Photo of Chitter Bhopa, a Bhopa-bhopi singer-priest, plays a Ravanhatha instrument with his family at camp in the Thar Desert during the Pushkar Mela or Pushkar Fair, Pushkar Village, Thar Desert, Rajasthan, India.
Chitter Bhopa is a traditional story-teller who plays a Rajasthani oral epic about Pabujii Maharaja Ki Pady, a mediaeval Rathor Rajput prince worshipped as a deity by Rajasthan's Rebari herdsmen. The epic is about the life of the 14th century hero, Pabuji and his adventures are traditionally told by the Bhopas in front of a Par; a 30 foot-long painted tapestry that functions as a portable temple with painted or sewn miniature scenes depicting Pabuji's story. The Bhopas play a Ravanhatha fiddle with a female singer reciting Pabuji's epic to the public. The Bhopa musical communities live a rural base and function as wandering minstrels traveling from village to village carrying on the Pabuji Ki Phad tradition.
The story is painted onto a long cloth called a Par which is rolled up to transport. This Par telling the story of Pabujii is a portable temple for the deity and the Bhopa-priests teach the epic to their children using the Par.
The instrument he plays is called a Ravanastron or Ravanhatha, an Indian stringed instrument played with a bow. Hindu tradition affirms that the musical bow was invented before 3000 BC by Ravanon, king of Ceylon or Sri Lanka and the instrument was named after him, Ravanastron. The Ravanastron consists of half a round gourd, over which is fixed a sound-board of skin or parchment; to this is attached a wooden neck about twice the length of the instrument's body. The strings are either one or four in number, the pegs being set in the sides of the Ravanastron's neck.
Location of picture - Pushkar Rajasthan India
picture id: 09_inraj040