Bhajan Sopori

Bhajan Sopori
Bhajan Sopori
Background information
Birth name Bhajan Lal Sopori
Born 1948
Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India
Origin Kashmiri
Genres Hindustani classical music and Sufyana Musiqi
Occupation(s) musician
Instruments santoor

Bhajan Sopori (born 1948 in Srinagar, Kashmir)[1] is an Indian instrumentalist. He is a player of the santoor, an ancient stringed musical instrument.[2] On the occasion of 67th Indian Republic Day 2016, Pandit Bhajan Sopori was accorded Jammu and Kashmir State lifetime achievement award.[3]

Personal life

Sopori hails from Sopore in Kashmir Valley and traces his lineage to ancient Santoor experts. He belongs to the Sufiana gharana of Indian classical music.[4] His family has played santoor for over six generations.[5] His first public performance was at a conference organised by Prayag Sangeet Samiti & the University of Allahabad when he was 10 years old.[4] Sopori's son Abhay Rustum Sopori is also a santoor player.


Bhajan Lal Sopori gave his first public performance in 1953, at the age of five. He learned western classical music from Washington University & Hindustani from his grandfather S.C. Sopori and Father Shambhoo Nath[6] Sopori has taught music at Washington University, US. His performances have been broadcast in India and seen by both cultural associations there and by audiences in countries such as Belgium, Egypt, England, Germany, Norway, Syria and the USA.[4] Pandit Bhajan Sopori stated that "he worked with All India Radio in 1990, when he was transferred to Delhi." & that "no music was produced from the valley. There was not even a table player to accompany him" when he returned.

Music Academy, SaMaPa

Pandit Sopori, considered as the cultural link between Jammu and Kashmir and rest of India, also runs a music academy called SaMaPa (Sopori Academy for Music and Performing Arts), which is actively involved in promoting Indian classical music.[7] SaMaPa is involved in promoting music with jail inmates, with the objective of using music for healing the prisoners and creating an emotional bond between the society & the prisoners.[8] The academy has trained several musicians and revived old instruments. It was presented the state government dogri award in 2011.[9] Bhajan Sopori, in 2015, announced the SaMaPa awards for contribution to the field of music.[10]


Sopori was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1993[11] and the Padma Shri in 2004.[12] In 2009 he was honoured with the Baba Allaudin Khan Award.[13] He was also awarded the M N Mathur award in 2011 for his contribution to Indian classical music.[14] Jammu and Kashmir State lifetime achievement award[3]


  1. bhajansoporipage, (24 June 2012). "Bhajan Sopori".
  2. "Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards – Hindustani Music – Instrumental". Sangeet Natak Akademi. Archived from the original on 19 May 2009. Retrieved 16 May 2009.
  3. 1 2
  4. 1 2 3 RadioCity, Online (24 June 2012). "Bhajan Lal Sopori".
  5. online, MumbaiMirror (26 February 2011). "Santoor Player Abhay Rustom Sopori plays tomorrow". Archived from the original on 29 January 2013.
  6. "How all did the Soporis improvise on their 'Folk' instrument". 22 November 2017. Retrieved 14 Apr 2018.
  7. "J&K to be Cultural Capital of the country". 5 February 2012. Retrieved 15 July 2012.
  8. "SaMaPa to start music classes in Jails in J&K: Sopori". 16 February 2012. Retrieved 15 July 2012.
  9. "Trinidad envoy jams with Kashmiri Sufi band". 15 September 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2012.
  10. "Santoor Maestro Bhajan Sopori announces SaMaPa awards". 18 November 2015. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  11. "Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards – Hindustani Music – Instrumental". Sangeet Natak Akademi. Archived from the original on 19 May 2009. Retrieved 16 May 2009.
  12. "Padma Awards". Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (India). Archived from the original on 21 May 2009. Retrieved 16 May 2009.
  13. "Pandit Bhajan Sopori awarded again". 13 February 2009.
  14. EarlyTimes, Newspaper Jammu & Kashmir (3 March 2011). "Bhajan Sopori gets M N Mathur Award".
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