He was generally unknown outside of India until musician George Harrison, a member of The Beatles, began experimenting with the sitar in 1965. The two eventually met due to this common interest and became close friends and that in turn gave Shankar worldwide fame as Harrison's mentor.
This development greatly expanded his career as he was invited to play in venues that were unusual for a classical musician like himself such as the 1967 Monterey Music Festival, which took place in Monterey, California, about 100 miles south of San Francisco.
Since then, he has maintained a steady and acclaimed career as a musician and recording artist.
His daughters Anoushka Shankar and Norah Jones are also musicians.