Inside the 200-year-old tabla market of Nagpur!


Suyash Sethiya | Nov 7, 2016 21:46

→ Amidst the sound of chaos in the busy area of Budhwari, Nagpur exists a tabla market at Maskasath Road. This tabla market is 200 years old and consists of around fifteen shops. Tabla makers here are known for making good quality tablas, dholaks and dumroos. Nation Next takes you on a pictorial tour of this tabla market of Nagpur.

Here’s all you need to know as to how a Tabla is made!

→ The drum shell of the tabla (the smaller drum) is made from wood either from Sesame or Mango tree.

→ The drum shell of the dagga (the larger drum) is generally made from brass and copper but can also be made from wood.

→ The heads of both tabla and dagga are made from the flesh of the goat. Then the tabla maker carves the central area at the head by cutting the goat flesh so as to put a tuning paste called syahi in it. The central area is important as it’s responsible for the drums natural overtones.

→ The straps which connect the head of the tabla and dagga to their bottom are made from ox flesh.

→ The cylindrical wood blocks (ghatta) are inserted between the shell of the tabla and the straps allowing tension to be adjusted by moving them vertically.

→ At last the tuning paste or the syaahi is applied on tabla and dagga and left to dry in the sun. The excess of tuning paste is then removed by scrapping. In the end the central part is polished with a stone.

→ For most tabla makers in tabla market, tabla making has been a family business for generations. Even the women in the family help in making of the musical instruments.

→ Tabla along with dagga is sold for around Rs 2500 and each tabla maker in the market sells around 200 pairs every year.

→ It takes around a week for a tabla maker to make a pair of tabla.

→ Apart from tablas, the tabla makers are also into making Dholaks and Dumroos.

→ Dholaks can be made in two days and around 500 dholaks are sold every year by tabla makers.

Photos by: Kartik Thakur