The Kingri, also known as Khikri, is a unique string instrument as its three strings and the bowstring are made of horse hair. 

The Kingri is mentioned in the Sanskrit epic Mahabharata, in many Ancient Indian Brahmin's tales. and in Punjab's folk music. The kingri is also used in traditional death ceremonies, marriages and religious festivals in Telangana and Maharashtra.

The most important possession of a Pardhan is his kingri, and a square wooden sound box covered by a skin membrane. On this fiddle Pardhans play during the Persa Pen rites and accompany themselves while singing hymns or reciting epics. The two instruments they play are the kingri, a three stringed violin and a small harp called a bana.

Like Raj gonds, Pardhans principle deity is also Persapen. They worship the same gods as the Gonds and attend most of their religious ceremonies. At Festivals it is usually the most prominent Prardhan who plays the Kingri (a musical instrument like crude form of veena or lute generally with three cords/strings), while younger men blow trumpets and beat drums. 

Among the aboriginal tribes of Adilabad district, Pardhans occupy important place. But t he census of 1921 gives very contradictory data and figure 416 as total pardhans population in the di strict. Generally, t his community is known for their priestly activities. They are the helots of the gonds and serve as geneologists and bards to the Raj Gonds, singing the exploits and great deeds of their rajas by producing m usic from a kind of violin called ‘Kingri’. They a re even known as craftsmen of the Gonds. The songs and stories that they preserve by oral transmission are the most important depositories o f Gond history, culture and tradition. But it is also said t hat they acted more as musicians rather than priest. 

Anthropologist Haimendorf in his study found that no marriage ceremony of a Raj Gond is celebrated, nor the death rites performed, unless Pardhan is present to receive the marriage presents or to claim the remainents of the dead and all rites in honor of each Persa Pen. Where a s R .V. R ussel perception on pa rdhans as priest of gonds in Adilabad contradicts and he says pardhans acted a s only musicians and never as priests as most of the rituals were obligatory in nature.

Pardhan (bard) Mesram Tukdoji sings Nagoba Bhidi or the legend of the Nagoba using the traditional string instrument called kingri, every night for four days before the Mahapuja.

When Mesram Tukdoji and his team begin their chorus “Aska ad ghat rai’t ropo....” to the accompaniment of music from his Kingri, listeners are transported to a different world. No, the latter is not required to be versed in Gondi to experience the magic of the Adivasi folk tradition which was in full flow during the recently-concluded Nagoba jatara at Keslapur in Indervelli mandal.

Mesram Tukdoji playing ‘Kingri’ at the Nagoba temple at Keslapur in Adilabad district.– Photo: S. Harpal Singh
The younger generation of Pardhan Adivasis, who function as bards of the Gonds preserving their myths and stories through singing, are moving away from tradition

Since ages, the Pardhan Adivasis have functioned as bards of the Gonds preserving their myths and stories through oral tradition. In many instances, they even serve as priests and are an integral part of most of the important religious-cum-cultural affairs like the ongoing Nagoba jatara, the annual pilgrimage of the Mesram clan of Gonds.