top of page

Pungi, Snake Charmer's Flute in Vegetable Gourd and Bamboo


The creation of the pungi or bean, as commonly referred to, has no date to its origin or lineage. Yet, its been the jungle book snake charmer's delight, since time. Though folklore has it, that it was originally created for added musical value amongst folk singers, it seemed to have grabbed the attention of snakes that merely got mesmerized by its very presence and thus claimed its fame as the snake charmers accompaniment.

Similar to the Chinese Hulusi, this wind instrument is typically one to two feet long, consisting of one/two reeds or bamboos for the drone and melody each and is attached to a mouth blown air reservoir, normally made of naturally dried gourd. No smoker can ever dream of playing one of these, as it is played without a pause with the player employing the skilled art of circular breathing.

Unless you charm people with your skill in bag pipes or perhaps the trumpet, this dying craft has only museum status. For sure, it would continue to charm the world. Theres a hamlet in Rajasthan that specializes in this craft, but by and large remains cut off from the rest of the world, for want of any acknowledgement, let aside appreciation. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN & LEARN

Indias musical tradition dates back to the Indus valley civilization, around 3000 BC and one can trace its representation in the Vedas (ancient scriptures) referred to as sangeet sungeet - the three art forms of vocal, instrumental and dance, where taal (rhythm) and raag (melody) remain to this day the very essence of music and instrumentation. In fact, way back between 200 BC and 200 AD an ancient system natya shastra written by the sage Bharat Muni classified musical instruments into the categories of string, wind and percussion.

Varied instrumentation forms evolved across India thereafter, with their own traditional renditions and like the artist and artisan, are on the verge of final extinction. While these unusual instruments are playable, they come in their original semi crude form, just the way they have been turned by hand in villages, for village festivals over centuries.

Your hand may help revive and perhaps sustain the very birth of music.

handspun premium cashmere
handknit cashmere beanies
vegan silk stoles
pure cotton sarongs


bottom of page