Ghatam Bhanda vadya seems to have been the ancient Indian word used to denote drums made of clay. They have more or less spherical bodies. Bhand literally means a vessel or a pot. In ancient literature, Ramayana and Jatakas, etc., we get references of bhanda vadyas in abundance which were of various shapes and sizes. We get the details of the earliest pot drums in Natya Shastra in which it is called dardur and constitutes an important part of the ensemble along with the mridang and panav.

The instrument can be seen in the sculptures of various temples. Dardur is described as spherical shaped. Its mouth was covered with hide, which was kept intact by means of a jute string. In playing, both the hands were used. Various types of sounds were produced by placing the different parts of the palm and fingers on the mouth of the pot.

Later on, it slowly declined in importance and at the time of another important text of the thirteenth century, it almost lost its independent identity, and the name was also changed from dardur to ghatam, and the mnemonics described were the same as those described for mridang.