Makers of Madal

Carrying on to the legacy of his father is Shyam Lal Nepali who owns a Madal Shop in Patan, near Patan Durbar Square. Born to Prem Lal Kulu and Surya Maya Kulu, Shyam Lal Kulu has been in the trade for as long as he can remember.

Although he has been surrounded by the Madals all his life, he says he plays it only to demonstrate or check the instrument. This was not the profession he chose rather, the profession chose him. His family has been into the Madal crafting business since the time of Siddhi Narsingh Malla. Born to the family which had six centuries long history in Madal crafting, it is a safe bet that Shyam Lal was probably born with the talent and the skill in his blood.


He opted to pursue governmental service at the home Ministry, although he had learnt the craft in his early years. He served in the government service for thirty years, however, was never away from making a Madal or helping to mend the damaged one. After his retirement from the government service, he returned to taking on the responsibility of his family, legacy of Madal crafting left behind by his ancestors.

Unlike his father who dedicated his life to the craft, his knowledge was limited to what he had learned as child. He often regrets it and considers himself nothing closer to his father in the craftsmanship. His father was the one who initiated the tradition of playing drum in the Nepali Army. Even if he is not an expert like his father was, he gives his 100 percent to the work he performs and spends his post retirement days at the modest Madal shop he owns and operates at a stone’s throw distance from the Patan Durbar Square. The shop filled with Madal has its wall covered with certificates of appreciation and many ‘Thank You’ from the community for keeping alive the instrument that controls the tempo of cultural music.