The Tandan ragamala follows a distinct colour-scheme for the background and the borders. It appears to be peculiar to only a few early Pahari ragamala. In this painting, the flaming-orange background and yellow borders are associated with Bhairava raga. Bhairava is a frightful form of Shiva. This raga is meant to excite the emotion of fear or terror.
The image of Shiva sitting on Nandi Bull is found in other Pahari ragamala series of the period where he is placed against a coloured background, conferring great presence to the image of the god. See for instance Bhairava Raga in the Claudio Moscatelli Collection, attributed to Nurpur circa 1700 (C. Glynn et al., Ragamala, Paintings from India, London, 2011, cat. 4, pp.46-48); another Bhairava Raga in the Victoria and Albert Museum, attributed to Kulu circa 1700 (IS.58-19553; W.G. Archer, Indian Paintings from the Punjab Hills, London, 1973, vol.II, cat.13(i), p.247) and a drawing in the National Museum, Delhi, tentatively attributed to early 18th century Basohli (K. Ebeling, Ragamala Painting, Basel, 1973, cat.307, p.275).