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Posts: 2
Reply with quote  #1 
My name is Olivier, i'm from France but live in V=Canada since 10 years.
I am an amateur guitar builder, i do replicas of 30's selmer guitars, and my regular job gave me the opportunity of spending 4 month in Pune, Maharshtra.
I couldn't miss this occasion of buying a sitar, and have indian classical music lessons.
My Gurudji is Padit Shekhar Borkhar, a renowed Sarod player, disciple of Padit Ali Akbar Khan.
I took the 6h30 trip to Miraj, to fulfill my curiosity about instrument builders in India, My Pune sitar maker, Yussuf Mirajkar gave me the contact of his shop in Miraj, and i was realy delighted and really well welcome by all the guys there.
Here are some pictures.
A mini Tempura made of ostrich eggshell
la touche creus

Posts: 490
Reply with quote  #2 
merci mille fois Olivier! what great pix- you must have had a wonderful time in Miraj Sitar Lutherie Paradise. we can always learn something new even from small details in such pictures. The ostrich shell sitari was lovely, also that big strange sursringar[?]
I'd still like to know how they do such fast French polish finishing- when it's well done, very remarkable.
when I see your pix can imagine the smells of the wood and the whole milieu. great job man!

Posts: 351
Reply with quote  #3 
Strange as it may sound - using an ostrich egg for the toomba for a tanpura
is the original design. Pumpkin gourds came later. The first tanpura that
Miraj luthiers ever copied - was a gift to the head architect who'd designed
and supervised the building of a mosque in Miraj at the behest of the
Maharaja of Kashmir. That same tanpura was the seed of the instrument
making industry in Miraj - which heretofore had no industry at all. Where
the original ostrich egg tanpura came from before being in the hands of
the Maharaja - remains unknown.

"More harm is done by fools through foolishness
then is done by evildoers through wickedness."

The Prophet Mohammed

Posts: 437
Reply with quote  #4 
I had no idea about Ostrich Egg tanpuras. How strong is an ostrich shell? I'm guessing they have to be somewhat durable but I've never touched one myself. Do they have a big different in sound compared to a gourd tanpura?

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Posts: 2,233
Reply with quote  #5 
I love seeing Indian instruments being made.
During the process they seem so rough in construction but then POOF the come out the other end so beautiful.
Love that sursringar. (At least I am guessing that is what it is)

Ostrich shells are very strong.
You can stand on an ostrich egg without breaking it.
I bet is is still fragile enough to have to protect it like you would a gourd toomba.

Posts: 163
Reply with quote  #6 
Great shots, thanks for sharing them.

Notice the large staple holding the repaired crack in place on the open tumba that they will have to disguise in the finishing process. I hope this is not destined to sell for top dollar (rupee). Are these kind of cracks common at this stage of construction or are these guys just being frugal to not waste an otherwise good gourd?


Posts: 46
Reply with quote  #7 
There are some very nice anecdotes about the beginnings of Miraj instrument making
and the first builder over there, Faridsaheb Sitarmaker, somewhere in Deodhar's "Pillars of Hindustani Music".
He always sat in front of his house, waiting for wandering ministrels, because they used gourds
for collecting money and he tried to talk them into exchanging the gourds for metal cups.
Also he tried to collect every umbrella passing Miraj - from the metal parts he made the first strings.

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Senior Member
Posts: 143
Reply with quote  #8 
Hi Olivier,

Thank you for the post and photos! I am very curious about the sursringar in one of the photos.

Does anyone have information on how to get in touch with the maker?


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