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Originating from the sacred land of India, the Mridangam is a percussion instrument which is used as an accompaniment in Carnatic music performances. The word “mridangam” is derived from the two Sanskrit words mŗda (clay or earth) and anga (body) – the modern day mridangams are not made of clay, but are made of a combination of wood and buffalo skin.

Certainly, the Mridangam gains its popularity by the strong, captivating sounds it produces!


Scriptural References of the Mridangam


Sacred scriptures mention that the Mridangam is a prominent instrument used even by demigods:

  • Lord Balaram has incarnated as the Mridangam in Kali Yuga.
  • Nandi, the carrier of Lord Shiva, is said to be proficient in the art of Mridangam and plays it as a service to his beloved Lord Shiva.


Components of the Mridangam


The Mridangam has three parts – the left end known as the ‘thoppi’, the right end known as the ‘valanthalai’ and the center hollow wood which connects both ends. Straps run across both ends, tightening the instrument, thus letting the drum resonate when played. Both ends of the Mridangam produce different sounds – the techniques with which the both ends are played produces a variety of sounds.


Additional websites of popular Mridangam artists and Carnatic musicians:



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