The bansuri, also known as the Indian bamboo flute, is one of the oldest musical instruments in the world. It is, for past few decades, an integral part of Indian classical music and has a rich history and mythology associated with it.

In this article, we will delve into the mythological background of the bansuri, the process of how the first bansuri was made, archaeological evidence that supports the claims of the bansuri being the oldest musical instrument, the various forms and sizes of the bansuri, and how to play this beautiful instrument.

Mythological Background

The bansuri of the Indian bamboo flute is closely associated with Lord Krishna, who is depicted playing the instrument in various scriptures and artwork. Legend has it that Lord Krishna was enchanted by the sweet sounds of the bansuri played by a cowherd boy, and he decided to learn how to play it himself.

It is also said that Lord Shiva gave him a bansuri and he learned the divine instrument from none other than the godess of music Maa Saraswati.

Origin of the First Bansuri

Mythological Point of View

There is no specific mention in Indian mythology about the origin of bansuri making, but it is believed that the art of making bansuri has been passed down through generations of musicians and craftsmen.

In the story of Lord Krishna, it is said that he played a bansuri made from a bamboo reed. This suggests that bamboo was likely used as the primary material for making the bansuri in ancient India.

Archaeological Evidence

There is evidence to suggest that the bansuri is indeed the oldest musical instrument in the world. Archaeological excavations have revealed bamboo flutes in various parts of the world that date back thousands of years. In India, bansuri-like instruments have been found in the ruins of the Indus Valley Civilization, which dates back to around 3000 BCE. These ancient flutes were made from bamboo, bone, and ivory, and were used for both secular and religious purposes.

Forms and Sizes of the Bansuri

The bansuri comes in a variety of sizes and forms, with the most common being the six-holed bansuri. The length of the bansuri determines its pitch, with shorter bansuris producing higher notes and longer bansuris producing lower notes. The most common bansuri is the C scale bansuri, which is around 14 inches in length. Bansuris can also be made in other scales, such as D, E, and G, to suit different musical compositions.

Apart from the six-holed bansuri, there are also bansuris with more than six holes, such as the eight-holed bansuri and the ten-holed bansuri. These instruments are more complex to play and require greater skill and dexterity.

Playing the Bansuri

Playing the bansuri requires a combination of breath control, finger placement, and embouchure. The embouchure refers to the way the lips are positioned around the mouthpiece of the bansuri. Beginners can start by practicing the basic notes and gradually working their way up to more complex compositions.

To play the bansuri, hold the instrument vertically and blow across the mouthpiece, using your fingers to cover and uncover the holes to produce different notes. The thumb and pinky fingers are used to stabilize the instrument, while the other fingers are used to cover the holes. The bansuri is a versatile instrument and can be used to play a wide range of musical styles, including classical, folk, and devotional music.


The bansuri is a beautiful and versatile instrument that has a rich history and mythology associated with it. Its simplicity and ease of playability have made it a popular choice for musicians all over the world. If you’re looking for an instrument that is both easy to learn and beautiful to listen to, the bansuri is a great option.

Additional Information

  • The bansuri is a transverse flute, which means that it is held horizontally and blown across the mouthpiece.
  • The bansuri is typically made from bamboo, but it can also be made from other materials, such as m etal and wood.
  • The bansuri is a popular instrument in Indian classical music, but it is also used in other genres, such as folk music and jazz.
  • There are many different types of bansuri, ranging in size and shape. The most common type of bansuri is the six-hole d bansuri, but there are also eight-holed and ten-holed bansuris.
  • The bansuri is a relatively easy instrument to learn, but it can take years to master.
  • If you are int erested in learning to play the bansuri, there are many resources available online and in libraries.

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