Rajasthani School

Origin And Development

Rajasthani school of miniature painting flourished between 16th to early 19th century in the principalities of Rajasthan. Dr. A coomarswami The great scholar of Indian Art History discovered this school and introduced it as Rajput school. Later this school was called Rajasthani school. Rajasthan is divided in to parts by the aravali parvat,on the west are the jodhpur ,Bikaner and Jaisalmer to the east Mewar ,Bubdi ,kishangarh and kota .first of all the painting started from Mewar to Bundi and other parts of state.

It was inspired and influenced by Jain manuscripts painting of Gujrat along with Indian traditional art. Krishna leela is the most popular theme in the Rajasthani school. these topic have been derived from the literary work of Surdas .Tulsidas ,Meera bai Keshav das and Bihari lal also from Bhagvat Puran Ramayna and Geet Govinda etc.

Earlier this style was inspired by Vaishnava religion at that time the followers of Ramanuj like ballabhachaarya chaitany mahaprabhu etc. Had reached this religion to the climax. Important illustrations of Ramayna and Mahabharat of this school are also founded. Besides this theme later on painting have been done on romance ,general folk themes .illustration on Ragmala ,Barhmasa and nayk -nayika bheda,etc.Mewar ,Bubdi jodhpur , Bikaner ,kishan gharh and Jaipur are the sab school of Rajasthani school of  minture painting .

Main features

Verity of themes – There is a great verity in themes of Rajasthani paintings. themes are based on sessions (Brahmasa) music, hunting scenes religious themes like Ramayna, Mahabharta, love scenes and krishan and Radha have been depicted.

Colour scheme – The main colour used are the primery colours (red blue and yellow) green, brown and white. other colours in use are golden and silver.

Costumes – Females are wearing lehenga and choli with transparent dupatta, males are wearing turbun, jhabba , patka and pazama .

Facial feature – Face of full of emotions and feelings are the according the moods. The face is elongated, oval and profile (side pose) the forehead is in inclining downwards, long and pointed nose swelling out lips and pointed chin.

Depiction of women – The women of kishangarh school are very impressive Bani Thani of kishangarh school are world fame painting.

Lines– the lines are very fine powerful and rhythmic.

Depiction of nature – Nature has also been depicted very beautifully, different types of trees, floral trees, mountains, water, springs and lakes have been depicted in very attractive manners.

Silent Feature

1. Diversity in Themes, Scenes of any activity related of religion, Social, Court hunting Nayak – Nayika Bheda , Season (Barah Masa ),Rag Ragini etc.

2.The Powerful And rhythmic lines of this school are from old traditional Indian Art.

3. Glowing colours in deep harmonious contrast.

4. Variety of costumes of male and female of Rajasthan region .

5. Inspired from Indian epics, devotional poetry, Romantic poetry, and Indian Music.

6. Human Faces are shown from different angle.

7. Female figures are frequently painted .

8. Mostly Face are profile .

9. Classification of feminine charm in different modes and moods.

10. Some Large paintings are only at Kishangarh, Kota, Bundi and Bikaner.

Sub Schools


Mewar school flourished under the patronage of Rajput kings in a completely indigenous folk style. This School attained its height during the reign of Maharaja Jagat Singh (1628-1652). Sahibdin, a court painter of Mewar and Manohar, an artist from Mandu were noted painters of this school. Sahibdin Painted “Nayak-Nayika Bheda”, Bhagwat purana and series of “Ragmala” paintings. he also painted the themes from social and cultural life and transform paintings from Mewar paintings from primitive folk style into sophisticated style. 

The background in Mewar school was decorated with bright flat colors. Decorative natural scenes with simple architectural details are present. Human figures painted I this style have oval faces, long pointed nose, fish like eyes, narrow forehead and small mouth. The male figures were shown longer than female figures. Main garments of male figures were jama, patka and turban while female figures were choli lehenga and transparent odhani. The elephants and camels painted in this style look more natural than birds.


1. The larger number of painting in this style is centered around Krishna Bhakti cult. the costumes prevailing at the period, village life, senses from Rajput court, marriage processions songs and dances, inner life of the places but battle scenes have also been painted.

2. Bright and brilliant colors have been profusely used.

3. Male and female figure have long nose, oval shaped faces, elongated fish like eyes. the males use loose fitting garments. embroidered Pataka and turbans and females use loose long skirts. choli and transparent odhani (veils) The female figure have been drawn relatively smaller than the male.


Bundi school developed in Kota, Bundi and Jhalmar in the beginning of 17th century A.D. under the reign of raja ram Singh and raja arjun Singh. This school reached its climax in the middle of 18th century A.D. in the beginning this school had the effect of Mughal and Mewar school. Later on, it came as an independent school. in this school the nature has been depicted in real form. Red brown complexion is its special quality of Bundi school. they had round faces, long chin and eyes like lotus petals. The female faces are shown soft and smiling. Light and shade shown near the eyes, shows depth. The male figures are shown healthy, strong courageous. The ladies are painted in lehenga, choli and Ghaghara. 

