Department of Cultural Affairs, Government of Kerala


Kurumkuzhal is another wind instrument of Kerala. It is also known as ‘mukha veena’. It is akin to the nagaswaram. The difference is only in the length. This instrument is made from the wood of certain trees. A hollow pipe or tube, it is blown in accompaniment to the chenda during festivals or ritual processions. Kurumkuzhal is used in Pandi Panchari (chenda melams), pancha vadya ensemble, Kutiyattam etc. In chenda ensemble, the kurumkuzhal artiste faces the chenda player. The ‘srutikuzhal’ of Kurumkuzhal will not have holes. The ‘muradu’ used for blowing and ‘Kalam’ is tied with bell metal/bronze. A special kind of grass is used for blowing ‘muradu’.

While ‘nagaswaram’ is used as accompaniment to songs, Kurumkuzhal is not used. This is because its melody decreases. And kurumkuzhal is an instrument used in traditional orchestras and is used in Pandi, Panchari, Panchavadyam and in the classical art form, Kutiyattam. In Chenda Melam, each Chenda player is faced by a Kurumkuzhal player. Kurumkuzhal is also used by Paraya caste while playing the role of demons (Poothamkettuka).  

Kurumkuzhal is quite similar to the Hindustani musical instrument, Shehanai.

Kurumkuzhal can’t be played inside the temple during the time of Pooja / rituals, because while playing this instrument saliva is emitted.

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