Annapurna Devi

Annapurna Devi (IAST: Annapūrṇā Devi; 1927–13 October 2018) was an Indian surbahar (bass sitar) player of Hindustani classical music. She was given the name 'Annapurna' by former Maharaja Brijnath Singh of the former Maihar Estate (M.P.), and it was by this name that she was popularly known. She was the daughter and disciple of Allauddin Khan, the founder of Maihar gharana, and the first wife of the sitar player, Ravi Shankar. After her separation from Ravi Shankar, she moved to Bombay and never performed again in public. She remained a private person, yet continued to teach music for free. Her students include many notable disciples including Hariprasad Chaurasia, Nityanand Haldipur and Nikhil Banerjee.[1]

Annapurna Devi
Roshanara Khan

Died13 October 2018 (aged 90–91)
Mumbai, India
  • Ravi Shankar
    (m. 1941; div. 1982)
  • Rooshikumar Pandya
    (m. 1982; died 2013)
ChildrenShubhendra Shankar
RelativesAli Akbar Khan (brother)


Annapurna Devi was born in 1927 at Maihar, a small princely state of British India (now a part of Madhya Pradesh, India).[2][3][a] Her father Alauddin Khan was a royal court musician at the court of Maharaja Brijnath Singh, who named the newborn girl 'Annapurna'.[6]

Her father and guru Alauddin Khan, founder of the "Senia Maihar gharana" or "Senia Maihar School" of Hindustani classical music, was a noted musician and guru of Indian classical music. Her uncles, Fakir Aftabuddin Khan and Ayet Ali Khan, were noted musicians at their native place Shibpur, in the present-day Bangladesh. Her brother Ali Akbar Khan was a legendary Sarod maestro and was considered a "national living treasure" in India and the USA. Annapurna was initially instructed by her father in the sitar and vocals. She then switched to the surbahar which she played in the traditional style of a rudra veena. One of her earliest concerts of note was with the surbahar when she played in honour of the Raja of Maihar. She was rewarded with a large tract of land for her performance.[2]

Annapurna Devi married renowned sitarist, Ravi Shankar, on 15 May 1941 in Almora and divorced him in October 1982.[7] Between 1946 and 1955, Annapurna appeared on stage with Shankar in a handful of sitar-surbahar duets in Delhi and Bombay (now Mumbai).[2] They had a son, Shubhendra Shankar (1942–1992), who was also a musician.[8][7]

Annapurna married Rooshikumar Pandya in Bombay on 9 December 1982.[7] Rooshikumar Pandya, who was 42 years old at the time of their marriage, was a well known communication expert and a successful sitarist in the United States. Rooshikumar had been learning sitar from her since 1973 at the recommendation of her brother, Ali Akbar Khan, who was also his guru (as was Ravi Shankar). He died in 2013 suddenly of a cardiac arrest at the age of 73.[9][10] Annapurna Devi died of age related issues on 13 October 2018 in Mumbai.[11]


Annapurna Devi became a very accomplished surbahar (bass sitar) player of the Maihar gharana (school) within a few years of starting to take music lessons from her father Alauddin Khan. She started guiding many of her father's disciples, including Nikhil Banerjee and Bahadur Khan, in classical music as well as in the techniques and intricacies of instrumental performances. In 1941, age 14, she married one of her father's talented students, Ravi Shankar. She converted to Hinduism upon marriage.[12]

In the 1950s, Ravi Shankar and Annapurna Devi performed duets in Delhi and Calcutta, principally at the college of her brother, Ali Akbar Khan. But later, Shankar she decided not to reduce and finally stop performing in public. Her student Vinay Ram says that she was uncomfortable accepting payment for concerts, as it was her belief that it was akin to selling Saraswati (the Goddess of learning).[1]

Devi and Shankar's son, Shubhendra Shankar, (or "Subho", as he was popularly known) received rigorous training in sitar under her tutelage, until his father chose to interrupt his musical talim or training and took him to the United States. Shubhendra died at an early age, after a marriage and the birth of three children. Shubhendra did not have a solo career in classical music, but did for a period accompany his illustrious father Ravi Shankar in concerts in the USA and abroad. As per one of her students Vinay Ram, a conflict regarding the upbringing and musical teaching of Subho was the main reason for Devi and Shankar's separation, though they continued to remain in touch on amicable terms till the end.[1]