The favorite themes of this school are Ragmala, Barahmasa and Rasikpriya. Lord Krishna is painted in blue color. Later on, the complexion of human face is replaced by flesh pink orange color. Bright colors like orange and green are almost only used in proper proportion. Gold and silver colors have also been used. Red color sky and lotus pond with bird are the special style of Bundi school. The notable works of this school could be seen in mural decoration of the chitrashala of Bundi palace. The main painters are Dondia, Surjanmal, Ahmed Ali, Ramlal and Utkalram. 


1. In Bundi paintings, human figure resembles, but expressions differ greatly.

2. Human face is round and small, the shades near cheeks, eyes and nose add charm and emotion to the figure.

3. landscapes of hills, thick jungles, rivers and lotus ponds and lakes with water birds have been painted beautifully.

4. The favorite theme of Bundi paintings are – Ragmala, Barahmasha, and Rasikpriya.


Rathore clan of Rajput of central India, Rao Jodha founded jodhpur in 1459. Initially jodhpur painter paint in Jain style. Jodhpur style developed during (1760-1780) A.D. in the reign of Vijay Singh. The soft and rhythmic lines and jewel like color composition excelled this style as a separate sub school of Rajasthani miniature. The relative size of jodhpur miniature art is bigger than that of others. This school reached its climax during the reign of man Singh (1803-1843) A.D. a series of 121 paintings painted in 1802 A.D. based on “Dhola and Marwani” ballad are assets of this school. 

Due to Mughal impact, graceful and romantic portraits of ladies have been painted in outline against a dark background. ‘a lady flying kite’ is one of its best examples. The female figures are shown uplifted forehead, sharp nose like beak of parrot, eyes like wagtails stretched up to ear, slim waist and long legs. They are decorated with variety of ornaments. Male figure has beautiful moustache and side burns. Their turbans are shown very high. big architectural scenes are painted in white color. Background is generally full of dense forest. Highly decorative designs, sparkling of colors like enamel on a dark background and angular legs of animals are special features of jodhpur school. The main artist of this school was Jitmal, Dana, Shivdas and Kalu etc.


1. Female figures are tall, trees tied up high in a knot and have high forehead. The heads are smaller compression in to the body, Eyes are starched to the ear in the shape of wagtail. Nose are sharp like the beak of parrot, waists are slim, Breast and buttocks are heavy and legs are long. The mustache and side burns of the male are spectacular.

2. Jodhpur painting are somewhat larger than other miniatures.

3. Female figures are somewhat shorter than compression to males.

4. The pavilions are white and large. There are massed twisted clouds in the sky and a dense grove of trees in the back ground.


Bikaner was founded by sixth son of Rao jodh, the founder of jodhpur in 1485. Since long Bikaner had been an important center of Rajasthani miniature paintings. Bikaner school developed under the patronage of Rathore clan of Rajput kings, like raja rai Singh, raja Karan Singh and raja Anup Singh after 17th century A.D. with a high Mughal character. In 1750A.D. Bikaner accepted Mughal sovereignty and a large number of artists from Aurangzeb’s court migrated to Bikaner. Ustad Hamid Ruknuddin, a famous painter was one of them. He illustrated themes of Rasikpriya and Bhagwat purana in this style. He was also expert in painting female figure and portraiture, Hasan Raza, Nooruddin, sahibdin etc. ‘Varsha Vihar’ is an important work of famous painter life. Bikaner school reached its climax during the reign of raja Anup Singh. The best form of these miniature can be seen in the illustrations of Barahmasa and Ragmla. The decoration of Anup mahal and Phool Mahal done in this style is worth seeing. 

Though most of the artist of this school were Muslims yet they pain Hindu’s themes very efficiently. In Bikaner style, half-closed eyes, small chin, tight lips, thin wrists of female figures have been painted. Males are shown narrow chests and tilted downwards moustaches. The ladies Ghaghara’s are decorated with stripes and fine works. Clouds have been painted in circular pattern. The leaves of trees are shown painted in cluster of repeated patterns. The domes and lattices painted in this style have clear Mughal effect. Its color composition is soft showing spiritualism. Mostly purple, green, grey and Badami color are used with tonal variations. the fine drawing clever use of jewel like color, landscapes, details etc. are the characteristics of Bikaner style. The subject matter of this school is based on themes from Ramayana, Mahabharata, Krishna legend and Krishna and love scene of Radha and Krishna. ‘Krishna supporting mount Goverdhan’ is the finest masterpiece of Bikaner school painted by Rukunuddin’s son Sahibdin. In 1690A.D.


1. Main theme of Bikaner paintings is based on Ramayana, Mahabharat, Krishna Legends, Ragmala and other love scenes of Radha and Krishna .

2. In human figures, a little tight lip is painted, eyes are half open chin small wrist are very thin. chest on comparison to other Rajput style seems under developed and mustaches of men, a little downward bent. Ghaghra of the women are decorated with diagonal strips.

