junior wrote:...it won't do the trick for me because I need to have something portable to bring with me to my lessons - my teacher wants me to play with the metronome when I am there.
I think the perfect device would be an electronic tabla with a built-in metronome. Is there such a thing?
I'm really glad you are seriously taking up this instrument. Good for you! Good for us, too: the more the merrier and we learn from each other's experience.
Students of classical guitar in my area are often encouraged to purchase metronomes and they are loud enough to help the student play on beat. Some brands have a flasshing light to reinforce the tempo in case you can't hear a beat from time to time. The old one I have in my hand right now is the Wittner MT50 that can be seen here: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/accessor ... e=3WWRWXGB This is just an example of the many-many devices that do the basic job just fine.
But you're asking whether there is an electric tabla machine that can also act as a metronome in addition to the tabla cycles. I believe that any good tabla machine would act as an adequate metronome simply because the taala being played should naturally include every beat that would occur on a metronome. A few such devices to consider can be found here: http://www.raincitymusic.com/raagini-ri ... achine.htm
If our advice isn't what your teacher is requesting, just let us know and we'll be glad to clarify more.