The father of all North Indian drums, the Pakhawaj is also known as the Mridang, the generic Sanskrit word for a barrel-shaped drum. The Pakhawaj is considered to be the ancient most percussion instrument of North India. According to mythology, Lord Brahma himself have created this divine instrument, from the skin and blood of an evil demon. When Lord Shiva have defeated Tripurasur, the demon with his trident, he started dancing his tandava, so the earth started shaking and falling apart, because the lack of proper rythm. Lord Brahma has decided to fix this situation by mixing the demon’s blood with the soil of Earth, and using his skin, to create the Pakhawaj, and ordering Lord Ganesh to play it.
In the old days, the instrument was used by sadhus (hindu monks) as a supplementary instrument for chanting religious prayers to gods, called shlokas. As a fruit of this ancient tradition, these religious poems still remain in practice, and are still the essence of Pakhawaj music.