'Lady playing swarabat'. Painting by Raja Ravi Varma.

‘Lady playing swarabat’. Painting by Raja Ravi Varma.


The swarabat, swarbat or swaragat is a plucked string instrument of southern India. It has a body made of wood on which a skin is stretched. On top of this skin, a bridge is placed upon which silk strings pass, which are plucked with a plectrum. It produces a timbresimilar to a bass rubab. Some personages who have played it have been Parmeswara Bhagavathar, Baluswami Dikshitar, the Raja Swati Thirunal, Veene Seshana, and Krishna Iyengar.