The Lucknow Gharana of the Kathak traces its origin to Sri Ishwari Prasadji, who was the resident of the Handia Tehsil of Allahabad. Once Lord Krishna inspired Sri Ishwari Prasad in his dreams to rejuvenate Kathak dance and he dedicated his entire life for its cause. He had three sons: Adguji, Khadguji and Tularamji whom he trained in Kathak till the age of 100. At the age of 105, Sri Ishwari Prasadji died due to snake bite and his wife performed ‘Sati’ with his dead body. Influenced by this incident, Shri Tularamji renounced this world and Khadguji stopped dancing. Adguji trained his three sons: Prakashji, Dayalji and Harilalji. After the death of Adguji, Prakashji was appointed as Court dancer in the court of Nawab Asfudaullah. He also authored a book ‘Pothi Prakash’ which is now not available. Prakashji had three sons: Durga Prasadji, Thakur Prasadji and Manji. Manji was conferred the title of’Singlr by the Nawab but it was Thakur Prasadji who won acclaim as dancer. Thakur Prasadji was appointed as ‘Guru’ of Nawab Wajid AH Shah. Durga Prasadji had three sons: Shri Bindadinji, Shri Kalka Prasadji and Shri Bhairon Prasadji. Bindadin Maharaj and Kalka Maharaj pair was known in the Kathak world as ‘YugaP and became famous throughout the country. Bindadin Maharaj composed ISOOThumris.
Kalka Prasad has three sons: Achhan Maharaj, Lachhu Maharaj and Shambhu Maharaj. The dance maestro Shri Birju Maharaj is the son of Shri Achhan Maharaj. who with his devotion and dedication has given a new dimension to Kathak. Shambhu Maharaj had two sons: Shri Krishna Mohan and Shri Ram Mohan, who are teaching Kathak in ‘Kathak Kendra’ at Delhi.
The House of Lucknow is the main Gharana of Kathak dance style. In this Gharana, the custom is to dance in small Tukdas (pieces). In these Tukdas, stress is laid on beauty of body parts. In this Gharana, ‘GatNikas’ is often presented. Singing of Thumri and emoting simultaneously is the specialty of this Gharana. In the Tukdas of Tatkar, “Ta Thei Tat Thei ” are danced in many variations and ‘That’ is also expressed in a particular way.