Born at Trisoor, Kerala to Smt. Mukthambal and Sri. N. Chidambaram Iyer, the sisters were brought up in Bombay, where their father was working as Electrical Engineer in the Western Railway. Smt. Saroja and Smt. Lalitha had their education in the S.I.E.S. Matunga, passed their intermediate privately from Bhopal, M.P. and completed their graduation from the Delhi University by correspondence.
During this period the sisters had their early initiation in Carnatic Music, first from their elder sister, Smt. Sethu Mahadevan and later from Sr. H.A.S. Mani (popularly known as Chellamani Baghavathar). At this period the sisters participated in many competitions and won many prizes and laurels. This induced them to apply for the Government of India Cultural Scholarship for higher studies.
As luck would have it, both the sisters got the scholarship, one after the other, which in turn brought them to Madras for higher studies in Carnatic Music from the then Central College of Carnatic Music, Adyar, under the direct tutelage of late Sri. Musiri Subramania Iyer, who was then the Principal of the College.
After passing out of the College with the title “SANGEETHA VIDWAN”, they continued their training in Carnatic Music from Sri. T.K. Govinda Rao, who remains the primary disciple of Sri. Musiri Iyer. The sisters started their concert career from 1963, and have been progressing steadily and steeply, step by step by giving performances in all the sabhas in our country, all music festivals, A.I.R. National Programmes, and Sangeetha Sammelans, in Doordarshan and private satellite channels. The sisters are classified as “TOP GRADE” Artists by A.I.R.
Awards & Titles
- ISAI MAMANIGAL – by Ulaga Tamil Isai Mandram in 1971
- MADHURAGANA MANORANJANI – by His Holiness Jeer of Ahobila mutt in 1984
- SUSWARA SUGALAYA SANGEETHA – by Purandaradasa Thyagaraja Utsava committee in 1985
- GANAKALA CHAKRAVARTHI – by Calcutta Fine Arts in 1990
- GANDHARVA GANA JYOTHI – by Sadguru Sandananda Swamigal, Puducottai, in 1991
- SANGEETHA CHOODAMANI – by Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, Madras in 1991.
- KALAIMAMANI – by Govt. of Tamilnadu & Iyal Isai Nataka Mandram in 1992.
- DEIVEEGA GANA ISAI THENDRAL – by Ragavendra Divine Society, Salem in 1991.
- SANGEETHA KALA NIPUNA – by Mylapore Fine Arts Club, Madras in 1994.
- TAMILKKALAIVANI – by Tamil Sangam, Newyork in 1995.
- SANGEETHA KALA SAGARAM – by His Holiness Sri Sankaracharya Swamigal of Kamakoti Peetam, Kanchipuram, in 1996.
- SANGITA RATNAKARA SRI CHOWDAIHA MEMORIAL AWARD – by Academy of Music, Bangalore in 1996.
- SANGEETHA KALA SIROMANI – by Nungambakkam Cultural Academy, Chennai, in 1996.
- THENISAI KUYILGAL – by Pollachi Tamil Sangam in 1997.
- SANGITA KALA SAGARAM – by Kalasagaram at Secunderabad in 1997.