Annapurna Devi was an acclaimed instructor and one of the first women gurus of note in modern times. Her pupils were not restricted solely to sitar or surbahar players and encompassed various fields in Hindustani classical music.[b] They included the sitarists Debi Prasad Chatterji, Bahadur Khan (a cousin), Hiren Roy, Indranil Bhattacharya, Kartik Kumar, and Nikhil Banerji, the sarodists, Dhyanesh Khan and Ashis Khan (sons of Ali Akbar), Basant Kabra, and Suresh Vyas, the bansuri players, Hari Prasad Chaurasia and Nityanand Haldipur, the dilruba artist Dakshina Mohan Tagore, and the violinist Satyadev Pawar.[2]

She was also the key figure of Acharya Alauddin Music Circle (an association in the memory of the late Alauddin Khan for promoting Indian classical music), in Mumbai.



  1. ^ There appears to be considerable confusion on her exact date of birth. In her authorised biography, the author notes that the circumstantial references point to Annapurna being born on the "Chaitra purnima day of the Bengali year of 1334 (1927)". But he finds no reliable accounts or documented evidence in support of this and chooses not to speculate.[3] Newspaper articles cited here choose to only mention her birth year. One source notes that she was born on 23 April 1927 but provides no basis for this.[4] According to the traditional Hindu calendar, Chaitra Purnima in 1927 fell on Sunday, 16 April 1927.[5]
  2. ^ Many of her students were also students of her brother Ali Akbar Khan and/or Ravi Shankar.


  1. ^ a b c Ram, Vinay Bharat (24 October 2018). "A transcendental music - what I learnt from Annapurna Devi". The Indian Express. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e OEMI.
  3. ^ a b Bondyopadhyay 2005, p. 22.
  4. ^ Lavezzoli 2006, p. 52.
  5. ^ "1927 Chaitra Purnima, Chaitra Pournami date for Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, India". Retrieved 13 October 2018.
  6. ^ Shuansu Khurana (16 May 2010). "Notes from behind a locked door". Indian Express.
  7. ^ a b c Bondyopadhyay 2005, Cast.
  8. ^ Lindgren 1992.
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Hindustani Classical Musician Annapurna Devi Passes Away At 91 - HeadLines Today". Retrieved 13 October 2018.
  12. ^ "Unveiling the mystique of a reclusive artiste", The Hindu - 28 June 2005
  13. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 November 2014. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
  14. ^ a b c Dalal 2017.


External links

Abhimaan (1973 film)

Abhimaan (lit. Pride) is a 1973 Indian Hindi musical drama film starring Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Asrani and Bindu. It was directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee.

The film is perhaps best remembered for its songs, composed and arranged by the late S. D. Burman, written by Majrooh Sultanpuri, and sung by playback singers Mohammed Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar, and Kishore Kumar. Film did above average business at box office as per the Bollywood trade magazine published at that time. Jaya Bachchan won the Filmfare Best Actress Award for Abhimaan. According to Aalif Surti film is based on troublesome marriage between two sitar maestros Ravi Sankar and Annapurna Devi. Also according to author Raju Bharatan, Hrishikesh Mukherjee based the film's story on the life of singer Kishore Kumar and his first wife, Ruma Ghosh although it has resemblances with the 1954 movie A Star Is Born. It was remade in Tamil in 1983 as Nenjamellam Neeye starring Mohan, Radha and Poornima Jayaram.

Annapurna (goddess)

Annapurna or Annapoorna (Sanskrit: अन्नपूर्णा, Bengali: অন্নপূর্ণা, Telugu: అన్నపూర్ణ, IAST: Annapūrṇa, lit. filled with or possessed of food) is the goddess of food and nourishment in Hinduism. Worship and offering of food is highly praised in Hinduism and therefore, the goddess Annapurna is regarded as a popular deity. She is an avatar (form) of Parvati, the wife of Shiva. and is eulogized in the Annada Mangal, a narrative poem in Bengali by Bharatchandra Ray. The Annapurna Sahasranam is dedicated to the goddess and praises her one thousand names while the Annapurna Shatanama Stotram is dedicated to her 108 names.

