Vishakha Hari

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Vishakha Hari
Vishakha Hari at a concert in Bengaluru in 2016.
Vishakha Hari at a concert in Bengaluru in 2016.
Background information
Born3 September 1978
GenresIndian classical music

Vishakha Hari is a Carnatic music vocalist and proponent of Harikatha, a form of Hindu storytelling. She is a mentor dedicated to instilling art and creativity within the education of children, who she believes are the torchbearer of culture.[1]

Early days[edit]

Vishakha Hari's father, Santhanam, is a chartered accountant. Her mother, Vijaya Santhanam, completed studies in chemistry and followed a spiritual guru, Sri Paranur Krishna Premi (Srisrianna), who later became Visakha Hari's father-in-law. Her younger brother Saketharaman is also a Carnatic music vocalist.

Vishakha Hari received formal Carnatic music training from Lalgudi Jayaraman from the age of 6 and Bharata natyam training from Sudharani Raghupathy.[2] She had no formal training in Harikatha.[2] Her early and elaborate training in classical music has helped her convey the essence of ancient Indian texts in an eloquent manner.[3]

Viskha Hari studied commerce and completed qualifications as a chartered accountant.[4] She also secured an All India First in Direct Taxes, and is an Academician.[5]

She married Sri Hari, a Harikatha exponent, and when she was 22, her father-in-law encouraged her to tell stories during her musical performances.[6]

Musical career[edit]

Since 2006, Vishakha Hari has performed in several sabhas during the Chennai Music Season. An artist of All India Radio, she has given discourses and concerts abroad.

Vishakha Hari also occasionally performs with her husband, Sri Hari, who uses his English literary background to supplement her kathakalakshepam performances.[4] She has also performed on Jaya TV.

Vishakha Hari performs Harikatha on various topics Based on Srimad Ramayanam, Srimad Bhagavatham and Skanda puranam. She also performs from Srisrianna's works such as: Sri Vaishnava Samhitha; Sri Brindavana Mahatmyam; Divya Desa Vaibhavam; Harikatha Amritha Lahari; Sri Bhakthapurisha Stavam; Sati vijayam, Shatakams and Keerthanas.

She presents Harikathas in the narrative Tamil or English, and the songs are from various languages including Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Hindi and Sanskrit.[5] Her reach is wide due to her performances outside Chennai in English. She has also released six DVDs.[3]


Vishakha Hari is devoted to passing on the good values and dharma of Indian tradition to future generations. She founded the Vijayashri School of Harikatha in February 2020 to inspire students to pursue Harikatha as their vocational subject.[1]

She has helped raise funds for various charities, including Cancer patients for Vasantha Memorial Cancer Centre, special children affected with Down syndrome, mentally challenged patients, heart patients at Narayana Hrudayalaya, destitutes and orphans at Sai Samskrutalaya, at Prathyarpana Foundation, and Rama temple at Delhi.[7]

Awards and recognition[edit]

She has received medals, prizes and other awards for her contributions to the Harikatha and Carnatic music fields.[according to whom?]*

  • Received the Vasantashreshtha, that is the 'woman par excellence' award, from the hands of her music guru Sri Lalgudi Jayaraman and the Thyagarja

Pratidhwani or 'echo of Thyagaraja Swami' title from her spiritual guru and father-in-law Sri Krishna Premi Swamigal.[8]

  • Smt Vishaka hari was awarded Dr. M.S. Subbulakshmi Centenary Award at a ceremony in Mumbai Sri Shamukhananda Fine Arts and Sangeetha Sabha on 13th of

September 2016.She is one amongst seven of India's most-respected women artistes.[9]

  • On 20 November 2016, Bharitya Vidya Bhavan, Chennai decorated Smt Vishaka Hari with the 'Lifetime Achievement' award by the guest of the day Infosys

chairman, R. Seshasayee.[10]

She has also spoken on “Role of education in international development” at the U.K House of Commons.[3]


  1. ^ a b "'Harikatha is a way of life'". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 25 March 2022.
  2. ^ a b Gowri Ramnarayan (14 July 2006). "From commerce to katha". The Hindu. Retrieved 24 May 2021.
  3. ^ a b c Swaminathan, Chitra (2 September 2010). "Katha of a different kind". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 25 March 2022.
  4. ^ a b Vatsala Vedantam (23 May 2008). "The raconteur's raga". The Hindu. Retrieved 24 May 2021.
  5. ^ a b "Understanding the Power of Knowledge". Bhogya. 7 August 2020. Retrieved 25 March 2022.
  6. ^ Chitra Swaminathan (2 September 2010). "Katha of a different kind". The Hindu. Retrieved 24 May 2021.
  7. ^ "Vishaka Hari – Harikatha (English)". Retrieved 28 March 2022.
  8. ^ "Soulful Tunes - Indian Express". Indian Express. 24 January 2013. Retrieved 17 January 2020.
  9. ^ "7 women get M.S. Subbulakshmi Awards". The Hindu. 14 September 2016. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  10. ^ "Bhavan's cul-fest opens to a full house". 21 November 2016. Retrieved 29 July 2018.