3. Clouds are painted in special circular style.

4. Hunting scenes have also been beautifully depicted.


A very small estate Kishangarh is surrounded by Jodhpur, Shahpur and Ajmer. This estate was inherited by raja Krishan Singh in 1609 A.D., the eighth son of Raja Udai Singh of jodhpur. Kishangarh is situated near gundalia lake. te end of 18th century remarkably known as the closure time of the most of Rajasthani sub schools and sparkling birth of kishngarh school. This school flourished a some of the prominent schools of Rajasthan. The credit of flourishing this school goes to its scholar raja Sawant Singh (1748-1757). He himself was a great poet, critic, artist and musician. He wrote 76 books under his pen name nigari das. being the follower of Vallabh sect he was devotee of lord Krishna. He fell in deep love with an extraordinarily beautiful maid servant named Bani Thani. She was very smart and well-dressed always. Her name matched with her personality in each and every aspect. In his poems, he described Bani Thani as Radha. Nagari is another name of Radha. Hence, he took this pen name Nagari das.in 1757 he accepted asceticism and went to live in Vrindavan with Bani Thani where he died seven years later.it was the heavenly beauty of Bani Thani which inspired the painters of kishangarh to paint Radha most beautifully. The most famous artist of this school is nihalchand whose painting Bani -thani is supposed to represent kishangarh school. He was a court painter of Raja Sawant Singh. Some artist of kishsngarh school are Chhotu, Amirchnd, Surdhwaj, Bhawani das etc. 

In the beginning, the theme of the painting of this school was only radha and Krishna.  but later on, themes from “Geet Govind, Bhagwat purana, Bihari Chandrika, Nayak-nayika Bheda and harem scenes etc. have been painted. The most important feature of kishangarh school is depiction of women. They are painted having long eyes narrower than jodhpur style curved upwards, exaggerated arch of eyebrows, decorative hair curls hanging in front of ear, thin lips long straight pointed nose and pronounced chin. Their profile faces are long with high sloping fore head. Their long beautiful fingers and long neck fully decorated with pearl ornaments of different style also add beauty to these paintings. In kishangarh school Radha and Krishna have been treated as the soul and supreme god. Mostly primary colors red, yellow, blue and white have been used. Silver and gold colors add extra beauty to these paintings. Rhythmic, soft, graceful and elliptical lines have been used in these paintings. Soon after the death of raja Sawant Singh kishangarh school reached its climax. The beautifully painted Radha and Krishna are the hallmark of this school. 


1.Subject matter in kishangarh Schools widely varied. hunting scenes. court scenes. portraits are kings, Nawabs, emperors, and saints have been beautifully painted.

2.The picture are romantic life of Radha and Krishna describe in Geet Govind, stories from Bhagwat purana, scenes from Bihari Chandrika and Nayak nayika Bheda Are main subjects of Kishan garh paintings.

3. Female figures are made Slim, flexible and tall like creepers. Face are long with high and sloping foreheads. Pointed long nose bulging out well-cut-lips. long chins the long-drawn eyes curved upward in the shape “KHANJAN PKSHI” and bow like eyebrows have been beautifully painted. Long neck, long fingers, a lock of hanging near the ear enhance their aesthetic beauty.

4. Primary colors have been applied.

5. Horizon and Sky are replaced by creepers and foliage’s.


Raja Sawai Jai Singh (1693-1793) A.D. established Jaipur kingdom in a properly planned manner. The rulers of Jaipur were great lover of art and patronized paintings. Jaipur was he first Rajasthani kingdom which allowed Mughals in Rajasthan that caused Mughals influence on Rajasthani art and architecture by strong mutual and cultural exchange. Initially, Mughal impact dominated this indigenous art style. But later on, in late 18th century A.D., the Rajasthani style dominated the Mughal style under the personal inspiration of Jaipur kings so the birth of Jaipur school. Jaipur school has the special place in the history due to its originality. Jaipur school reached its climax during the reign of raja Pratap Singh (1779-1803) A.D. He was a great lover of art and a devotee of Krishna. 

Jaipur style shows unique union of devotion, romance and emotion.lines are flexible, soft and rhythmic. The use of light and shade is clearly visible. The human faces are round and medium in size. Their eyes are painted long like fish. Females have bright face, red lips , fleshy bodies and predominant breasts. Males have robust bodies, round nose yellow face and hair reaching up to ear. They wear pajamas and turbans in which diamond and pearls are studded. Their shoe tips are pointed and high. The ghagras of ladies are painted in dark color. Ornamental border and profusion of golden color add beauty to this style. The painted animals, birds and cows’ elephants, horses, peacock etc. look natural and beautiful. Romantic love scenes from harem have been paited nicely. Jaipur style is also known for it’s life size portraits of most of it’s rulers on walls and canvas. The main artist of this school were sahibram, ghasilal, hirachand , guman and hukma. ‘bihari satsai’ is one os it’s famous manuscripts. The main hemes of this school were ragmala depiction of seasons, Krishna leela, Ramayana and Mahabharat.


1. In the painting of Jaipur, there is a grace in the use of colors and lines. there is the expression of different postures.

2. The face of women is round. figure is in medium size; eyes are large and elongated with an upward curve.

3. The male figures have a robust body, round nose, and hair reaching up to the ear. The men wear loose payzamas and turban studded with diamonds. Ghaghara od women are painted with dark colors.

4. Jaipur paintings have ornamented borders.

5. Light and shades has been used properly.



Subject Matter

Maru Ragini is a vertical painting from Ragmala series it was painted by the painter of Mewar (Udaipur) namely sahibdin.

