Thimila (also known as paani in common usage) is a major percussion instrument used in sree-bali, sree-bhootha-bali and related temple rites apart from its use as one of the instruments in pancha-vaadyam. It has the shape of two cones kept in opposite direction ie, larger round at the ends and slim at the centre. The traditional size of thimila made of heart wood or fully grown jackwood (particularly varikka-plaavu) has a length of 24.k virals one viral (finger) equals 1.77 inches, 6 virals at ends and 2.5 virals at the centre, besides having a thickness of ¾ viral (finger). The inner side is hollow and at the centre of the tun of thimila has a round hole. Of late, presumably for reducing the weight, the measurements are changed without much loss in symphony. According to the procedure of manufacture, firstly the tun of thimila is made in jackwood in the shape described above. Then the sides are made independently by using rings (known as valayal) made up from climbers known as vennil-valli, manja-valli etc. the circumference of the rings is slightly more than that of the ends of the tun. The refined leather of calves (between 1-2 years of age) is properly cut and fixed to these rings with the help of gum (made up of raw rice). The fixing of leather has to be done tightly as it determines the symphony of thimila. Six holes of size 3/8 viral each is made on either side and they are fixed to the tun with the help of twined leather threads (total requirement of thread is 25 feet). The tension of strings is very important as it is closely linked with the symphony. For suspending the thimila at the shoulders of the drummer a long cloth of 9 feet length and atleast 6 inches width is used. In every respect it is an excellent masterpiece of art as it produces charming sounds.
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