The making of a famous drum - a Chenda comes alive

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Chenda is a native drum used either in art forms like Kathakali or played independently. Making this percussion instrument is a long and painstaking process.

The edanthala (left face) of the chenda is made of cow hide while the valanthala (right face) is carved out of bull skin. The dry hide is fastened on hollow wooden rings - cut out from the trunk of a palm tree - using a special gum.

The skin is then secured to the cylindrical frame (kutti) and tuned by pulling ropes through holes pierced on both the faces, thus stretching the heads. The skin is then secured to the cylindrical frame called kutti made up of jackwood and tuned by pulling ropes through holes pierced on both the faces, thus stretching the heads. The edanthala has two layers of skin and is smooth while the valanthala is sturdier with seven layers and lasts longer.

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