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Read about the colorful folk paintings of Rajasthan.

Home: Rajasthan: Culture: Paintings: Folk Paintings of Rajasthan

Folk Paintings of Rajasthan

In Rajasthan, the folk paintings are usually done on some specific occasions like marriage, birth ceremony and festivals. This tradition of folk paintings is found in villages and rural areas practiced by various tribes. They are very original, fresh and done with raw-hand.

Traditional wall painting of the Bhils
The Choti Ondari village in the region of Inya Parvat of Rajasthan is dominated by the Bhills. The Inya Parvat is a beautiful hill where according to the local belief of the Bhills, 12 Siva lingam are enshrined: Nandesvaranatha Mahadeo, Kedarnatha Mahadeo, Amreekji Mahadeo (Oondari Maa), Khaperna Mahadeo (Prakat), Guptesvara Mahadeo, Tanesvara Mahadeo (in the Andri village), Bladario Mahadeo, Koicha Mahadeo, Kaya Mahadeo, Phatadhara Mahadeo, Amba Mahadeo and Jharna Mahado

The wall and floor painting of the Bhills are dominated by some images, such as bridal chamber, gotrej (the Goddess of the gotra or clan), pet and other animals and birds such as cow, ox, goats, peacock, crow, hen, and dancing men and women, a ploughman with his ploughshare, etc. Goma, a sixty year old man said he has been painting since his childhood. He has also trained his son, Bema. Phulabhai Pargi is another good artist who has been recognized by the state as well as the Central government for his imagination in the folk painting. He has trained his son, Dhullaji Pargi and daughter, Jible in this art.

Their paintings also include Shiva with his jata (mated hair) and the Ganga flowing from the top, having trishool (trident) in his hand, garlanded with the rosary of rudrakshas, with naked feet, and a tripunda mark of sandal wood paste on his head. On one wall a tree is depicted where two lions are standing in the front and monkeys, peacocks, etc., are sitting on various branches of the tree. The horses and elephants are also depicted with colourful delight and fine expression, in the entrance of the houses.

The Sanjhya Painting
Sanjhya is a ritual wall painting. Young girls, especially the newly wed in Mewar and Malwa regions paint the walls for 14 to 15 days during the pitrapaksha, the period when ancestors are remembered and offered ritual oblation by Hindus. Everyday in the evening they wash the wall with cow dung and ochre. The motifs are made from the lumps of cow dung and decorated further with flower, leaves, colorful papers of gilt, vermilion, etc. The head grains of maize and wheat are also used to decorate the motifs, which include the sun, the moon and five stars. Throughout, they sing and perform prescribed rituals. On the final day, the images are immersed in a river, pond or any source of water. According to Parbai, 70, everyday, the village girls devote about one and a half hours in depicting the sanjhya. This is called sanjhya mandua in the local language. Everyday, the old mandna is scraped and new mandna is pasted. From 13th day to 15th day, mainly the bride depicts Sanjhya kot very minutely. There are set themes for each of the days.

There are some minor differences in the sanjhya from place to place. In Haldighati, the form of sanjhya and colour combination, selection of flowers etc. are a little different from the Boojhra village and other locations of Udaipur. The ganvataru - a variety of local flower is mainly used in this locality to decorate the motifs. One can see the direct impact of Nathdwara (Krishna) cult in this region on the sanjhya. The kot is decorated with the help of colorful gilt papers, green leaves and other things easily available in their surroundings. This festival is celebrated in Malwa region with greater details. The IGNCA team visited Malipura and Jaisinghpura in the city of Ujjain the Vinayaga village in Malwa for documenting the sanjhya and chitravan. The sanjya art is called sanji or sanjhi in Malwa region.

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