A Lucknow native, Nihal Saheb, recites the anecdote of his beloved sitar workshop. Although he was born in Aminabad, a famous neighborhood of Lucknow, Nihal Saheb traveled a lot throughout his younger years to places like Dehradhun, Almoda, and Delhi. After working in Delhi for 18 years, Nihal Saheb, now with a wife and children, decided that it was time to return to Lucknow, because after all it was his home, and there is no place like home. Nihal Saheb always had a special place for music in his heart, especially for sitars. He was taught how to craft and play sitars by his elder brother, to whom he respectfully refers to as his ustaad, or, teacher. Nihal Saheb always had a tight-knit circle of friends and family, this allowed him to connect very well with others in the music world.
As far as the sitar itself is concerned, unlike harmonium craft, Nihal Saheb likes to keep his sitars to one sitar per employee, here, they each handcraft a full sitar (rather than assigning roles in which one employee wraps, another polishes, etc.). Nihal Saheb believes that the most difficult part of making a sitar is the dhaancha, or, structure, which to your surprise, actually is made of pumpkin and bottle gourd. These vegetables are actually extremely crucial in the sturdiness of the sitar. Lastly, the real question, Why Are Lucknowi Sitars So Special?, in Lucknow, a sitar is not just an instrument one plays, it is much more. A Lucknowi sitar is a work of art, wholesome, as Nihal Saheb says. Nihal Saheb is the perfect example of an artist that encapsulates the beauty of an instrument that is so important to Lucknowi culture.