Title, Medium and Artist-

The Rajasthani miniature painting Maru Ragini painted by sahibdin in circa 1660A.D. belongs to the sub school of Mewar. The medium used in the is tempera (water colour) on paper on painting of size 23.5X 17 cm. it has been preserved at the National Museum New Delhi.


The painting is based on the famous love story of Dhola Maru which is a popular in Rajasthan. The painting is divided in two parts. In the upper part Dhola and Maru have been shown sitting under a yellow canopy with a red curtain facing each other. Maru is shown wearing Rajasthani costume and Dhola is shown wearing aristocratic attire sword and shield both are making love. on both sides, a big tree is shown an inscription is shown at the top. The lower part, Maru is caressing her pet camel, green back ground is shown. Along with these two male escorts taking sticks in their hands and one dog is running ahead the camel.  The camel is shown in deep yellow colour. The whole painting has early Mughal influence. Red, orange, yellow and dark green colour has been used in the painting, lines are thick and sharp.

Huma Values –

@ Love and devotion of the royal couple for each other,

@ Loyalty of the attendants toward there master.

@ They are accompanying him to ensure his well-being.

Description in 30 words-

Its tempera painting made by “Sahibdin” from Mewar sub school of Rajasthan. Here a king and his queen rides on a camel in desert with two mail escorts and a dog. Whole painting depicted Mughal impact.


Subject matter – The painting depicts a scene from Ramayana when Bharat comes to chitrkut to meet Rama with his three mothers and guru Vishwa Mitra various episode have been shown in a single scene.

Artist, medium and title – The Rajasthani miniature painting Bharat meets Rama at chitrkut painted by Gumman in circa 1740-50 A.D. belongs to the sub school of Jaipur. The medium used in the is tempera (water colour) on paper on. it has been preserved at the National Museum New Delhi.


The theme is this painting has been taken from Ramayana, here Ram’s brother Bharat has come to meet Rama along with his three mother and guru vashishth . Green colour has been used in different shades. the use of green colours is the high light of the painting. dark green banana trees have been shown behind the huts.

Rama has been shown in different postures like bowing downwards for touching the feet of guru. folding his hand in front of guru vashishath etc. The composition has balanced there are total 49 figure in this painting. Rama, Laxman their mother’s guru vashishtha have been shown many times some ladies have also been shown sitting in profile pose in the

foreground. almost  9 scenes are painted in a one painting .stream red and white lotus flower has been shown there is no influence in this painting by observing the painting one feels that the painter in successful in depicting the subject matter every character in the painting seems to be familiar to the observes so the subject matter is justified .In this painting 49 human figure have been wonderfully depicted in nine different groups, now it is a collection of National Museum New Delhi.

Human Values –

@ love and devotion amongst family members.@ Forgiveness as a virtue (Rama holds no grudges against kaikeyi)

@ Respect of elders.

@ Obedience to follow the direction of the parents.

@ To be patient to listen to the advice of the people wiser than you (Rama listening attentively to his gurus)

@ Ability to sacrifice your own comforts for others.

@ Do not do things that you will repent later (kaikeyi asks for Rama’s exile and realizes her

mistake letter.

Description in 30 words –

Gumman’s painting from Jaipur, the artist depicts 49 figures in 9 scenes in a one painting. Episodes are taken from Ramayana. light colour scheme has been used to depict the reality.


Subject Mater –

This is a bravery painting, the prince Raja Anirudh Singh hora is sitting on the back of a running horse who is making a power show.

Title , Medium and Artist

This (water colour -tempera) painting of bundi school is painted by a famous painter utkalram in 18th century A.D.in decorative Mughal style.


Raja Aniruddh Singh Hara is seated with sword on a decorated colour galloping horse .he is the holding rains of the horse through both his of  hands  tightly .He scab and sword hilt are painted nicely in the composition of red and cadmium yellow he is dressed in typical Mughal style royal costumes along with turban is painted beautifully  in the mixture of cadmium yellow and brown ,his profile face looks very young ,soft and innocent .his pazama is dark orange colour .He is decorated with verity of armaments . the back ground is painted in dark color in the combination of blue,black and red . the entire composition is focused on Aniruddh Singh hara and his horse.

Both front lags of horse of uplifted in air .it is shown balance on its back legs. The head of the horse is painted smaller than its body which resembles like a decorative wooden toy. The fluttering tail of the horse marks the speed of the racing horse. now its collection of national museum new Delhi.

Description in 30 words – Its tempera painting made by “utklaram” from Bundi sub school of Rajasthan. It depicts a well-dressed young king seated on a decorated and speedy horse. with dark back ground in Mughal style.


Subject matter –

This miniature painting painted by Nooruddin is based on the Rasik Priya poetry of Keshavdas. the most widely illustrated work of medieval Hindi poetry. one day Krishna takes with him on the swing a Gopi other than Radha. this behaviour of Krishna offends Radha whose love foe Krishna will not tolerant any one in between. on this Radha feels betrayed and upset.

