A variety of drums are used in the Himachal area. Drums like Dhol, Dholku,
Dolki, Nagara, Dammama, Damanght, Nagarth, Gajju, Doru, Hudak and Dhaunsa
are some of them. In the Kinnaur, Lahaul, Pangi, Sirmaur and Kulu areas,
drums of different shapes and sizes are played at different festivals.
These are stored with great care in holy spots like temples, Gompas and
Madhis. Before they are played, flowers, turmeric paste and rice is offered
unto them and prayers are chanted. In the plains large drums known as
'Tamaka' are played at fairs. People belonging to the Bharai community
perform the ritual playing of this drum at the fair site and then all
the young ones sing and dance together to the beat of these drums. Playing
upon these, signals the beginning of a fair or a festival.
Among the Gaddis small round drums known as Dafale are
played at weddings. These are slung round the necks of the players and
rhythms like Dhamal and Lahauli are played upon these.
These drums are made with locally available material.
Their shapes and the methods of playing upon them reflects local traditions.
The Dhol of Kulu, the Damangtu and Nagartu of Sirmaur are all played differently
in the tribal areas. As soon as the drums sound the entire community gathers
together and loses itself in lusty singing and dancing. Earlier the Baren
(martial ballads) of Ram Singh Pathania were sung to the accompaniment
of Dafale by singers known as Adavale. These songs are sung in the Sirmaur
area. The largest of the drums is Dhaunsa which is played standing. Tung
Yung is a similar instrument.