Newari Instrument: Dhimay

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Dhimay is one of the most precious Newari cultural musical instrument. It is played in special ceremonies and festivals, like Indrajatra, Dashain, Tihar, Holi, etc. It is an ancient musical instrument which was played by famous Hindu gods like Mahadev, Bhairav, Harati Mata, Naasha Dyo, etc. It is said that gods play Dhimay whenever they are happy. It was especially played by Mahadev. Dhimay are made of steel and animal skin. Dhimay are often made of wood and animal skin. There is a belt attached to Dhimay that is kept around the right arm of the player. Only Newari people are trained to paly Dhimay, especially Jyapu (farmer where “Jya” means work and “apu” means easy) group are trained to play Dhimay. Mainly Dhimay is practiced in Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, and Lalitpur. These days, Dhimay is especially trained to the children who are of 11 to 12 years of age to the different parts of the city. Not only boys but girls are also encouraged to play it in this modern world. In the old ages, girls weren’t allowed to play it.

There are basically two types of Dhimay:
  1. Thulo or Big Dhimay
  2. Sano or Small Dhimay

Thulo Dhimay is big and heavy, which is played very slowly. It is played in special festivals and ceremonies whereas Sano Dhimay is small and may be light or heavy. The Sano Dhimay is usually played in very fast beat. It is played in special Jatras (festivals) like Indrajatra, Ghodejatra, Bisketjatra, etc.

Since it is the instrument of the Newars it is trained in Nepal Bhasa language only and the beats and sounds are pronounced as Nepal Bhasa too. Dhimay training is usually of one year’s duration. The instrument Dhimay really has been one of the precious trademark of the Newars.

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