Artist, title and medium –

The Rajasthani miniature painting “Krishna on swing” belongs to Bikaner school. It was the painted during 1750-1760 A.D. by the artist Nooruddin. the medium was used water colour (tempera)

Description –

This painting is divided in two parts. the artists seem to have slightly change the episode. the upper parts of the painting relate to the first part of the episode, though with some change. Krishna is alone on the swing. he has his eyes fixed on Radha who is sitting on the porch, or on terrace. Radha too is looking at Krishna. thus, ego of both ends obstructs union and offends both. in the, lower part Krishna is seen sitting inside one bower and Radha inside the other. the eyes and faces of both betray grief and pain. From the action of Gopi’s hands, she appears to assert that being male and the mightier he is expected to have a broader, wider and more liberal mind and a greater responsibility towards Radha.

This painting is nearer to indigenous Rajput consciousness, it reflects folk art elements whereas in its fine draftsmanship technical execution and use of softer tones of colors, lines are thin and sharp. Krishna is wearing a crown and ornaments. At the back of Krishna and Radha there is a round pillow. White color is used for ornaments.

Human Values –

@ love and devotion of the divine couple, as an example for everyone.

@ Eagerness to have a dialogue to resolve the matter,

@ Goodwill amongst friends and followers who can help as mediators to help break the ice and put an end to fight.

Description in 30 words –

Its tempera painting made by “Nuruddin” from Bikaner of Rajasthan. In upper part Krishna seated on a hexagonal swing in front of Radha and lower part Both are seated on red carpet in royal Rajputana dress and style with one female attendant.


Subject matter – chaugan players is a horizontal painting in which two princesses are playing polo whit their four maids.

Artis, title and medium

This Rajasthani miniature painting of jodhpur sub school made by legend artist Dana of in circa 18 century A.D. medium of this painting tempera (water colour) on hand made paper.

Description –

Chughan players is the famous painting of Rajasthani school of miniature painting. It is painted by Dana in 18th century. This painting belongs to Jodhpur sub school. He used tempera on paper (water colour). The whole painting is in horizontal composition. There are six ladies, two of them are queens and rest of the four are their maids. The queen on a right side is sitting on a blue colour horse and queen on let side is sitting on a white colour horse. All the six players are taking sticks in their hands and pulling the polo ball their side. The leg of the horse is giving realistic look to the painting. hence it can be estimated that horse is in running posture. Both of the queens are well decorated with ornaments beautifully they are wearing lehenga, choli and odhani. all the horses are looking beautiful as their saddle arrangement seems to be regal. The horse of queen’s maids is running opposite to each other. all the ladies are wearing beautiful

turban. the eyes of all the players are made very careful as they are looking at an equal angle. This painting shows the Mughal effect. Therefore, artist Dana had shown his talent by giving realistic look to the painting. he had been completely successful in depicting the painting.

Human Values –

@Sports as a source of recreation for a healthy and fulfilling life.

@ Teamwork towards a common goal.

@ Develop a sense of healthy competition to get better in all fields.

Description in 30 words –

Its horizontal tempera painting made by “Dana” from jodhpur sub school of Rajasthan. It shows two princesses with four maids playing polo in two parts of painting. In Light and flat back ground all figures are in Rajputana dress.


Radha bani thani

Subject Matter – This painting is based on the court dancer of king Sawant Singh of kishangarh named Bani Thani. the king was great devotee of Radha and Krishna, he gave the name to this court dancer.

Artist,Medium and Title –

Nihal Chand of kishangarh has made this painting belongs from Rajasthani school of miniature painting. its miniature painting made on hand paper with water colour in tempera technique at circa 1760 A. D.

Description – This is one of the most well-known paintings of Rajasthani art of kishangarh..Nihal Chand’s  painting Radha of kishangarh  or Bani Thani  which means well turned out. Her face is elongated with high sloping forehead, pointed and long nose and bulging out well cut lips and pointed chin her long black tresses are flowing down from her shoulders

to her waist. long tapering fingers of her right hand are delicately holding the edge of the transparent odhahni. in her left hand there are two lotus buds   of pink and white colour which she is holding with her delicate fingers. odhani is decorated with golden motifs.  her dress and jewellery reflect the taste and the costumes of the contemporary Rajput royalty. she is wearing a white pearl necklace around her neck.

The background is painted in deep blue colour. lines are very sharp and thin .it is believed that Nihal Chand used Bani Thani the court dancer as his model for Radha. her body I painted in peach colour. this painting has beautiful colour scheme. on the whole painting is very beautiful. Description in 30 words –

Its tempera painting made by “Nihalchand” from kishangarh of Rajasthan. He made the beauty of Bani Thani divine and immortal. She is wearing transparent orhani and ornaments, holding lotus buds delicately. Her smile is enigmatic.

Description In 30 words –

Its tempera painting made by “Nihalchand” from kishangarh of Rajasthan. He made the beauty of Bani Thani divine and immortal. She is wearing transparent orhani and ornaments, holding lotus buds delicately. Her smile is enigmatic.       

Pahari School 

Origin And Development

Guler is supposed to be the place of origin of Pahari school of miniature painting according to different scholars. some scholars consider Basohli as the origin of Pahari school of miniature painting.In 1780 A.D. the GULER KALAM was its peak. Then entered Kngra and came to be known as KANGRA KALAM.

Auranzeb was the cruel Mughal ruler. He hated painting and music .so most of the Mughal artists went to hills where they got shelter and there they invited s different new style of painting known as Pahari miniature painting .in the beginning, Pahari school flourished as a folk art, it came to be known as a Pahari kalam.

