Knowledge and Information

Traditional Musical Instruments in Nepal

Written by Roshan Bhattarai · 5 min read >

Music is a language with no boundaries. The taste and choice of music may differ, but the common thing is, music gives us entertainment and relaxation. The world has a different form of music. Moreover, this music also differs from geography and communities. As music has no boundaries, anyone can love any music, be it from the US, Korea, Europe, India, Nepal, or anywhere in the world. However, the basic concept is people produce music using similar kinds of musical instruments. In this article, we have brought some very interesting facts about the traditional musical instruments in Nepal that are a fusion of culture, tradition, history, and music.

Nepal is rich in culture and tradition. We all know, these cultures and traditions have been in Nepal for centuries. They have a huge significance in the history of Nepal. Definitely, with time, the bad practices have been eradicated. And, along with that, we have started to learn many other things from other cultures.

Music has always been one of the major forms of art for centuries. Looking into history, people have invented different musical instruments from the very local resources and materials they have. And, this is no lesser than any genius invention. In Nepal too, we can find different traditional musical instruments that come from the very roots of Nepal.

Moreover, Nepal is a country full of folk and traditional music. From the Tharu community of the Terai to the Sherpas of the Himalayas, we all have different cultures and traditions. As different communities have their musical instruments.

These traditional musical instruments are made up of locally available raw materials such as wood, horn, leathers, etc. So, now let us look at these traditional musical instruments in Nepal.

Traditional Musical Instruments in Nepal

In Nepal, there are basically three categories of musical instruments. These are:

Percussion These musical instruments usually have a single note but are great for rhythm.
Wind Instruments that have a length of air that vibrates, so are blown.
String- These instruments have vibrating strings of different lengths.

There are over hundreds of traditional musical instruments in Nepal. Here we have listed some of the popular ones below:


Image Source: imart

Madal is one of the most important popular traditional musical instruments in Nepal. It is used as a hand drum in Nepal. The Madal is an instrument with a cylindrical hollow body, covered with leathers at the end. It is played with the help of two hands.

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Sarangi is a traditional musical instrument, basically played by the Gandharva community of Nepal. The Sarangi comprises a single piece of wood and the type of wood used determines the tonal quality of the instrument. It has a tight string that produces a melodious rhythm. Sarangi has the same design as the western musical instrument ”the violin”.


Image Source: Bansuri – Wikipedia

Bansuri is another popular traditional musical instrument in Nepal. It is made from a hollow bamboo pipe. Bansuri is played by blowing by holding it with two hands. As well as that, Bansuri is also played in other places of the world and is known as a flute.



Murchunga consists of a flexible metal or bamboo tongue, or reed attached to a frame. We play it by plucking its metal wire reed with the forefinger being gripped between the teeth. Moreover, to vary the volume of the note we need to breathe in and out.


Image Source: Wonders of Nepal

Dhimaya, Dhimaya, or Dhimabaja is a drum played by the Newar communities in Nepal. The size of Dhimay varies from a diameter of 40 inches to 51 inches and a length of 17 inches to 21 inches. The shell of this musical instrument is made of wood or metal.”. It is played with the help of two hands.

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Traditional Nepali Music – Panche Baja

Panche baja is one of the traditional bands in Nepal. It is played on festive occasions and weddings. A group of highly skilled musicians play the instruments together producing a great melody. Panche Baja is called Panche Baja because it is a group of five musical instruments played together. These five musical instruments are:

Jhyamta/Jhurma (Cymbal) – Panche Baja

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Jhyamta is a couple of flat round dish-like musical instruments made of brass or bronze. It is played by beating on each other.

Nagara/Damaha (A Drum) – Nepali Panche Baja

Image Source: Wooden Nagara Drum

Nagara is made of leather stretched over an end of a hollow copper bowl. Nagara is played by hitting with hands or sticks.

Tyamko – Panche Baja

Image Source: Tyamko | Nepalese

Another panche baja is Tyamko. It is similar to Damaha in shape but very small in size. it is played with two pieces of sticks called Gajo.

Shahanai (A kind of Clarinet):

Image Source: Nepal Music Gallery

Shahanai is one of the traditional musical instruments of Nepali Panche Baja. It is made of a metal shaped like a pipe slightly bent forward has a couple of holes, reed on the top. you need to blow it for playing.

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Narsingha (A Trumpet):

Image Source: NARSINGA

Narsinga is made of two pieces of curved copper tube. It is played by blowing air through its mouthpiece.


Image Source: Music Gallery

Jhyali is a traditional folk instrument from Nepal. They are thinly walled, consist of a pair of round, metal plates, resembling cymbals. Unlike most percussion, the Jhyali is played by rubbing the plates with the right hand rising and the left hand descending at the time when they clash.


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Tungna is one of the popular musical instruments from the Himalayan region. It is made from rhododendron. Tungna has four wires like the Sarangi.

Khainjadi (A Tambourine)

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Khainjadi is a kind of small drum made of skin stretched over an edge of rounded hollow wood. It is played during Bhajan-kirtan by Hindus. Khainjadi is a traditional Nepali-styled tambourine, completely hand-made using ox hide, seasoned wood, and bronze.


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Sankha is made up of a large shell of the conch found in the sea and ocean. It is played by blowing air into it with our mouth. Sankha is played during puja and other religious ceremonies of the Hindus.


Damphu is used in the Tamang community. It is made by covering the wood with leather.

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Image Source: iMartNepal

Dholak is made up of wood which is hollow inside and covered with leather. It is a widely used traditional musical in festivals and celebrations.


Dhyangro is a type of drum made of hollow wood by stretching leather on both of its edges. It is played with a curved stick called Gajo.


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Pungi is made of coconut shell and a hollow bamboo pipe. Pungi is used in the Terai to show the snake dance.


Image Source: yalamber-baja

Yalamber is made of bamboo with two wires, used by the Kirat community.


Image Source: Ektara

The sages and ascetics use Ekatare. It is made up of wood, leather, and string.

These are the popular traditional musical instrument of Nepal.

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In the end

Music and dance are some of the most important things in Nepali tradition and culture. Every festival, rituals, and ceremony have their taste of music. Traditional musical instrument adds taste in the music and dance. Moreover, traditional musical instruments in Nepal have strong religious importance. These traditional musical instruments produce melodious sounds that enhance the taste of music.

If we can promote these traditional musical instruments, all over the world definitely, Nepal will gain popularity for its traditional musical instruments. Moreover, it will also increase the business of these instruments. In addition, youth and new entrepreneurs will be attracted to this industry as well.

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