The rudra veena is a large plucked string instrument used in Hindustani classical music. It is an ancient instrument rarely played today. The rudra veena declined in popularity in part due to the introduction of the surbahar in the early 19th century which allowed sitarists to more easily present the alap sections of slow dhrupad-style ragas.
The rudra veena has existed since the Vedic period and can be traced back to cave paintings in the sixth century. Like many instruments, the rudra veena has evolved quite a bit over time. It is believed that the original rudra veena was a lute instrument, and many also theorize that 'rudra veena' was a generic term used for many different instruments. Long ago during the Mughal period, the rudra veena was a very popular instrument and was considered the 'mother' of all Indian stringed instruments.
The rudra veena has a long tubular body with a length ranging between 54 and 62 inches made of wood or bamboo. Two large-sized, round resonators, made of dried and hollowed gourds, are attached under the tube. Twenty-four brass-fitted raised wooden frets are fixed on the tube with the help of wax. There are 4 main strings and 3 chikari strings.