Some scholar considers Guler as the palace of origin of Pahari school of art for many different reasons. firstly, the kings of Guler had friendly relation with Mughal emperors. There can be the possibilities that the artist from Guler might have shifted to Guler as it was nearer place for shelter and they might have renewed the folk art of Guler by adding some newness to it. some scholars consider that due to Aurangzeb’s cruelty, Mughal artists might have shifted to Basohali and according to them, Basohali which flourished under Raja Kripal Pal is the origin place of Pahari school.
The oldest Kangra painting are connected with Guler where raja Goverdhan Chandra and his family has been depicted. after him raja Prakas Chandra and then raja Bhoop Singh came into power. then under raja Sansar Chand’s Protonege, finest paintings were created. the raja Sansar Chand’s period is considered to be the golden period of KANGARA KALAM.

Sub Schools


Basholi was a small estate in Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir state. Basholi style was developed as the local folk and religious art traditions and refined realism of Mughal miniature. This style attained its individual style and reached its climax during raja Kripal pal of Basholi. The main center of this school were at Kullu , Chamba Mandi, Nurpur, Bilaspur , Suket and nalgarh.one can see the influence of Vaishnav cult on Basholi paintings because mainly artist painted lord Krishna and his various moods. The themes from Ramayana, Mahabharat, Bhagwat Purana, ten incarnations of lord Vishnu Geet Govind, Barahmasa are the subject matter of this school. Here Radha and Krishna have been painted as the symbol of god which conveys a spiritual message that soul has to cross many obstacles to meet almighty power and submerged into god.
Basholi paintings are beautiful and pleasant. They are full of love, romance, moods, emotions and spiritualism. Profile human faces are painted in bright intense flat colors. Lovelorn lotus like large eyes and use of posture of hand s for expressing thought and emotions are the main features of this school. Ornamental landscapes and high horizons are painted as its other special quality. It was just a tradition in Basholi school artist to paint one-inch wide blue sky called high horizon at the top of the composition. Females are shown wearing luxurious lehenga, half sleeves choli and transparent veils. Men and women both are decorated with variety of ornaments. There is much stress on color scheme in this style. The clarity in designs, forms, figures and emotions are shown by colors.  Mostly red, yellow, blue and green colors are used. Red represents the love and blue represents Krishna. He is wearing yellow dhoti his upper half if naked. He is also wearing long white pearl garland and crown with peacock plumes along with ornaments. Light and heavy rains are shown with dotted and straight lines. Sunlight is depicted by yellow color. The portrait named of Chamba Jeet Singh and king of Sansar Chand made by Nainsukh is worth seeing portraiture in Basholi style. Devidas, Nainsukh, Manaku, Golu Ranjha were the main artist of this school.


1. In Basohli, use of strong brilliant colors reinforces (bright red, yellow green etc.) its spirited approach to the subject matter .

2. Figures with distinctive features such as fish shaped elongated eyes or large expressive lotus shaped eyes. round chins, prominent nose oval face, receding foreheads, powerful body with a pleasant plumpness present an idealistic body symmetry and lend distinction to female figure.

3. clarity of design and wonderful effect is created by the mixture of blue and yellow, red and blue, gray and brown color which enhance the beauty of the painting.

4. The shining bright fragment of beetle wings imitating emerald in jewelry and droplets of thick white paint giving the effect of real pearl are basohli trademark.

           KANGRA SCHOOL

Kangra painting s have been considered one of the best miniature paintings of the world. This school was born in 18th century as a mixture of Rajasthani and Mughal style. It teaches its peak due to its real splendor under the sincere protonege of Kangra raja Sansar Chand (1775-1823) A.D. Kangra School flourished due to devotion and efforts of the refugee artists of Aurangzeb s court and local folk Pahari artist of Guler and Chamba. After a series of long research work. Its noticed that kangra paintings are painted in planed manner after removing all the defects of Rajasthani and Mughal miniatures. Kangra style has its own original virtues and traditions. Guler Nurpur and Tira- Sujanpur were main centers of Kangra school.

Raja Sansar Chand devotion to Krishna cult and his love of romantic, literature inspired the Kangra school artist to [paint on themes like romance, religious, and literature. They painted numerous painting based on deferent episode of Ramayana .and Mahabharat. Bhagwat Puran .Geet Govind rasik Priya Bihari Satsai  Barhmasa and Ragmala. They also painted general life scenes like workers in the field, people taking warmth of the fire festival s like Holi and fairs etc. very gracefully. 

The matchless impressive female figures painted with required facial expressions have put life in Kangra paintings. They are slim and soft. Their round profile face, large bow like eyes and long fingers are able to express internal sentiments effectively. They are painted wearing Indian traditional garments choli lehenga and transparent veil. They are decorated with Payal, Bangles, Rings, Garlands and Kumkum on forehead. Males are shown in Angraka, pajama and turban. Krishna has alwaya been shown in yellow dhoti and blue naked body. There is very alive and naturally depiction of birds and animals in this school. Kangra artist used mostly very bright red, yellow and blue colors. They used colors like pink, green and mauve etc. application of gold and silver color has increased the beauty, reality and brightness of Kangra paintings.


