From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Ghatam, GhaTam, Ghatam

Ghatam is the next important percussion instruments in the South Indian classical music vocal or instrumental, after the mṛdaṅgam. It is a large earthen pot carefully prepared so as to give a musical sound when beaten with the finger-tips and palms of the hands.

Unlike the mṛdaṅgam, the śruti or the tonic of the ghaṭam cannot be changed. Hence, the player of a ghaṭam generally keeps a large number of them to suit the different śrutis of the singers.


Modes of Music

Though the roots of Indian music are originally one, it gradually branched off into two systems:

  1. The North Indian - Uttarādi
  2. The South Indian - Dakṣiṇādi

The South Indian classical music retained its original flavor whereas the North Indian system attained a distinctness of its own. It happened due to the Persian influence wrought on it during the Mughal period.


  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore