He plays in the North Indian tradition.
Chaurasia was born in Allahabad in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. His father was a wrestler. His mother died when he was 6. He had to learn music without his father's knowledge, as his father wanted him to become a wrestler. He did go to the Akhada and train with his father for some time, although he also started learning music and practising at his friend's house. He has stated,
"I was not any good at wrestling. I went there only to please my father. But maybe because of the strength and stamina I built up then, I'm able to play the bansuri even to this day."— Hariprasad Chaurasia