natyashastra makes reference of Dhruva as the song sung before the commencement of a play, whereas 11th century music texts, such as Sangeet Makarand, and 14th century texts like Raagatarangini, discuss both the Dhruva and the Dhruva-Prabandha forms. Prabandha and its branch, Dhrupad, were soon adopted as part of the devotional music sung in temples.

Dhrupad has a very masculine style and is traditionally performed to the accompaniment of the Pakhawaj (double headed drum). Earlier it was only practiced by the male musicians, but now we see a lot of female artists in this ancient art form. Dhrupad is also the first form of Indian music where due to its literary excellence and poetic quality, the text or lyrics are merelythe vehicle of expression of the notes and rhythm. It is in fact the fine blend between the melody and the poetic qualities of dhrupad that gave its uniqueness.