Usually made wood or metal, a khartal player will hold one 'male' and 'female' khartal in each hand. The 'male' khartal is usually thicker and is held with the thumb while the 'female' khartal is usually thinner and is mainly balanced on the ring finger, which represents the fire element. It is associated with the sun and the root chakra. Its force provides staying power, stamina, and the power to be assertive.
A pair of wooden castanets with bells attached to them was the earliest form of the khartal. These pieces of wood are not connected in any way; however they can be clapped together at high speeds to make rapid complex rhythms. Aside from being an excellent accompaniment instrument, khartal is the most portable percussion instrument in the world.
Types of Khartals Used in Indian Music 1. Khartals (blocks). It consists of a pair of wooden blocks with jingles or crotales (kartals mean crotales). One pair is used in one hand of the musician. These pieces can be clapped together at high speeds to make fast complex beats.
2. Khartals (small sheets). It consists of a pair of thin, hard wooden pieces similar to the percussion bones (instrument). These are used in Rajasthan.
3. Khartals (cymbals). The khartals are small cymbals, also known as Manjira. These are used in devotional chants
In Maharashtra Khartals are better known as Chipdya. It is commonly used in religious song like Kirtan dances or Bhajans
Karatalas pronounced "kartels", are a percussion instrument played by striking two discs attached by a tether together, often used within the traditions of Hinduism to accompany kirtana or sankirtan (the glorification of a deity or God through speech or song). They are commonly used by Hare Krishna devotees when performing Harinam. Although, often confused with Zils or Finger Cymbals, Karatalas bear more similarities to crotal or bells, being of a heavier construction and producing a purer tone.