Shehnai (Shahnai, Shenai)


The shehnai is a reed instrument very similar to the western oboe. Its sound is quite powerful and has a distictive nasal quality. It is produced by blowing the reeds, which are bound together and held between the lips with a certain tension. The pitch can be altered by changing the pressure of lips an air.

EU: 159 €
incl. VAT, plus 8.20 € shipping within Germany / 19.20 € within Europe
Non-EU: 133,61 €
plus 19.20 € shipping within Europe / overseas on request

Technically the shehnai is a quadruple reed woodwind, with four reeds bound together over one another. The reeds are put on top of a metal tube, and the lower end of the tube leads into the wooden shehnai body. The wooden body has simple fingerholes, no mechanism, and ends into a metal sound funnel.

Sound sample shehnai


Quadruple reed conical oboe, body made out of solid wood, metal flare bell at the end, seven fingerholes, including three reeds, range of two octaves from a to a'' (A3 to A5 in scientific pitch notation).

General Info

The shehnai is widely used for temple music in North and Western India and is particularly popular in the holy city Varanasi / Benares. Its sound is thought to create and maintain a sense of auspiciousness and sanctity and, as a result, is widely used during marriages and processions. It has been adopted for classical raga music around the middle of the 20th century by the great musician Bismillah Khan, one of the most highly honoured Indian artists of that time. The South Indian equivalent of the shehnai is the nadaswaram.

Many shehnai ensembles use an instrument called sur shehnai instead of the tanpura to keep the tonic. The sur shehnai is simply a shehnai without any finger holes. The main solo shehnai is often accompanied by one or two more shehnais, which are played by relatives or advanced students of the main soloist. Instead of a bayan the percussion accompanist often uses an instrument called duggi for the left hand bass. The duggi's shell is made of clay and the skin does not have any shyai.

Manufacturer / Supplier

Our shehnais are supplied by our partners Paloma from Mumbai or Monoj Kumar Sardar from Calcutta. Our suppliers buy them from regional craftsmen there.

PALOMA is the international brand name for instruments made by Haribhau Vishwanath from Mumbai (formerly Bombay). Haribhau Vishwanath was founded in 1925 as a small repair business and developed into one of the leading Indian harmonium manufacturers in the course of decades. In addition, Haribhau Vishwanath makes shrutiboxes, santoors, swarmandals and some drums. Haribhau Vishwanath is also an active musical instrument trader and supplies us with some rarely demanded instruments where a direct purchase from the manufacturer is not profitable. Thanks to his good infrastructure and long experience with instrument manufacturing, trading and international shipping, Haribhau currently supplies all common harmonium models and many other instruments constantly in a high quality regarding workmanship. In addition, he excels through attractive innovations, like e.g. the harmonium Compactina or a particular silk-mat finish. Haribhau Vishwanath is a partner of India Instruments since 2005. Today the company is run by Ashish Diwane.


Measure: length approx. 53 cm
Each instrument is individually hand-crafted and might differ from our description.