Guest Blog 5: Miniature Paintings and Artists in Rajasthan

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A trip to colourful, majestic Rajasthan is a ‘must visit ‘ on any traveller’s bucket list, be it an Indian local or visitor from across borders. This western state of India has just so much to offer in terms of its forts, palaces, artificial lakes built to collect water in this arid land, as well as culture, stories of brave Rajputs and their queens, oral story telling with puppets and music, that a flitting butterfly visit will do no justice! Wait a minute, I have not mentioned the history and geography of the food as yet! Each region distinctly has their own flavours, masalas, ingredients that are seasonal and their availibility in the region. So get packing your bags, look up homestays or plush hotels if you wish and come aboard – travel to Rajasthan! (Sorry! its virtually, this year, due to the pandemic)

Our young guest blogger Miss R. shares a brief glimpse of the vacation she could sneak out to (before the expiry of her air ticket, purchased prior to the pandemic). An architect by profession, living in Mumbai, she embodies virtues of patience, love and compassion to the brim! An avid reader, dabbles in writing for a magazine and relaxes with either a paint brush or a kitchen ladle in hand. R has a natural eye for architectural designs and loves everything that involves creativity. “Why not explore the wide spectrum of the traditonal Art and pintings of EACH state of India? she says. “There is just SO much to explore and understand!

Thanks R. for your guest writing, keep sending us your travel updates.

The city of Udaipur is known for its luxurious palaces and scenic lakes. The name itself brings visuals of grand monuments, opulence, history and royalty. However, during my recent visit, I realised that there is more to the city , especially its by lanes, than its shopping outlets and Dal Baati (a popular local Rajasthani dish).

                    Udaipur is also home to Miniature Art Paintings – a detailed art form depicting scenes from history. There are several talented artists in Udaipur whose miniature art is sure to astound you! They are usually traditional artists – the third or fourth generation in their family who proudly carry forward the legacy. Miniature paintings are painted on silk using natural stone colours. As told by one of the artists, the stone colours available naturally are merely 4 or 5 in number. However, mixing these five colours enables them to create up to 100 shades which are visible in all the paintings. The colour gold is used profusely and is predominant in all the designs. Most of the paintings depict the Royal events in history or life in the Mewar region (olden day Rajasthan). Finely painted animals and birds are also popular along with paintings of Gods – especially Shreenathji and Radha Krishna. What remains a favourite amongst the tourists is the highlight of the several Rajasthani cities which makes a great souvenir.

                  The noteworthy aspect of my interaction with the artists was that they proudly conveyed that they operate only as freelancers. The Government has provided them with a studio space entirely free of cost which enables them to paint and sell on their own terms. Moreover, this studio is along the road to Sajjangarh Monsoon Palace – a popular tourist destination. It was heartening to see this kind of support to the artists which is crucial to encourage traditional art and create an environment where artists are appreciated and get their due.

The next time you visit Udaipur do pay a visit to one of these artists and you shall surely be mesmerised with their skills.

Thanks R. it brought back memories of our (sneaked out) trip to Jodhpur recently. A getaway from the lockdown at home. The local artist and musicians playing their simple stringed instruments and dholak were surely attracting the few visitors to the Meherangarh fort. Due to the pandemic, their livelihood and earnings have taken a deep hit, but some do perform at nearby lakes, visit homes and teach the next generation. We attended an evening performance here and were amazed at the hidden talent of these simpletons!

And here is a piece of architecture in the by lanes…the famous Jharokha windows with floral embellishment, a trusted way to keep the heat and desert dust away from the women folk at home, yet permitting them to get a view of the street outside. Many by lanes are now havens for small shops, trinkets, artists ware etc.

Hoping you have all enjoyed a virtual visit to popular destination Rajasthan to admire the beauty and read up history. If you wish to submit a guest blog do write to me at seethepalliv@gmail.com. There is so much to share and explore from each other.

About Veena S.

'Travel broadens the mind.' It's been a wonderful journey through the past few years, living and travelling to many countries. Certainly there were few eye openers, at other times just a comparison on cultures and food and cuisines. My blog is my learning journey to capture and re live these moments, share photographs and use technology. Come ...see the world with me.

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