is a metallic musical instrument which resembles a miniature pair of cymbals. This instrument from Kerala in southern India is completely made out of bronze and has two pieces in it. Elathalam is played by keeping one part of the cymbal in left hand hand banging the other cymbal to the one in left hand. Even though this instrument is small by size, it does have more thickness than the common cymbal, and thus gives a distinct chime.


is an hourglass-shaped drum from Kerala in south India. This handy percussion instrument is very similar to the pan-Indian damaru. While the damaru is played by rattling knotted cords against the resonators, the idakka is played with a stick. Like the damaru, the idakka's pitch may be bent by squeezing the lacing in the middle. The left hand is used for tightening and loosening the tape wound round the middle.

Kombu Pattu

is one of the few instrumental temple art forms in which the melody instruments dominate. Even this is only partly true, as the C-shaped trumpet, the kombu, is regarded as a rhythm instrument by its players, with the function of embellishing the beats of the drums. The kombu can only produce three notes (sa, pa, and higher sa). The genre is played by a group of kombu players (3, 5, 7, or 9), led by the kombu leader.

Panchari Melalm

is a percussion ensemble, canonically lasting more than four hours, performed during temple festivals in Kerala, India. Panchari Melam (or, simply, panchari), is one of the major forms of chenda melam (ethnic drum ensemble), and is the best-known and most popular kshetram vadyam (temple percussion) genre. Panchari melam, comprising instruments like chenda, ilathalam, kombu and kuzhal, is performed during virtually every temple festival in central Kerala.


literally meaning an orchestra of five instruments, is basically a temple art form that has evolved in Kerala. Of the five instruments, four -- timila, maddalam, ilathalam and idakka -- belong to the percussion category, while the fifth one, kombu, is a wind instrument.


is a classical percussion concert or melam (ensemble) led by the ethnic Kerala instrument called the chenda and accompanied by ilathalam (cymbals), kuzhal and Kombu. A full-length Pandi, a melam based on a thaalam (taal) with seven beats, lasts more than two-and-a-half hours, and is canonically performed outside temples. It has basically four stages, each of them with rhythmic cycles (thaalavattam) totalling 56, 28, 14 and seven respectively.

Sinkari Melam

is the common name for percussion instruments that are unique to Tamilnadu, Kerala and parts of South India. The most traditional of all melams is the Pandi Melam, which is generally performed outside the temple. Another melam called the Panchari Melam, which is similar to Pandi Melam, but the Panchari Melam is played inside the temple.


is a type of solo chenda performance that developed in the south Indian state of Kerala, A thayambaka performance on the chenda has thus its focus on the stick-and-palm rolls produced on the itantala of the chenda, while the rhythm is laid by his fellow instrumentalists on the valanthala chendas and ilatalam.

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