The Kendra’s journey began on the midnight of the Country’s Independence eve on 15th August, 1947, when Mrs. Sumitra Charat Ram, the Founder of the Kendra, organised an all night long musical soirée at her residence in New Delhi to celebrate this historic event. Most of the leading Musicians of that time participated in the event. This led to the formation of the ‘Jhankar Music Circle‘ which eventually resulted in 1952 in the formation of a registered Society named as the BHARATIYA KALA KENDRA. In 1976 the Society was renamed as SHRIRAM BHARATIYA KALA KENDRA and is now popularly known as SBKK or just the KENDRA.
In 1961 the Kendra created the BHARATIYA KALA KENDRA TRUST to own and manage the Kendra’s Campus and the Facilities located therein.
Over the past seventy years the Kendra has evolved into a premier Centre of Indian Arts imparting training in different styles of Indian Classical Music and Dance. The institution has played a stellar role in the revival and nurturing of Hindustani Classical Music and the Kathak Dance style. In fact the National Institute for teaching Kathak, the Kathak Kendra, was originally a department of SBKK till it was taken over by the Government in 1964.
The Kendra’s Faculty of Music currently offers Vocational and professional courses in Hindustani Vocal and Instrumental Music and the faculty of Dance offers similar courses in Kathak, Bharatnatyam, Oddissi and Chhau styles.Over the years the Kendra has had the privilege of having some of the most Legendary Masters as its Faculty members. This has resulted in several of the Kendra Alumni becoming eminent Artistes in their own right.
Soon after its inception the Kendra established a centre for production of Dance Dramas based on the Country’s rich History, Mythology and Folklore. The Kendra maintains a permanent Repertory which has till date presented around 60 Productions covering a vast variety of topics. The most iconic of these was the RAM LILA first presented in 1957, later on known as SHRI RAMA, that has been staged in Delhi every year since then for about a month during the Dussera celebrations. Many of the Kendra’s Productions have been performed numerous times all over the Country and in several overseas Countries.
Another Annual event that the Kendra has been regularly staging for the past several decades is the SHRIRAM SHANKERLAL MUSIC FESTIVAL. This is amongst the oldest Music Festivals of the Country where apart from presenting eminent Maestros the Kendra also provides a platform to younger talented artistes.
The Kendra’s activities are carried out from a campus located in the heart of New Delhi which houses a teaching Block, a Hostel for Staff and Students, a Cafeteria, an Open Air Amphitheater and a World Class Theatre Hall, the Kamani Auditorium.
Kamani Auditorium, the finest Theatre Hall of Delhi, was constructed by the Bharatiya Kala Kendra Trust in 1971 to provide the Kendra with an appropriate platform to stage its own performances and productions as well as those of other Cultural Organisations. The Auditorium incorporates the latest State of the Art Sound and Light facilities and is the most sought after venue for prestigious events.