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The world famous Miraj school of string instrument makers is going to complete 171 years. The City of Miraj is famous for its string musical instruments and music. The goddess of music has spread her blessings over this town. . Miraj has been a birth place of many famouse singers and musicians for centuries. Pundit Vishnu Digambar,whoes great Guru, Pundit Bal

In 1850, the first string musical instrument of Maharashtra came to existance after many difficulties faced by its makers. The father of this first maharashtrian musical instrument was Shri. Faridsaheb Shilklgar and his brother Shri Mohinuddin saheb Shikalgar. The Shikalgar brothers faced a lot of difficulties and tensions while making the instrument. Before the production of musical instruments in Miraj; the maharashtrian musicians used the instruments like- Tambora, Sitar, Been, Dilruba, Taus; which were made in North Indian cities like Jaipur, Banaras and Lakhknow. At this time in Maharashtra, wooden instruments like ' Ektari' sursote etc. were made . Because of the low cost and less hard work, the singers used the wooden musical instruments like 'sursote'. Very rare singers used the Tambora which was very costly and demanded hard work in its making.

Our History

The Shikalgar family was worked in this place of music miraj

The main business of Shikalgar category was the making of arms and amutations like swords etc. and taking maintenance of them. The city of Miraj was the main head quarter of Emperor 'Aadilshah's ruling area'. The need for making and supplying arms and weapons was high. For this purpose, the 'Subadar of Miraj' called the 'Shikalgar family' to Miraj. He granted the familt land and place to stay in order to get established in the town.

After the Mughal defeat, Miraj came under the rule of 'Patwardhan Sarkar'. The arrival of Britishers brough along the decline of traditional Indian weapons like swords. This complied the Shikagar family to make their living on making and mending of mere carpentry instruments like scissors.

Our Ancestors

Ustad Abdul Karim Khan

Ustad Abdul Karim Khan

Late Farid Saheb Sitarmaker

Late. Farid Saheb Sitarmaker

Late Pir Saheb Sitarmaker

Late. Husensaheb Sitarmaker

Late Husensaheb Sitarmaker

Late. Husain Saheb Sitarmaker

Late Abasaheb H Sitarmaker

Late. Abasaheb H. Sitarmaker.

Late Farid Saheb Sitarmaker

Late. Farid Saheb Sitarmaker

Late. Shri Faridsaheb

Shri Fardsaheb born in 1827, was trained under the guidance of his elder brother Moninuddin saheb in the business. Along with the weapons, Shri Moninuddinsaheb mastered in designing wooden Sursote, Ektari for Bhajan and other instruments as per requirements of the singers. Shri Faridsaheb had great love for music . Moninuddinsaheb encouraged him. At this time Shrimant Balasaheb Patwardhan II –the ruler of Miraj at that time was also a great lover of music . Many singers musicians embellished his court.Many famous female singers adorned the city at this time too. Faridsaheb attended all the music assemblies in the town. He, with much devotion, began mending and repairing the musical instruments of the singers who came and stayed in the town. He repaired them with great skill. While repairing instruments, he used to do complete study of the instrument. He used to open the instrument completely and study the complete pattern of making of the instrument. An old Tambora, after coming to his proficient hands used to be transformed into a new one!

The Birth of Musical Instrument

While repairing the instruments, Faridsaheb studied thoroughly, the complete pattern of the instrument. After many years of reserch and effort,he decided to make a musical instrument. Elder brother Mohinuddinsaheb encouraged him. Initially, he began collecting the vary rare species of pumpkin that are used in the making of a good musical instrument. He collected the pumpkins from "kamandalu of sadhu". Faridsaheb spent much wealth and money to collect the pumpkins of kamandalu. Elder brother Mohinuddinsaheb used his various ideas and made the sawflies and other instruments which were used in making the musical instruments. He made the 'sarasa' from leather pumpkins and the rod was connected by the natural gum from the tree bark. He made the polishing paper by sticking the powder of glass on the paper. He minced the 'Vida' to create the red colour.. A wire of metal was made by the umbrella sticks.

At last the first instrument was created. The main work in creation of musical instrument is 'Javari'. Continuous experiment and invention helped Faridsaheb obtain the art of creating well refined 'Javari'. He obtained a fabulous skill in 'Javari' work. To make the instrument is a work of several months. Many singers and musicians used to stay in Miraj for a several months in order to get their instrument made from Faridsaheb. Many political authorities, royal members and British officers too were impressed and astonished by his skilled work gave special prices , gifts and certificates of honour.Many famous musicians from all over the nation came to Miraj to get the string instruments made by Faridsaheb. Shri Faridsaheb had two sons, Shri Pirsaheb and Shri Abdulgani. Shri Pirsaheb was a skilled sitarist but he had not learned his father's skill. He played his sitar in assembly of Miraj's land lord. The second son of Shri Faridsaheb had learned the art of making the string musical instruments and started his own independent business. Shri Faridsaheb taught all the art & skill of string musical instruments making to his grandson Shri Husainsaheb. The family business reached its crest during the time of Shri Husainsaheb.

Shri. Faridsaheb passed away in 1898 at the age of 71 years after proudly reassigning his estate and his precious shop on the name of his grandson Shri. Husainsaheb. This business of string musical instruments which had started in 1850 as a mere seedling - 150 years ago is converted into a giant tree. After Shri. Faridsaheb, his sons Shri Pirsaheb and Abdulgani and Shri. Mohinuddin's sons Shri. Abasaheb and Aminsaheb, Shri Pirsaheb's sons Husainsaheb and grandson Shri. Faridsaheb, Shri Abasaheb, Shri Gulabsaheb and Shri. Mahmulal gave their entire time and energy in fostering this precious legacy. Today the city of Miraj is now called the home town of Indian string instruments and is known all over the world through this family. A prominant area of the town and the road leading to it is named after Faridsaheb Sitarmaker. The string musical instruments are in demand from England, France and Germany and other western countries.

List of honors

The artist/ workers who make the string musical instruments are honored by the Lord, Land Lords, masters in music. The honor is given by considering the standards of the instrument's sound, the age of the the instrument, and the skillfull craftsmenship. Miraj's string musical instrument artist/ workers have got the Bronze medal in 'All Indian Handicraft Exhibition' which was arranged in Dharwar' in 1913. Mumbai's governor Lord Willingdon admired the string musical instrument & the workers during this function. The name of Shri Faridsaheb Father of string musical instruments, was written in the following way in famous. Bombay Gaziyatar' issued in 1890 - The Satar/Guitars made Miraj, especially those made by Faridsaheb, are in great demand. The guitars fetch 10 to 5 pounds (Rs 5 - 50) and find their way in to Bombay. Currently we are celebrating our seventh generation in this craft, and plan to continue for many years to come. The success has been part greatly due to the high quality standards, friendly nature, and insightful knowledge and love for Indian classical music.


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