Kishan Maharaj

Kishan Maharaj
Born September 3, 1923
Benares, United Provinces, British India
Died May 4, 2008(2008-05-04) (aged 84)
Genres Indian classical music
Instruments tabla
Years active 1934–2008

Pandit Kishan Maharaj (Hindi: किशन महाराज) (September 3, 1923 – May 4, 2008) was an Indian tabla player who belonged to the Benares gharana of Hindustani classical music.[1][2]

Early life and background

Kishan Maharaj was born in Kabir Chaura, Benaras into a family of professional musicians.[1] He was initially trained in classical music by his father, Hari Maharaj. After his father's death, his training was taken over by his uncle, Kanthe Maharaj, a disciple of Baldeo Sahai of the Benares gharana.

Musical career

By the time he was eleven, Kishan Maharaj began performing in concerts. Within a few years, Kishan Maharaj was sharing the stage with stalwarts like Faiyaz Khan, Omkarnath Thakur, Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Bhimsen Joshi, Ravi Shankar, Ali Akbar Khan, Vasant Rai, Vilayat Khan, Girija Devi, Sitara Devi and many others.

Maharaj had the ability to play cross-rhythms and produce complex calculations, particularly in tihai patterns. Known as an excellent accompanist, Maharaj was extremely versatile and capable of playing with any accompaniment, be it with the Sitar, Sarod, Dhrupad, Dhamar or even dance.

Maharaj gave a number of solo concerts during his career and also gave `Sangat` to some great dancers like Sri Shambhu Maharaj, Sitara Devi, Natraj Gopi Krishna, and Birju Maharaj.

Among all his compositions, his "Tala Vadya Kacheri" with the Mridangam Vidwan, "Palghat Raghu" stood out. Maharaj extensively toured and participated in several prestigious events across the world, including the Edinburgh festival and the Commonwealth Arts festival in the United Kingdom in 1965.

Maharaj won the Padma Shri in 1973 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2002.[3] For many years, he was married to Beena devi niece of Tabla maestro of Benaras Pt. Anokhe lal mishra

Death and legacy

Kishan Maharaj died on May 4, 2008 at Khajuri near Varanasi at the age of 84.[4]


  1. 1 2 Shovana Narayan (May 6, 2008). "Pt Kishan Maharaj: End of an era". The Tribune.
  2. "Perfect Fourths: Pt Kishan Maharaj and his subtle, thinking tabla was our last link to the quartet of greats". Outlook. May 26, 2008.
  3. "Padma Awards". Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (India). Retrieved 2009-05-25.
  4. "Tabla maestro Kishan Maharaj dead". Press Trust of India. The Hindu. 2008-05-05. Retrieved 2009-05-25.

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