One of the ancient instruments in India, the Veena holds a prime position in classical music instruments. Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu is famed for being the hub of making the instrument. Here the artisans have been handcrafting the Veena for generations. The Thanjavur Veena is the first musical instrument in the country to get the GI (Geographical Indication) tag.
Some of the most incredible crafts and artisans emerge from the rural belts of Tamil Nadu. Consider Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu. Here, the artisans make the wood sing. And how!
The Veena, one of the ancient musical instruments, gets handcrafted here, a craft that takes painstaking hours to complete. The Veena created from Thanjavur is called the 'Thanjavur Veena' or 'Tanjore Veena'.
For the artisans in Thanjavur, making the Veena is itself an art. To fashion out a Veena with good tonal quality and clean and crisp notes requires immense craftsmanship. And so master craftsmen are involved in Veena making as the skill cannot be learned or perfected quickly.
The work involves making the resonator (kudam), the neck (dandi) and a tuning box, the three integral parts of the Veena. It all starts with ensuring that the sizing of the wood is accurate. The artisans of Thanjavur have been at it for generations. Jackfruit wood is used to make the Veena and involves a laborious task that will take up to 15-20 days to get a finished product. The wood gets cut, intricately carved, shaped, and assembled. In the case of 'Ottu' veena, the parts are made separately and assembled. In the case of 'Ekantha' veena, it gets carved out of the whole wood of the jackfruit tree.
The Thanjavur Veena has yet another feather to its cap, with it being the first musical instrument in the country to get the GI (Geographical Indication) tag.