Kanjira is a smaller frame drum, most commonly found in Carnatic concerts as a second accompanying rhythm instrument, next to Mruthangam. The instrument is made of a wooden frame about 8 inches in diameter, with skin stretched on one side and open on the other. Kanjira finds it place in classical concerts, where it can sometimes have a solo portion called ‘Thani Avarthanam’.
Today, Kanjiras are made with goat skin or cow skin, although they were originally made from the skin of Monitor Lizards. The authentic sound of the Kanjira with ‘Udumbu Thol’ is irreplaceable and the modern cattle skin is no match to its sound. The presence of Kanjira is slowly diminishing due to the fact that the use of lizard skin is banned in some parts of the world. There is a small slit in the frame in which two jingles are attached, and they add to the unique sound of the instrument.