Rare Musical Instruments Museum (Chennai - Tamil Nadu)

Recently the Development of Centre for Musical Instrument of the Govt. of India organized an exhibition of Rare Musical Instruments. This exhibition was at Lalit Kala Academy, Chennai. However, if you wish to see, the perennial exhibition is at the Govt. Office (address at the end of the post). Here are some for you...

The above 4 are called Yazh, which is similar to the Harp of western music. Yazh is an ancient Dravidian instrument. Yazh is used a lot in the ancient Tamil literature, however Thirumayam is the only place where it is shown in sculpture. Remember the huge panel clicked by Ashok, at Thirumayam? It's the only place where Thumburu is depicted holding a Yazh, near Naradha who holds a thambura. The first one is Sakota Yazh, second is Villu Yazh with a pedestal, third is Makara (Crocodile) Yazh, and the last is Matsya (Fish) Yazh.
This is called the Narayana Veena which was an experimental stringed instrument which was a mix of harp, veena and thambura, developed by Sangeetha Vadyalaya, inspired by the Koto of Japan. 
This is the Kinnari, the oldest stringed instrument of India, created by Kinnara, of the Hindu Mythology. This has 12 frets, strings for playing music and strings used for drone. 
This is the Samasti Veena. In front of it is the Kakkara. Its the tribal musical instrument of Savaras, Puliyans and Kanikars of Kerala
This is the Rudra Veena which is still being used in Hindustani Music, the north Indian Classical Music. Ravana, the mythological king of Lanka, played this instrument. 
These 2 are called the Suriya Pirai (Sun shaped) and Chandra Pirai (Moon Shaped), which are drums used in the Mariamman temples of several villages. (Remember Mariamman temple festival of Karur???)
This triple faced drum is called the Pushkaram.
A snake shaped trumpet called Nagaswaram!
Right at the centre is Revalve Thambura, a complicated drone instrument. On either sides the 4 instruments are more varieties of thambura called Vamsee Sruthi, Sruthi Dandi, Vamsee Sruthi Dandi. All these are drone instruments, designed and developed by Sangita Vadyalaya, the development centre for Musical Instruments, Chennai. 
At the left is Gopichand aka Gopiyantra, a folk instrument played by the wandering singers called Baul of Bengal. At the centre is Balalaika, a Russian guitar with 3 strings.
This so very unique piece is a Phono Violin, an ancient European violin!!!

Development Centre for Musical Instruments
Ministry of Textiles, Govt. of India.
759, Anna Salai, Chennai - 600002.
Ph: +91 44 2859 2485
Do call and enquire timings and working days and existence of the exhibition (though perennial, it shouldn't be closed for renovation when you visit, right?!!), and then visit...


An ardent traveler by passion. Being an ex - Art History Teacher, my area of interest especially lies in Nature and Heritage. Visited 78 UNESCO World Heritage sites as of Sept 2020. I've been listed among the Top 7 Women Travel Bloggers of India, Top 50 in UK. I have been interviewed in a couple of TV Shows, Radio Channels and Events as well. Read more about me and read the testimonials of different brands