Damaru is an hour-glass shaped drum with a rich tradition. Legends attribute its use to Lord Shiva. It has been a favourite accompaniment of the chants of holy men on pilgrimages.

Strings criss-cross the hour-glass structure of this device, almost a foot in length and half that in diameter. The pitch of the drum is adjusted with pressure applied to these strings. There are two chords knotted at the end attached to the middle. When the device is held by the middle and rapidly turned back and forth from side to side, the knots strike the drum-heads to produce sound.

In quite contrast to other hour-glass drums like the Udukku and Idakka, confined to temple rituals, Damaru is part of popular folk traditions.

Updated on 7th June, 2005


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