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Thappu - preparatory mode to performance

The Padayani (patayani/padeni) ritual dance of Kerala, South India with martial art connotations performed in many temples of South Kerala uses many percussion instruments as accompaniment to the tempo of the dance. Thappu is one such instrument and the thappu-melam produced using it is important for the dance.

Thappu is a small, circular drum, made from the wood of the jackfruit tree and covered with buffalo hide. Only one end of it is closed and it can be played using sticks or with the palm.

The drum is made by warming it over an open flame for pretty long, after which it is brushed with a special type of leaves and then allowed to cool.