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Manganiar children performing with their guru at Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur at World Sufi Spirit Festival in 2016.
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Rajasthan, India · Sindh, Pakistan
Marwari · Sindhi · Dhatki

The Manganiar are a community found in the desert of Rajasthan, India; mostly in the districts of Barmer and Jaisalmer, but also found in the districts of Tharparkar and Sanghar in the bordering province of Sindh in Pakistan.[citation needed] They are known for various compositions describing stories from Hindu mythology focused on humans, nature, and salvation. They, along with the Langha community, are known for their folk music. They are groups of hereditary professional musicians whose music has been supported by wealthy landlords and aristocrats for generations.

History and origin

The Manganhars consider themselves descendants of the Rajputs and are renowned as folk musicians of the Thar desert. Their songs are passed on from generation to generation as a form of oral history of the desert. The traditional Jajman (patrons) of the Manganhar are the locally dominant Rajput and Charan communities,[1] while the Langha have a similar relationship with the Sindhi-Sipahi, a community of Muslim Rajputs. At times of birth, marriage, or any family festivity for their Rajput patrons, the manganhar musicians sing songs of the desert and many specially composed songs to praise the patron and his family.[citation needed][dubious ].

Present circumstances

In 1978, Jodhpur-based musician Komal Kothari provided the Manganhars with institutional support, allowing them to sing outside the state for the first time. Currently, several Manganhar groups tour internationally.


The 17-string khamaycha is a bowed instrument. Made of mango wood, its rounded resonator is covered with goat skin. Three of its strings are goat intestine while the other 14 strings are steel.

The khartaal is a kind of castanet made of teak. Its name is derived from "Khar", meaning hand, and "Taal", meaning rhythm.

The dholak is a hand drum similar in timbre to a bongo. A dholak may have traditional lacing or turnbuckle tuning. The dholak has a simple membrane and a handle on the right hand side. The left hand membrane has a special coating on the inner surface. This coating is a mixture of tar, clay and sand (dholak masala) which lowers the pitch.

Notable people


  1. ^ "Musafir". LA Phil. Retrieved 30 May 2022. Manghaniyars, like Langas, are sedentary Muslims whose home extends over the border into Pakistan, but their patrons are mostly Hindu Rajputs (a high caste) and Hindu Charans (a caste of poets, bards, and historians).