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Traditional Musical Instrument of Bhaktapur


       It is believed that there are about 200 (two hundred) types of original musical instruments in Nepal, and 108(one hundred eight types) of musical instruments have been found till date. The major musical instruments used by inhabitants of Thimi are as follows:

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       Dhimay is the most common musical instruments amongst the Newars. It is considered as the oldest musical instruments amongst the membranophones. Even though there is no evidence that Mahadeva invented this instruments (as legend says) but there is evidence to support that it dates back to Kirat period. It resembles the Chyabrung of Kirat Rais and Dhola of Tharus. Dhimay is played in almost all ceremonial marches by the Jyapus. They are found lost in dancing with deep rumble of Dhimay in festivals.
               Dhimay is constructed from cylindrical hollowed tree trunk with leather pads at both of its ends. Nowadays, Dhimays are frequently made of brass and other metals. the general size of Dhimay is 20" in length and 16" in diameter .Its left hand hide which sounds much higher is known as Nasah, whilst another hide is called Mankah or Haima. Mankah carries a tunning paste inside. Dhimays are of two kinds: bigger Ma Dhimay and smaller Dhahcha Dhimay or Yalaypoh Dhimay.
Dhimay has capacity to produce a multiple reverberating echo, which is its main feature. Dhimay is accompanied by Bhusyah (a pair of cymbals). Chhusyah and TainNain are also played in some places. 


       Gunla (a month according to Nepal Era) is taken as a Buddhist holy month. As Dhah is played during Gunla it is also termed as 'Gunla Bajan'.It looks similar to Dhimay but is slightly smaller than Dhimay.Dhah is constructed from cylindrical hollowed tree trunk slightly smaller than that of Dhimay. Tuning paste is stuck on the inner side of Mankah. Tuning paste is made of castor seeds, mustard oils etc.
             During the Gunla month, Dhah is also practiced in different dances and other different festivities. Dhah is accompanied by Bhusyah (pair of cymbals), Tah (smaller cymbals), Muhali (clarinet/trumpets) or Bansuri (flute). Ponga is also played in Bhairab dance of Thimi. 

       Myth says Paschima was invented by Lord Krishna. This instrument is also known as Mridanga. It is a double headed drum with tuning paste on one hide (Nasah) and dough made of wheat flour is plastered on the other hide (Mankah) before playing. Paschima is accompanied by Baboocha (thinner cymbals), Tah (thicker cymbal), Muhali (shwam) or Bansuri (flute).

       It is another musical instrument used in many rituals. This instruments is mainly played by the Khadgis, however, this instrument is also played by other castes. It is also called as 'NayaKhin' or 'Dyah Khin'. Since it is also played in funeral processions it is also known as 'Seeh Bajan' (funeral drum). In ancient times, there was a tradition to play fanfare on NayaKhin to proclaim the news. In the Malla period, proclaiming by the beating of NayaKhin was widely spread.
         The NayaKhin looks similar to Dhah but it is smaller. It is constructed from a hollowed tree trunk of an average size of 14" length and 7" diameter. It is played by producing a rubbing vibrato in Mankah hide. Whilst playing as the 'Seeh bajan ', it is accompanied by Chhusyah and Kaha. Similarly, whilst playing as the 'Gunla bajan' Tah is also played and instead of Kaha, Muhali is played. 

       DapaKhin has various names: Yakah Khin, Joh khin, Lala Khin, Deshi Khin, for instance. It is a double headed drum with tuning paste on both hides. Dapa Khin is mainly played in Dapa Bhajans (traditional hymns). If a single Khin is played it is called Yakah Khin and if two Khins are played, they are called as 'Joh Khin'. It is accompanied by Tah, Baboo and Bansuri (flute) or Muhali (Shwam).

Koncha Khin
       Koncha Khin is single headed drum resembling Tabla. It is also termed as 'Khicha Khwah Khin' as it is said that dogs start to howl when it is played. This musical instrument is mainly played in marriage processions and accompanied by baboo, Tah and Baya or Muhali.

       Muhali is a conical bore shawm, which is played only by Jugi (Kusle) caste. Jugis are given Khanki (land) for playing it in various occasions. There is a tradition to play Muhali everyday in Phalchas, i.e. roofed rest places, which tradition is also known as Siwa Yayegu. It accompanies Dhah, Dapha Khin, Paschima, Nagara and others. Muhali solo is played in Digu puja.
Bansuri (flute)
       Bansuri is a woodwind instrument which accompanies mainly Paschima, Dapha Khin or Koncha Khin. Basuri are of three kinds: Ghor, Majhawala and Teep, producing low, middle and high tones.

       Also known as Payantah, Ponga is a long wind instrument made of brass. Pongas are made by Tamoh or Tamrakar (Newar Coppersmith). It accompanies Kwatah Khin and it is also played in Bhailah Pyakhan (Bhairab Dance). [Audio]

       Nekoo or horn instrument is the oldest form of musical instruments in the globe. It is played during Gunla month. There are various types of Nekoo, Chatti Nekoo, Thika Nekoo, for instance.

       Sankha or konch is an ancient instrument. Playing of Sankha indicates starting of any new work. Sankha is played in 'MahGhah Wonegu' in dec-jan month. It is also played in different worships.

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