Celebrated tabla maestro Lakshmi Narayan Singh, fondly known as Pandit Lachhu Maharaj, was on Tuesday paid homage by search giant Google with a colourful doodle on his 74th birthday. Born on this day in 1944 to a family of musicians, the renowned Banaras Gharana musician trained under his father, Vasudev Maharaj, started performing at an early age. Though someone who played alongside nearly all the greatest tabla players of his time, Maharaj is distinctly remembered for his solo performances across the world. Thumri exponent Girija Devi, who often collaborated with Maharaj, claimed that "he would play for hours without repeating himself, new gats, tukras and parans, leaving his audiences awestruck".
Born and brought up in Varanasi, the maestro had worked in many Bollywood films and performed all over the world. Filmstar Govinda, who was his sister's son, learnt music from him at a young age. He had married a French woman Tina, who along with their daughter lives in France. One of the frontline tabla players in the world, Maharaj in 1957 received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, the highest Indian honour in performing arts. He was also nominated for a Padmi Shri, but refused to accept the award. Maharaj, at 71, died of heart attack on July 28, 2016.