traditional musical instruments

Uttarakhand’s traditional musical instruments represent the Uttarakhand people’s values. The best known musical instruments in Uttarakhand are: Damama, Hurka, Turturi or Turhi, Binaee, Mushak was or Bagpipe. Folk dance and music both needs the help of a variety of musical instruments that make the former more enchanting and easier to understand. The spirit of folk dance and music shapes these instruments. The traditional musical instruments of Uttarakhand are very basic but special in their emotions.

Uttarakhand’s traditional musical instruments are:



It’s a drum with the leather on either end of a wooden or brass hollow. At one hand, a stick will be punched and at the other hand the palm will be struck. It is performed in Barats, Navratris and religious processions. In general.



This is made up of two leathered brass cones, one slightly bigger and the other smaller in dimension. ‘Daindama’ is the bigger one, while the smaller one is called ‘Baundamu.’ When beaten with sticks known as ‘Lakur’ both create a distinct tone.


Hurka-traditional musical instruments

In virtually every song and dance show in Uttarakhand the staccato beats of the Hurka are heard. The first treatise on theatrical shapes is stated in the ‘Natya Shastra’ by Bharat Muni as well. This instrument may be played alone or with other instruments like flute, brass or sacking tubes. It is a percussion instrument.

Turturi or turhi or Ransingha


It is found in two types, this trumpet-like voice. It is very long and angled, the other in shape, like a snake. Made from metal or copper, the blowing is normally accompanied by the Damama’s beating. The ‘Ranasingha’ is a special form of turturi, like a hooded cobra or a curved animal tail.

Mushak Been or Bagpipe

Mushak Been or Bagpipe

It was launched in Uttarakhand by the British army around the Anglo-Gorkha in 1814-15 some 200 years ago. Today it is a part of folk music and dance which is inseparable. It shows that the local residents are open and addictive.

Muruli or Flute

traditional musical instruments
Muruli or Flute

In Uttarakhand, Muruli or flute was an important part of the lives of shepherds and cattle grazers. They created a variety of folk tunes in the jungles or meadows, when grazing cattle. Without question, the ever-enchanting landscapes provided the impetus for creating new tunes on which some folk songs are based.
In addition to these, instruments such as the Damru (Lord Shiva’s well-known musical instrument), Muryo or Muraj, Jhat, Brass plate etc. are often used in local religious processions, rituals or folk music and dance forms.
Interestingly, these instruments’ players belong to the artisan community, which is on the lower rung of the social ladder.In addition to revealing some interesting anthropological information, a systematic study of all these musical instruments and their history will likely add another chapter in the omnibus of Indian classical music.

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