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Dhak & Dhaki

The dhak (Bengali: ঢাক) is a huge membranophone instrument from South Asia. The shapes differ from the almost cylindrical to the barrel. The manner of stretching the hide over the mouths and lacing also varies. It is suspended from the neck, tied to the waist and kept on the lap or the ground, and usually played with wooden sticks. The left side is coated to give it a heavier sound.

Drum beats are an integral part of Durga Puja

Dhakis (Bengali: ঢাকি) are traditional drummers who play the dhak (drum) during Hindu festivals, primarily in Bengal. Drum beats are an integral part of the five-day long annual festivities associated with Durga Puja but dhakis are losing out to pre-recorded CDs and cassettes.

Dhakis perform mostly in pandals of barowari pujas, starting from Viswakarma Puja till Kali Puja, but are most prominent during Durga Puja. For the latter festival Kolkata has over 2,000 pandals, with numerous more in the districts. Even a small pandal without the beat of dhaks is unimaginable. Every makeshift tent has a dhak

The Statesman writes “Durga Puja does not assume the festive aura without the maddening beats of the dhak, the large drum that men hang around their necks and play with two thin sticks to infuse the frenzied rhythm into listeners. Those enchanting beats are enough to conjure up the sights and smells of Durga Puja.”

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