Shehnai

The shehnai, is wind instrument, a double reed conical oboe, common in North India, West India and Pakistan, made out of wood, with a metal flare bell at the end.

Its sound is thought to create and maintain a sense of auspiciousness and sanctity and, as a result, is widely used during marriages, processions, and in temples of West India, although it is also played in concerts. The South Indian equivalent of the shehnai is the nadaswaram.


There are varying legends of the shehnai's origin. In one of these, a shah initially banned the playing of the pungi in his court due to its shrill sound. A barber, belonging to a family of musicians, improved on it and created the shehnai. As it was played in the Shah's court and giving due reference to the nai or barber, the new instrument was called shehnai.