Traditional ghungharu (left) / padded ghungharu (right)
Ghungharu are the "tinkle-bells" or "jingle bells" which are used to adorn the feet of dancers. When tied to the feet, they are played by the act of dancing. They may also be played by hand. This instrument evolved from the payal which are traditional anklets worn by women in India.
The terms payal and ghungharu are nearly interchangeable; there is but a slight difference in the colour of the word. Whereas the term ghungharu evokes an image of the musical or dance performance, the term payal evokes the image of a mere adornment of the feet. The term payal shows up repeatedly in song and poetry in northern India where it is said to be an indication of a girl's comings and goings, her dancing, and a general joyous mood of the wearer.
There are two common forms of the ghungharu. The traditional form is merely a number of bells woven together on a string. However today it is common to find them stitched to a padded cushion. This may then be strapped to the feet of a dancer. Both forms are shown in the accompanying illustration.
© 1998 - 2017 David and Chandrakantha Courtney
For comments, corrections, and suggestions, kindly contact David Courtney at [email protected]