A few temples exist that are dedicated to her, the most prominent being the Annapurna Devi Mandir and the Kasi Viswanath Temple in Varanasi. Since Akshaya Tritiya is considered to be the birthdate of the goddess Annapurna, the day is believed to be very auspicious for buying gold jewellery.

Annapurna Devi Mandir

Annapurna Devi Mandir (Hindi: अन्नपूर्णा देवी मंदिर), also known as Annapurna Mata Mandir and Annapurna Mandir, is one of the most famous Hindu temples (Mandir) in the holy city of Varanasi. This temple has great religious importance in Hinduism and is dedicated to the goddess Annapurna. Annapurna is the Hindu goddess for nourishment and is a form of the goddess Parvati. The current Annapurna Mandir was constructed in the 18th century by Maratha Peshwa Bajirao I.

Bahadur Khan

Ustad Bahadur Khan (born Bahadur Hossain Khan, 19 January 1931 – 3 October 1989) was an Indian sarod player and film score composer.

Chandrakant Sardeshmukh

Chandrakant Sardeshmukh (1955 – 15 August 2011) was a Hindustani classical sitar player of the Maihar Gharana (school).Sardeshmukh was taught by Ustad Shabuddin Khan and Khurshid Mirajkar from the age of 4, and became popular as child artist. He performed in the Sawai Gandharva Music Festival in Pune in 1963. In the same year, when he was eight years old, he was declared a child prodigy by Pandit Ravi Shankar, who accepted him as a student. From then until 1976 he learned with both Shankar and his wife Annapurna Devi. In 1976 he was awarded Sangeet Vibhushan (Sitar Pravin) by University of Rajasthan.

He did a Ph.D. in the Samavedic basis of Indian music from University of Poona.

He had knowledge and background in Ayurveda (Indian medicine) from his father. He does extensive research in healing music and has given several healing music sessions to individuals and groups.

He toured around the world extensively, giving concerts in India, Germany, Australia, Japan, and the USA. He recorded traditional Indian music as well as experimented with several western and Japanese musicians.

Sardeshmukh died in a car accident near Solapur on 15 August 2011. He was 56 years old.

Golap Ma

Golap Ma (Bengali: গোলাপ মা) was a direct householder disciple of Sri Ramakrishna, the 19th century mystic and saint, and a foremost companion of Sri Sarada Devi, his spiritual consort and the Holy Mother of Ramakrishna Order, along with her other constant companion Yogin Ma. Her real name was Annapurna Devi or Golap Sundari Devi. She was also referred as "grief stricken Brahmani" in the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. She played a very important role in the early development of Sri Ramakrishna movement and stayed till her death in Udbodhan, the house where the Holy Mother stayed in Calcutta. She was popular as Golap Ma (translation: Mother Golap) among the devotees of the Ramakrishna Order.

Happy Valley Tea Estate

Happy Valley Tea Estate is a tea garden in Darjeeling district in the Indian state of West Bengal. Established in 1854, it is Darjeeling's second oldest tea estate. Spread over 177 hectares (440 acres), it is situated at a height of 2,100 metres (6,900 ft) above sea level, 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) north of Darjeeling, and employs more than 1500 people.

Hiren Roy

Hiren Roy (1920–1992) was for many years considered to be the best sitar maker in India. Many great musicians, including Nikhil Banerjee, Vilayat Khan, Annapurna Devi, and Ravi Shankar, have sworn by his creations.

Kamala Chakravarty

Kamala Chakravarty (born Saraswati Kamala Shastri, 1928) is an Indian classical musician and former dancer, known for her association with sitar maestro Ravi Shankar. From 1967 until the late 1970s, she accompanied Shankar, in the role of tambura player and singer, in a number of acclaimed performances, including the Monterey International Pop Festival (1967), his Human Rights Day duet with violinist Yehudi Menuhin (1967), the Concert for Bangladesh (1971) and the Music Festival from India (1974). She also lived with Shankar as his wife from 1967 to 1981, during which he was still married to musician and teacher Annapurna Devi.

