Palghat Ramaswamy Raghu was born in Rangoon, Burma (now Myanmar) to Palghat Ramaswamy Iyer and Ananthalakshmi Ammal. As a child, he was immensely talented and inducted into mridangam lessons very early in his life. His first mridangam lessons were from Tinniam Venkatarama Iyer and Trichy Raghava Iyer. Later he learnt the art from Palghat T. S. Mani Iyer, to whose niece, Swarnambal, he was married. He was a graduate of mathematics.
- Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1983
- Palghat Mani Iyer award (first recipient)
- Padma Shri in year 1985
- Mridangam Chakravarty award
- Kalaimamani (Tamil Nadu)
- Sangeetha Choodamani by Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, Chennai (1978)
- Mridangam Nada Mani (Shankaracharya)
- Nada Brahmam — award from Narada Gana Sabha( 2000)
- Nada Nidhi (2001)
- Sangeetha Kalanidhi (2007)
Raghu toured extensively in Europe, United States, Australia, Malaysia and Singapore. He performed with artists such as Sitar Maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar, Flute Hariprasad Chaurasia, Santoor Shivkumar Sharma and Alla Rakha in numerous concerts in India and abroad. He had also been involved in East-West fusion music. He had been visiting professor of music at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, San Diego State University and University of Berkeley. He regularly conducted advanced mridangam classes for the benefit of his students and upcoming mridangam artists.
Palghat Raghu’s grandsons are carnatic musician Abhishek Raghuram and mridangam artist Anantha R. Krishnan.