Dholki Vidwan Sri R Shankar is the son of Sri P V Ramanatha Sastrigal of Tiruvannamalai origin. Sri Dholki Shankar, as he is popularly and fondly addressed in the Bhajan circles, is aged 55 years and was born on 12 November 1959 at Padi Agraharam, Tiruvannamalai. One may probably be tempted to say that this highly talented percussionist was born with the Dholki in his hand! For he handled the drum with ease and élan when he was all of 14 years! He was extremely fortunate to be taught the nuances of this instrument by the famous Sri Kol Nataraja Bhagavathar.
Sri Dholki Shankar has played for almost all leading Bhagavatars like Gemini Sri Balakrishna Bhagavathar and H H Sri Sri Namanandagiri Swamigal. Dholki artists like him are always adept at singing or chanting and often provide lead drumming and bring high levels of energy and enthusiasm to any bhajan performance. He has been honoured by Bhagavatha Seva Trust, Chennai and Sri Ram Bhajan Mandali, Chennai for his yeoman service to the cause of Namasankeerthanam. In the year 2010, Sri ‘Dholki’ Shankar was honoured with the august title of “Bhagavatha Siromani”.