In ancient Hindu sculpture, painting, and mythology, the mridangam is often depicted as the instrument of choice for a number of deities including Ganesha (the remover of obstacles) and Nandi, who is the vehicle and follower of Shiva. Nandi is said to have played the mridangam during Shiva’s primordial tandava dance, causing a divine rhythm to resound across the heavens. The mridangam is thus also known as “Deva Vaadyam,” or “Divine Instrument”.
Over the years, the mridangam evolved to be made of different kinds of wood due to its increased durability, and today, its body is constructed from wood of the jackfruit tree. It is widely believed that the tabla, the mridangam’s Hindustani musical counterpart, was first constructed by splitting a mridangam in half. With the development of the mridangam came the tala (rhythm) system. The system of talas (or taalams) in Carnatic music may be the most complex percussive rhythm system of any form of classical music
The importance of Playing has changed over the years. In the old days, percussionists only used to accompany the lead player like the vocalist but this time their development is not restricted to accompaniment only but also to play one instrument shows.
– Mysore Vadiraj