- Singhari Shiyamo Sundar Kar
- Mahadev Rout (Dimri sena/Bhrahmagiri- Puri, Orissa)
- Krishna Chandra Guru (Puri, Orissa)
- Padomlav Panda (Puri, Orissa)
Taught by Padomlav Panda:
- Kelucharan Mahapatra (Ragurajpur - Puri, Orissa)
- Banamali Maharana (Ragurajpur - Puri, Orissa)
Taught by Banamali Maharana: (Mardala Academy, Bhubaneswar, Orissa)
- Sachidananda Das (Bhubaneswar, Orissa)
- Gangadhar Pradham (Odissi Dance Academy, Bhubaneswar, Orissa)
- Bijay Barika(Mardala Academy, Bhubaneswar, Orissa)
- Gandi Malik(Delhi)
- Niranjen Patra
- Kalindi Charan Parida
- Devraj Patnaik (Ontario, Canada)
"A Brief History of the Mardala" ~ by Guruji Dhanuswar Swain
"Anaddhe Mardala Shreshthant". Mardal is as it were the king of all leather tensioned percussion instrument. In ancient texts, Mardal has various names vis. Muraj, Mridanga, Pakhauj, and Mardal. It's size, shape, and beats are also different from the rest."
"Orissa has an age-old tradition of the use the Mardal. It is solely used as an accompanying instrument in Odissi Dance. One of the chief classical dances of India. Though Orissa has a rich heritage of other folk dances and folk music, they are seldom accompanied by the playing of Mardal. Natyashastra by Bharata recognizes Odissi as the dance form of the Odra-Magadhi school of the ancient times. The use of the Mardal could be traced back to that age. Ample evidence of the use of Mardal could be found in the Palm-leaf inscriptions of ancient Orissa."
"Apart from the ancient text and palm-leaf records, Mardal could also be seen in the hands of stone images/ of musicians carved into the temples of Orissa. Mainly in the temples of Bhubaneswar, Puri, and Konark, ranging from the Parshurameswar temple of 6th/7th century AD to the 13th century AD Konark temple. The sculptured images of danseuses are often accompanied by Mardala players. Stone inscriptions also suggest the prevalence of the custom of Devadasis in the temples built in Orissa in the 9th century AD. The Devadasis were proficient in dancing and their dance was always accompanied by the playing of Mardal. In the 11th century AD, the mighty rulers of Ganga dynasty erected the famous temples of Lord Jagganath in the temple. Odissi dance was one of the condispensable items of worship and a number of nautch girls employed for the purpose. These dancers were known as Maharis. Stone inscriptions in the Jagganath temple and the Madala Panji record the employment of such Maharis. The Madala panji the Lord'sthirty-six Nijogas or customary services of order. Mardal was not only being played before the deity, it was also being used outside the temple premises on various festivals of the Lord, like Chandan Yatra, Jhulan Yatra and the famopus Rath Yatra, or the car festival. This has been a practice till date."
"The famous Sun temple at Konark built in the 13th century AD, has a number of in-built stone figures of Mardal players. The sculptures of the day must have chiselled these figures deriving inspiration from the society that must have promoting the performing art, especially dance and music. Hence we know that Mardal has always been a part of Orissan culture. In festivities and in various other festivals, dance and music were always accompanied by the playing of Mardal."
"As a consequence of the Muslim invasion on Puri temple, these were a break in teh temple services that continued for many years. As a result, Mahari dance suffered a set back and was ultimately discontinued. Later the Gotipua dance came into existence and was a major popular entertainment programme duing that period. Gotipuas danced to the acommpaniment of Mardal and Mardal regained it's lost glory by being part of the Lord's festive rituals. The introduction of Gotipua dance pushed the frontiers of Mahari dance that stepped out of the temple premises to reach the masses. Mardal also got a new lease of life with Mahari dance getting public."
"Mardal drew the attention of the Musicologists and the poets of the time, Gopalkrishna, Banamali, Kabisurya Baladev, and Kabisamrat Upendra Bhanja, were among the poets of the ornate school whose works bear numerous references to Mardal and the various modes of playing it."
"Though Mardal enjoyed a high status through ages, it's importance lay chiefly as that of an accompany instrument of Odissi dance played a very significant role in introducing Mardal to the international audience. The veteran choreographer apart from being a versatile composer is a Mardal player par excellence."
"Keeping pace with the changing times the playing of Mardal underwnt significant improvments. Great maestros like Late Chakradhar Sahu, Late Padmanabha Panda, and Late Mahadev Rout, strove for rasing Mardal from the status of an accompanying instrument to a full-fledged one. The establishment of Utkal Sangeet Mohavidyalaya was given the status of independent faculty. Today, under the able guidance of Guru Banamali Maharana, a senior member of the faculty, a number of students are being imparted with the delicate nuances of playing Mardal. This team of committed teachers and dvoted disciplines have succeeded in establishing Mardal as a solo instrument, even outside Orissa."
"Sallient Features of Odissi Mardal."
"Though Mridangam used in Carnatic school and Pakuaj of the Hindustani school bear striking resemblance to Odissi Mardal, still the later could be distinguished from the former ones by it's size, shape, and mode of playing. Pakuaj and Mridangam need a paste of cornflour on their left vellum during the playing. Mardal has fixed circular patch glued on its left vellum which gives a variation in resonance. The Bols of Mardal are also different from that of the former duo. The glossary of terms, like Khandi, Gadi, Arasa, Mana, Bhaunri Mana, Chhakka Mana, are the striking features which singularily of it's own. Chati and the movements of fingers are also different."
"No longer an accompanying instrument only, Odissi Mardal as a solo instrument has come to stay and it's recital will continue to be feast for generations to come."
This came from a paper by Dhanuswar Swain, and translated from Oriya to English.
* in 1985 the first solo Mardala program was performed by Guruji Dhanuswar Swain and Guruji Sachidananda Das.