Drums consist of a hollowed-out piece (the body), a membrane stretched over the end of the drum, and occasionally (but not necessarily) tuning keys or pegs which tighten or loosen the membrane to achieve different tones. It is this membrane and its vibration which reates the sound when struck.
Drums first appeared as far back as 6000 BC. Mesopotamian excavations unearthed small cylindrical drums dated 3000 BC. Several wall markings found in caves in Peru show drums used in various aspects of societal life. The American Indians used gourd and wooden constructed drums for their rituals and ceremonies. Drums have always been used for more than merely creating music.
In India, percussion instruments too have a long history. We have both the two-faced drums such as the dhol, the dholak, the pakhawaj or the mirdangam as well as the single-faced ones like the tabla or the drums in the pictures which accompany this post.
I found these drums in temples in different places - in Mahu Nag, in Janog, in Cheekad, in Mamleshwar. The texture of the skin contrasted enchantingly with the colours of the temples walls in the background: ochre, cinnamon and sienna standing in stark contrast to the turquoise that is so favoured for temple colouring all over Himachal!
And as I end this post, I'm reminded of that great poet Jon Bon Jovi's lines!!
Bang a drum for the sinners
Bang a drum for the sins
Bang a drum for the losers
Bang a drum for those who win
Bang a dum bang it loudly
Or as soft as you need
Bang a drum for yourself
And a drum for me.