While in her teens, Chakravarty trained and performed with Uday Shankar's dance company. She is the younger sister of noted Hindustani classical vocalist Lakshmi Shankar and the widow of Bombay film director Amiya Chakravarty.

Kodarma (Vidhan Sabha constituency)

Kodarma (Vidhan Sabha constituency) is an assembly constituency in the Indian state of Jharkhand.

List of Indian music families

Within the Indian music industry, there is a history of many members of a family over several generations all participating in the music industry. This page lists some of the more well-known such "clans". For Indian film families, see Lists of Indian film clans (For Hindi film families, see List of Hindi film clans).

Mahamantri Timmarusu (film)

Mahamantri Timmarusu is a 1962 Telugu historical film, produced by Atluri Pundarikakshaiah and N. Ramabrahmam under the Gowtami Productions banner and directed by Kamalakara Kameswara Rao. It stars N. T. Rama Rao, Devika, Gummadi in the lead roles and music composed by Pendyala Nageswara Rao.

Maihar gharana

The Maihar gharana is a gharana or school of Hindustani classical music, a style of Indian classical music originating in the northern parts of the Indian subcontinent. The school was formed by Allaudin Khan in the princely state of Maihar, now lying in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, and hence the name. Allauddin Khan learnt music from Wazir Khan, an exponent of the Senia gharana. The Maihar gharana is therefore sometimes referred to as the Maihar-Senia gharana.It is one of the most prominent gharanas of the 20th century; much of the fame of Hindustani classical music in the west stems from this gharana. Prominent musicians belonging to the Maihar gharana include prominent sitar players Ravi Shankar, Nikhil Banerjee, Allauddin Khan's son sarod player Ali Akbar Khan, daughter Annapurna Devi and grandson Aashish Khan.

Other prominent musicians with links to this gharana include the sarod player Bahadur Khan, Sharan Rani, Vasant Rai, Rajeev Taranath, Damodar Lal Kabra, Apratim Majumdar, Vikash Maharaj,Abhisek Lahiri, and Basant Kabra, violinist V. G. Jog, guitarists Brij Bhushan Kabra, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and his nephew Krishna Bhatt, flautists Pannalal Ghosh, Hariprasad Chaurasia, Nityanand Haldipur, Rupak Kulkarni, and Ronu Majumdar, and sitar players Chandrakant Sardeshmukh, Kartick Kumar and his son Niladri Kumar, Jaya Biswas,Abhishek Maharaj.

Musicians belonging to the gharana adhere to a dhrupad aesthetic in their approach to playing the alap and jor portions in a raga. Variations in tempo are used to demarcate sections while playing the jor, with a short rhythmic figure indicating closure of a section. Therefore, rhythmic figures within the jor assume structural importance. Alap-jor is followed by a khayal style vilambit gat with taan improvisations, and the performance ends with a jhala.

Nityanand Haldipur

Nityanand Haldipur (born 7 May 1948) is a performer and teacher of the Indian bamboo flute, known in India as the bansuri. He is a purist in the true Maihar Gharana tradition, at present learning from Ma Annapurna Devi, in Mumbai, India. He has been rated as a "Top Grade" artist by the All India Radio and was awarded the prestigious Sangeet Natak Academi award in 2010.

Satgawan (community development block)

Satgawan is a community development block that forms an administrative division of Koderma district, Jharkhand state, India.

Shubhendra Shankar

Shubhendra Shankar (30 March 1942 – 15 September 1992), also known as Shubho Shankar, was a graphic artist, musician and composer. He was the son and the eldest child of musicians Ravi Shankar and Annapurna Devi.


Surbahar (pronunciation:[s̪urbəhɑːr] सुरबहार) (literally: "Springtime of Notes"), sometimes known as bass sitar, is a plucked string instrument used in the Hindustani classical music of the Indian subcontinent. It is closely related to the sitar, but has a lower tone. Depending on the instrument's size, it is usually pitched two to five whole steps below the standard sitar, but as Indian classical music has no concept of absolute pitch, this may vary.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.