Ravanhatta - Of Bards and Villains
It is an instrument most popularly associated with wandering bards and folk musicians in Rajasthan. But did you know that the simple stringed instrument known as the Ravanhatta is said to have been invented by Ravana the villain of the Indian Epic – Ramayana. While there is an interesting story, within the story of the legend, what is important is that even music historians from across the world, vouch for the Ravanhatta’s antiquity. Some claim, that this simple stringed instrument is the ancestor of the modern Violin.
The Ravanhatta is a fiddle played by the bards and minstrels of the Nayaka community in Rajasthan and Gujarat. Known as Bhopas, these minstrels perform religious-themed songs in honour of Pabuji, the folk deity of the Rabari or shepherd community of Rajasthan. There are more than 32 different nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes living in Rajasthan, each with their own unique cultural identity and traditions. Rabaris are pastoralists and camel herders who believe they were sent by Lord Shiva to tend the camels owned by Parvati.