Said to be created around 5000 BC by Raavan the scholar, the sarangi is the oldest bowed instrument still used today.

It has three main gut strings and the sound box is covered with goat skin. The name ‘Sa-rangi’ translates to ‘one-hundred colours.’ Because of it sonic versatility this instrument is known as the mother of all stringed instruments. The sarangi closely resembles the human voice and can easily be mistaken for a person singing.

During the time of the Sikh Gurus, the Sarangi was not used for spiritual purposes, it had a very different role in society. In the court of the sixth Sikh Guru, Guru Hargobind Sahib, it was brought back into the spiritual arena. The Sarangi was promoted and used to sing the 22 Vaars (ballads) written within Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji.

There are many varieties of sarangi. The dhadd/todha sarangi is used to sing dhadi vaars.