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20 Feb 2024

Sitar and Tabla

Written by
The Logical Indian
Art and Culture

The Tabla's Enigmatic Journey

The roots of Indian classical music traditions, with the tabla at its rhythmic core, extend back to Vedic times. While the exact origins remain unclear, theories abound regarding its birth. Carvings in ancient Bhaja Caves and temples hint at its ancient roots, with the word "Tabla" itself having Sanskrit origins, linking it to Vedic culture. The tabla's journey, closely intertwined with the rise of khyal, a major form of Hindustani classical music, during the Mughal era, contributed to the foundation of North Indian classical music, Hindustani Sangeet. The emergence of tabla gharanas in the 1700s further enriched its repertoire, solidifying its status as the most sought-after drum in North India.

Intriguing Origins and Stories

The tabla's evolution is shrouded in captivating stories, with narratives suggesting influences from Muslim invaders' drums and the ingenious act of splitting a pakhawaj or Dholak by Amir Khusru. While these tales add intrigue, historical evidence remains elusive. The tabla's rich repertoire, shaped by major gharanas, reflects a lineage that dates back to the late 1600s.

Sitar: A Melodic Symphony

In the world of Indian classical music, the sitar emerges as a symbol of melodic beauty and innovation. Believed to have originated in the 1700s, the sitar's roots intertwine the Persian Setar and the South Indian Vina. Historical narratives attributing its invention to Amir Khusro have been debunked, with consensus acknowledging its exclusive Indian origin. Key figures like Masit Khan and Bahadur Khan played crucial roles in shaping sitar music, introducing innovative techniques and popularizing enchanting compositions.

Crafting Melody and Design

The sitar's design, crafted from Indian mahogany with a dried pumpkin base, captivates as much as its music. With a minimum of eighteen strings, the primary playing string takes center stage, accompanied by strings providing ethereal resonance and rhythmic accompaniment.


The tabla and sitar, born in the heart of India, have transcended borders to become cherished musical treasures globally. Their rich histories, enigmatic origins, and unmatched versatility have left an indelible mark on the world's music landscape. These instruments, along with the talented musicians who master them, continue to evoke profound emotions, connecting people across cultures and standing as timeless ambassadors of India's musical heritage.

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IndiaFirst Life & the logical indian

Headquartered in Mumbai, IndiaFirst Life Insurance Company Limited (IndiaFirst Life), is one of the country's youngest life insurance companies. The Logical Indian is an independent and public-spirited digital media platform for Indian Millennials. IndiaFirst Life and The Logical Indian have come together to showcase India’s rich history of innovation in different fields of life which have made a significant mark on humanity and globally. Please note, The Logical Indian (5w1h Media) as an entity is responsible for source validation and fact-checking from credible sources of the articles posted on this page.