The Gaya gharana of Indian classical music has made vital contribution to the evolution of classical music. Till early 1950s, Gaya used to be a hub of cultural activities and Nakphophaji, one of the great patrons of music in Gaya, frequently organised night-long musical sessions in which great maestros like Gangubai Hangal, D V Pulaskar, Omkarnath Thakur, Alla Rakha, Begum Akhtar and Bade Ghulam Ali Khan participated. Jaddan Bai, an exponent of Indian classical music, was patronised by the Nawab of Gaya.
During the olden days, Gaya developed as a centre of thumri. The Awadhia thumri of Benares was improvised and presented in a new and pleasing manner. The greats of the Gaya gharana thumri include Dhela Bai, Soni Maharaj, Balram Singh, Ram Prasad Mishra alias Ramuji, and Jay Ram Tiwari. Fortunately, the tradition is still alive and needs more support and current exponents include Govardhan Mishra and Kameshwar Pathak, the former being son of Ram Prasad Mishra.
The Gaya Gharana singers also specialise in Tappa style of singing. Some were also Khayal singers. But Tappa and Thumri were there forte. In fact, Padmashri Gajendra Narayan Singh of the Sangeet Natak Academy rates Pt Govardhan Mishra as the best Tappa singer in the country today.