Rakesh Upadhyay, an Indian Bhojpuri folk singer, hails from the sacred land of Devrahwa Baba,
near the holy city of Barahaj Nagar on the banks of the revered river Sarayu.
He was born in the village of Karoundi, located 3 kilometres from the headquarters of Bhalluani
Nagar Panchayat in Deoria district, Uttar Pradesh. Rakesh Upadhyay, the son of Kailash Pati Upadhyay,
received his early education in Bhalluani at Saraswati Shishu Mandir and completed his studies at Gyan
Prakash Inter College. He also pursued his 12th-grade studies in the field of agriculture science at
Seva Samiti Banwari Lal Inter College in Deoria. He further pursued his undergraduate and postgraduate
studies at Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gorakhpur University. This folk singer, belonging to the lineage of
Mahamana Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya, initiated his singing career in his village by performing devotional
songs, bhajans, and recitations from the Ramcharitmanas. Rakesh had a deep affinity for traditional songs
since childhood, which he learned from his mother.
As a grade "A" artist on All India Radio Gorakhpur, Rakesh chose Gorakhpur, the city of Baba
Gorakhnath, as his workplace. Noted singer, actor, and Member of Parliament Manoj Tiwari directed Rakesh's
first audio album, "Gorakhpur Gorakshanath Bhoomi Ha Kashi Shiv Ke Nagari," with lyrics by Dharmendra
Kumar Pandey. This album gained significant popularity in India and abroad, and upon hearing it, the
former Member of Parliament and the Head Priest of Gorakhnath Peeth, respected Mahant Avaidyanath Ji
Maharaj, invited Rakesh to the temple, blessed him, and bestowed his blessings. This incident took
place around the year 2000. After that, Rakesh performed this devotional song of Guru Gorakhnath Ji
on various platforms in India and abroad, gaining popularity.
Moving forward, Rakesh Upadhyay was selected as an empanelled artist by the Indian Council
for Cultural Relations (ICCR). He was honoured with the Uttar Pradesh Music and Drama Academy
Award in 2016 by the Honorable Governor of Uttar Pradesh, Smt—Anandiben Patel, for his exceptional
contribution to Bhojpuri folk music. Rakesh has presented his performances, including Holi Milan,
Shri Krishna Janmashtami, and his folk songs, in the presence of the esteemed Chief Minister of
Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath. Recently, he has been appointed as a member of the Sant Kabir Academy
by the Honorable Governor of Uttar Pradesh. Rakesh Upadhyay has not only showcased his talent in
various events such as Kushinagar, Kapilvastu, Magahar, Prayagraj Kumbh, Taj Mahotsav in Agra, Ayodhya
Deepotsav, and Ramayana Mela. Still, he has also enhanced India's prestige through his successful and
splendid performances in South Africa (Durban), Bangkok, Muscat (Oman), the Netherlands, and Singapore.