Bansuri (Hindi: बांसुरी) (Bangla: বাঁসুরী) is a transverse flute native to India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal, made of a single piece of bamboo with six or seven holes. An ancient musical instrument associated with cowboys and pastoral tradition, it is closely linked to the love story of Krishna and Radha, and is depicted in Buddhist paintings from around 100 AD. The word Bansuri comes from the Sanskrit [bamboo] + swar [musical note].
Bansuri in the North and Venu in South India, are the flutes associated with Lord Krishna and are associated with spiritual awakening, a call to devotion. Stories depict Krishna's Bansuri having a charming effect not only on women (gopalas), but also on the animals of the region.
Bansuri is one of the best instruments to express the emotional subtleties of the Hindu Raagas, the pure and rich tones of Bansuri are like a continuous prayer, with the ability to deeply calm and open the hearts of the listener and the flutist.
The movement of Bansuris in Indian classical music was relatively recent, Pannalal Ghosh (1911-1960) pioneered the low intensity versions of Bansuri and brought the folk instrument to the stage of classical music. Bansuri has since been further elevated by Hariprasad Chaurasia's world-renowned brilliance. Bansuri has been an indispensable part of classical Hindustani music for over half a century.
Making Bansuri flutes is a beautiful art. The bamboo suitable for making a Bansuri needs to have many qualities, it must have straight walls with a uniform circular section, free of knots, therefore, the selected bamboo needs long spaces between the knots. Being a natural material, it is difficult to find bamboo shafts with all these characteristics, which, in turn, makes good rare bansuris.