The rhythmic beats of Dhol Tasha ‘Pathaks’ (Groups or processions) have been an integral part of Pune and Maharashtra’s cultural fabric, resonating through the ages and capturing the essence of traditional festivities. In this blog, we dive into the captivating history, evolution, and cultural significance of Dhol Tasha, exploring its roots, the evolution of the instruments, and the modern-day relevance. Join us on a journey through time as we unravel the fascinating story behind the heartbeat of Maharashtra. For those of you would like to watch this in video form you can click our two part docu series on this topic using this link

History of Dhol Tasha
The history of Dhol Tasha dates its roots to the vibrant cultural landscape of Maharashtra. Historically, Dhol Tasha finds its origins in the traditional folk music and dance forms of the region. This is a man made festival introduced by Lokmanya Tilak used to bring people together. Used initially as a means of communication during festivals and celebrations, the beats of Dhol Tasha served as a unifying force, bringing communities together. The rhythmic ensemble gained prominence during the era of Maratha rulers, where it became an integral part of processions, and ceremonies especially the Ganesh festival (both to welcome and say goodbye to the idol). Over time, Dhol Tasha became synonymous with the spirit of Maharashtra, embodying the rich cultural heritage of the state.

Evolution of Dhol Tasha Instruments

The primary instruments include the ‘Dhol’ and ‘Tasha.’ The Dhol is a large, cylindrical and double-headed drum, while the Tasha is a smaller high-pitched, single-headed drum. Both drums are slung onto the body of the player using colourful cloth straps. Both instruments are crafted with precision, using simple, traditional materials and techniques. In the procession, there are lejihim (traditional tambourine) dancers situated ahead, behind them are the dhol drummers who encircle the smaller group of tasha drummers. The tasha drummers serve the purpose of the snare drummers in a drumming ensemble. The music follows a usual call and response format and moves from a usual variation of 4 – 5 rhythm patterns. There are a few flag (Dwaj) dancers at the peak of the ensemble who help lead the procession and also dance to the pulse of the rhythm, keeping the entire procession in sync and on time. The instruments used in Dhol Tasha have evolved over the years, adapting to changing musical tastes, requirements and advancements. 

Cultural Relevance

Dhol Tasha plays a pivotal role in Maharashtra’s cultural and religious celebrations. Whether it’s the grandeur of Ganesh Chaturthi processions or the exuberance of Navratri festivities, the rhythmic beats of Dhol Tasha add a distinct vibrancy to the atmosphere. There is no Ganesh festival without dhol tasha drumming. In fact, many other celebrations be it political in nature, some weddings, welcome ceremonies for celebrities are all accompanied with Dhol Tasha drumming. The sound has the power to evoke a sense of celebration, community, transcending barriers and fostering a collective spirit of joy.

Dhol Tasha Pathak Names and How to Join in Pune

Participation in a Dhol Tasha Pathak (group) has become a popular avenue for those eager to be a part of this cultural phenomenon. People regardless of age, gender and level of musicianship gather during the monsoons to practice and rehearse with the group that will be ‘hired’ by various Mandals (geography based groups) to lead their Ganesh idol for welcome or immersion. This is not a for-profit activity but the funds raised by the community through the Mandals help these Pathaks cover their costs of venue hire for rehearsals, drum purchase and maintenance and so on… Pune, being a cultural hub, boasts numerous Dhol Tasha Pathaks, each with its unique style and identity. Joining a Dhol Tasha Pathak in Pune is an exciting opportunity for enthusiasts. Prospective members can explore and simply approach a group based on where they live and inquire about practice schedules, and immerse themselves in the infectious energy of the Dhol Tasha community.

What is Dhol Tasha?

In essence, Dhol Tasha is not just a musical group drumming procession or performance; it is a cultural expression, a rhythmic language that communicates the spirit of Pune, Nasik and the whole of Maharashtra. It embodies community; the resilience, vibrancy, and unity of the people. Beyond its musical notes, Dhol Tasha is a celebration of tradition, a testament to the cultural richness that defines Maharashtra.


As we trace the history, evolution, and cultural relevance of Dhol Tasha, we uncover a timeless art form that continues to thrive and resonate across generations. Drumming equals joy. Taal is in everyone and everything. The beats of Dhol Tasha transcend time, carrying with them the echoes of Maharashtra’s rich cultural heritage. Join the celebration, feel the rhythm, and become a part of the living history that is Dhol Tasha. Try it out as a new hobby this year and let me know how the process was for you… It will be a memorable one for sure… 

Come. Drum. Be One. 
Varun Venkit
Team Taal Inc.