2010 – By Lake Pichola in Udaipur, Rajastan … Kishna plays his Rawan-Hattha on the steps of Gangaur Ghat.
The Rawanahattha (ravanhatta, rawanhattha, rawan-hatta, ravanastron or ravana hasta veena) is a bowed fiddle popular in Western India. It is believed to have originated among the Hela civilisation of Sri Lanka in the time of King Ravana.
For most of the year you can find Kishna around Gangaur Ghat in Udaipur playing Rajasthani folk tunes from the desert on his rawan-hattha. Kishnas wife & some of his children are always nearby as she has a large range of Rajastani jewellery spread out on a cloth for sale.
These instruments normally have one main horsehair string and a longer steel string with up to a dozen or more steel sympathetic strings under the bowed ones. The bow traditionally uses horsehair and has a cluster of small bells at the tip. The strings are attached to a bamboo stem one and a half to three feet long which in turn is attached to a half shell of coconut with a goat-skin resonator.
Due to the shortage of horse-tails in Udaipur … they now use a long-lasting thicker nylon main string and violin nylon strings for the bow. The horsehair strings wore out very quickly and the few horse owners in Udaipur started complaining!