Rajasthani Music: Tulcharam Bhopa plays Ravanhatta

In 2000, Vijaya and I traveled to Rajasthan, staying in Udaipur and Jaisalmer. I have loved Rajasthani music from the first time I heard it, and it was really a treat to listen to traditional artists in both cities.

The Ravanhatta (wiki spells it ravanahatha) is one of the oldest bowed instruments in the world.

The bowl is made of cut coconut shell, the mouth of which is covered with goat hide. A dandi, made of bamboo is attached to this shell. The principal strings are two: one of steel and the other of a set of horsehair. The long bow has jingle bells.[1]

The artists come from a lineage of bards, the Bhopas:

Every prominent family of the land-holding Rajput caste, I discovered, inherited a family of oral genealogists, musicians and praise singers, who celebrated the family’s lineage and deeds.


…unlike the ancient epics of Europe – the Iliad, the Odyssey, Beowulf and The Song of Roland – which were now the province only of academics and literature classes, the oral epics of Rajasthan were still alive, preserved by a caste of wandering bhopas who travelled from village to village, staging performances.

Some Bhopas, of course, make their living performing for tourists. There were three or four ravanhatta players on the cobbled walkway up to the Jaisalmer Fort. We listened briefly to each; the one who really stood out to our ears was Tulcharam Bhopa, and we recorded a few of his pieces. It was early evening of Indian Independence Day, August 15, 2000.

Here are some of our photographs of Jaisalmer accompanying the beautiful playing of Tulcharam Bhopa, whom I’m told died a few years ago.

Charitable Foundation named after Tlep Aspantayuly is held the I international competition for young kobyz-players (or bowed string folk instruments like rebab, rababa, ravanahatha, doshpuluur) from 9th to 10th of September 2016 in Astana, Kazakhstan. The contest is held in age category from 9 to 19 years. For more information, check out the official page: http:// http://www.kobyz2016.kz

Hi Renuka – I can’t tell you much about the people who make Ravanhatta, but perhaps these people would be helpful:



Warren Senders

24 Nov 2015, 11:53am
by renuka jadhav

Hello sir ,
As me and my college group has been assigned with a project on artisans with the topic ‘musical instruments’ and we have choosed ravanhatta as our instrument to work on. I would appreciate it very much if you share some information about the artisans who make ravanhatta and there living style.
Thank you
Renuka Jadhav

I Realy Like Tulsaram Bhopa’s Folk Voice.
very good Collection.

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Mayur Audio Visual Productions brings you the great Folk Rajasthani music. With songs ranging from Love, Sadness and Patriotism, Sun Dikhandi Baadli offers a great experience to the listener and makes you more attracted towards Folk Rajasthani Music. Rajasthani Folk Song Written & Composed by Famous Poet, Lyricist & Music Director Shri Gajanan Verma who had dedicated all his life to Rajasthani Music and Literature. This album is a tribute to him.

it was nice to see this video its very gr8 honor to see this kind of Rajasthani video.all actor/actress perform well in this album my heartiset congratulation to all of team thnx

Hello Waren!

It was nice to watch this music. I´m making a video work about the musicians of the thar desert, and i was in Jaisalmer in the beginning of this year. I filmed Tulcharam and is son working and playing, you will be glad to know that he is alive. I want to talk with you because i would like to use your recordings on the documentary. Thanks for your attention and for the recordings you made.


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