The tala system of Carnatic music is unique in the world of music. The time measures used in South Indian music are innumerable and varied and they occupy an important position in Carnatic music. Talas organise rhythm in music. All aspects of percussion are bound by a constantly repeated metr cycle of beat called tala. The talas are not just recurrent time cycles, they rather have their individual structure and influence on music. Just as a raga extolls the bhavam of the song, so does the talam, which reveals the mood of the song.
The word talam is said to be derived from the combination of the words Thandavam & Lasyam. Thandavam is the dance of Lord Siva and Lasyam is the dance of Goddess Parvathi.