Born in 1938 in lucknow, into a renowned family of traditional artists, Pandit Briju Maharaj is the doyen of kathak dance today. A decendant of the Kalka-Bindadin lucknow gharana of kathak, he inherited the art from his father pandit Acchan Maharaj and his uncle Shambu Maharaj and Lacchu Maharaj. An exceptional dancer, teacher and choreographer, Birju Maharaj has led the kathak world for more than four decades. His brilliant performances, displaying command over every aspect of the art, won him the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1964 at the young age of twenty six. He is also accomplished in singing and playing percussion instruments and truly represents the Indian tradition of dance as an integrated art. He directed and composed two classical dance sequences for Satyajit Ray’s film, “The Chess Players”. He has toured extensively in India and abroad and has helped popularize this art form.
Pandit Briju Maharaj taught initially at Sangeet Bharati and then at Bharatiya Kala Kendra in Delhi. Subsequently he served at Kathak Kendra as its principal Guru for several years, where he developed a comprehensive teaching methodology for dance. After his retirement from Kathak Kendra, in 1998 Birju Maharaj started his own Kathak and Indian fine arts academy, Kalashram.
He is the recipient of the Padma Vibushan, Kalidas Samman, SNA –Fellow (1998) and an honorary doctorate from the Banaras Hindu University.
He has two daughters and three sons, of whom Mamta Maharaj, Deepak Maharaj and Jai Kishan Maharaj are Kathak dancers. He also has a Grandson Tribhuwan Maharaj.