1. Along all Rajput paintings, the paintings of kangra have a status of their own because, of their maturity, fine sense of beauty, artistic and poetic sensibility, rhythmic lines and color combination which is soft and mellow.

2. Only in Kangra, the artists synthesized different shades   of primary colors and use delicate and fresher hues.

3. A single character has been serially portrayed in different postures engaged in different activities to convey the community of incidents of life.

4. The female representing an ideal of beauty is depicted with soft, refined and rhythmic curved lines with a look of innocent sensuality.

5. The depiction of flowers plants, creepers and trees birds and animals – reveals the power of keen observation of the artists.


The last phase of Basohli style was closely followed by the Jammu group of the paintings mainly consisting of the portrait of raja Balwant Singh of “Jasrota” (a small place near Jammu) by Nainsukh. An artist who originally belonged to Guler but has settled at Jasrota. He worked both at Jasrota and at Guler. These paintings are in a new naturalistic and delicate style making a change from the earlier traditions of the Basohli art. The colours used are soft and cool. the style of appears to have been inspired by the naturalistic style of the Mughal painting of the Muhammad shah period.

At Guler another state in the Pahari region, a number of the portraits of Raja Goverdhan Chand of Guler were executed in circa 1750 A.D. in a style having close affinity with the portraits of Balwant Singh of Jasrota. They have been drawn delicately and have a bright and rich palette.

The finest group of miniature done in the Pahari region is represented by the famous series of the Bhagwat, the “Geeta Govind” that the “Bihari Satsai” the “Barahmasa” and the “Ragmala” painted in 1760 A.D.  The exact place of the origin of these series of painting is not known.

An illustration of the famous series of the Bhagwat painted in the Guler style is in the collection of National museums. In this miniature Krishna Is shown Killing a demon Vatsasur on the bank of Yamuna. Gopas and cows Appear tariffed and a tree has been uprooted by the violent movement of the demon in the guise of a calf to kill Krishna. The style is naturalistic and is marked by delicate drawing and fine modeling.

Kullu – Mandi

Along with the naturalistic Kangra style in Pahari region, there also flourished a folk style of painting in there Kullu – Mandi area mainly inspired by the local tradition, bold drawing and the use of dark and dull colours mark the style. Though influence of the Kangra is observed in certain cases yet the style maintains its distance folkish character. A large number of portraits of the Kullu and Mandi rulers and miniature on other themes are available in this style.

A miniature form the series of the Bhagvata in the collection of the national museum was painted by Shri Bhagwan in 1794 A.D. Illustrations show Krishna Lifting Goverdhan mountain on his little finger to save the people of Gokul from the worth of India who had let loose heavy rains. The dark clouds and rain in the form of white dotted lines are shown in the back ground. the drawing of figure is bold tough rather stiff. Thae painting has a yellow floral border.

Another example of the Kullu painting is of two girls flying kites. The miniature is in the folk style of late 18th century and is marked by bold drawing and dark and dull colour scheme. The back ground is dull blue. the girls wearing the typical costumes and ornaments, which were worn, in the Kullu region at the period. Two flying parrots indicate sky in symbolic manner. The miniature belongs to the national museum, New Delhi.


Basohali style of Pahari paintings took roots in Chamba with artist migrating here in 18th century after the declain of Kangra school. Raja Uday Singh, Raja raj Singh, and Raja Umed Singh patronized this school of paintings where portraits and hindu legends took priority. During the reign of raja Charhut Singh, art reached the masses and folk-art influence increased. The painting of Chamba cover in its miniatures the effect of folk art, mural and the Mughal influence. Chamba school apparently lasted the longest till the 19th century. The painting was generally painted with the Hindu religious themes. particularly the legends of Hindu mythology such as Radha Krishna, Shiva Parvati, Yashoda and Krishna Gopi’s, Krishna Sudama, Durga Saptshati love scenes and bird and animal s main painters of the school are Nikku From Basohli, Durga and Lehru.


Garhwal style has very closed similarity to the Kangra style which itself is an offshoot of Guler. or it can be said then they both drew inspersion from a common source – Guler. In 1658 a nephew of Aurangzeb had escaped to this region and along with him came a few artists, maula ram one of their descendants     improved on the kangra style and excelled in the field. but historions do not consider him to be a Garhwal style completely because he was an immigrant from foreign.

A distinctive style of Garhwal evolved as a result of strong Guler influence after a few martial alliances between the rulers of both of regions. the painting depicts the scenic beauty of local river and hills. The peaceful setting in the backdrop of beautiful figure in the romantic compositions bring the nostalgia of peace and simplicity that prevailed in India before all external invasions. another prominent artist of this school is Chaitu, a further descendent of Manku from Guler. Nayak Nayika Bheda is widely painted. Varsha vihar a painting of Radha Krishna in rain is also worth mentioning other subjects are Geet Govind, Krishna Sudama story, Ramayana and Mahabharata.



Subject matter – This horizontal painting is an illustration from the “Geet Govind” series by “jaidev”. It deals with the legends and the plays of Radha and Krishna Symbolising soul’s devotion to god.

Artist, Title and medium – This paintin belongs to Basohali Sub School of Pahari school by Manku. In 1730 A.D..

