The Pakavaj (paka – pure; vaj – sound) is said to be the sister drum of the mridangam. This instrument is shaped almost like a Mridangam but is longer in length.
It is an instrument used very widely in dhrupad and dammar singing and as an accompaniment to a rare string instrument called the “been”. It is carved out of a single block of rose or jack wood, it is hollow in the centre and has caps on either sides made of hide. The right hand side cap has a mixture of black paste in the centre of the cap. The left hand side has mixture of tamarind in the inside of the cap. This provides the deep bass sound. The sound of this instrument is deep and mellow, it is also known as the mridang, and it is often used in kathak dance music. The late Raja Chatrapati Singh was the greatest Pakavaj player of all times, the present day maestro is Arjun Sejwal.