 Description – The Pahari Painting Krishna with Gopis belongs Basohli Sub school of art. It was painted during 1730A.D.by the artist Manku. It was painted in tempera (water colour) on paper.

The painting’s theme has been selected from Geet Govinda series. five Gopi’s have been shown around Krishna who is in the centre of the painting. They are adoring Krishna .one Gopi has been shown folding her hand a bottle and glass on the right side of Krishna, Amongst the two Gopi’s on the left side, one Gopi is playing Krishna and other Gopi has been shown with folded hands.
A scene from Vrindavan has been depicted. Yamuna river has been shown in the foreground. The back ground has been depicted in orange colour. We can find some trees with deferent shapes of leaves but they are having the same level of height. One each side a big tree is there in the back ground. Orange yellow sky blue and red colours have been used. Krishna’s crown is very attractive and ornaments of Gopi’s are very decorative.
The painter is successful in depicting the subject matter in of the painting because the theme “adoration of Krishna by Gopi’s” can be understood easily while watching the painting, so, the subject matter is justified.

Human Values –

@ Love faith devotion and surrender for the supreme power.

@ Equal love for all followers (Krishna loves all).

Description in 30 words –

This Pahari school tempera painting from Basohali sub school made by “Manku”. Here all eight gopies express their regards to Krishna. Facial expressions of all members are divine and spiritual in a forest of Vrindavan at the bank of Yamuna. 


Subject matter –

This painting is based on the story of Bhagavat purana showing Nanda, Yashoda and Krishna with Kinsmen in a scene from their journey while migrating from Gokul to Vrindavan. Nanda is a chieftain of his township was advising by his people to shift to Vrindavan close to Govardhan hill. Kansa’s court was near Gokul and he was making repeated attempts to harm Krishna. But people wanted to save their future saviour (Krishna) and knew that he was no ordinary human.

Artist, title and medium –  

This horizontal painted by Nainsukh from Kangra Sub School of Pahari school of miniature painting in 1785 – 90 A.D. on size of 35.5 X27.5 Cm.

Description –

The Miniature Painting is NAND YASHODA AND KRISHNA WITH KINSMEN GOING TO VIRINDAVAN painted by artist Nainsukh from Kangra during 1785-90 A.D. was done in water colour (tempera)on paper. I like this painting very much. The subject matter is very appealing It has been taken from Bhagavat Purana. Here Krishna’s father Nanda his mother Yashoda along with kinsmen are going to Vrindavan. The painter has been successful in depicting the subject matter of the painting. the painting’s subject matter is justified on the basis of the aesthetic parameters as the way Krishna has been shown in the centre rising the right hand upward towards Vrindavan is very appealing. Balram is also shown rising his left hand towards Vrindavan in a beautiful manner. The lines and colours are beautiful, rhythmic and harmonious. two trees on the left and one tree on the right side of the painting have been depicted beautifully. Two birds have been shown sitting on the tree. A beautiful pond has also been shown in this painting. so, this painting has all the qualities for being appreciated and like by all the aspects justified the subject matter of the painting.

Human Values –

@ To be faithful of the master (people follow the master keep him safe).

@ To be a good member of the group /team for common interest.

Description in 30 words –

This tempera painting is made by “Nainsukh” from Kangra of Pahari school. A journey of Nand family has been depicted in realistic in traditional dress. Humans animals and nature and other things are depicted divine and natural.

Question n Answer

Que. Write a note on compositional arrangement of the Pahari school of miniature painting?

Ans- the compositional arrangement of Pahari school of miniature painting has been shown with great efforts and simplicity. Everything is well composed and well balanced in the Pahari painting.Nature scenes are very well composed as the trees clouds jungles etc. Have been depicted very beautifully. the land scape scenes are very beautiful .the lightening and rain scenes are very appealing. Inspite of having no proper perspective. the Pahari miniatures looks very attractive high horizon has been shown in the Basohli paintings. for examples, the Pahari paintings from Basohli school “Krishna with Gopies” has high horizon. he Yamuna river has been shown in the foreground which is covering very less area while the back ground which has been shown in orange colour is covering a very large area. The Pahari painting Krishna with Gopies and Rag Megha both appear to be well balanced and both are the examples of beautifully colourd compositions. All the figures and compositional elements are set according to the summary and balanced of the painting.

Que- Evaluate the aesthetic grandeur of miniature painting ‘Krishna with Gopi’s’ duly base on the aesthetic parameters.


Identify any relevant painting included in your course of study


comprising of the following features and explain it in that painting accordingly- ‘depiction of the Krishna Lila themes in the Pahari miniature paintings’

Ans.-The Pahari painting Krishna with Gopi’s belongs to Basholi school of art. it was painted during 1730.A.D. by artist “Manaku”. It was painted in tempera medium on paper. Krishna Lila themes have been depicted through this relevant painting in Pahari miniature paintings included in our course of study. 
The theme of the painting has been selected from the “Geet Govind” series. Eight Gopies have been shown around Krishna who is in the center of the painting. they are aoring Krishna who is wearing a graceful loin cloth and is embracing two of the Gopies. One Gopi is kneeling before Krishna one is touching Krishna feet. One Gopi on the right side of the painting is standing with folded hands (seems to be Radha) with an attendant holding a round fan over Radha’ s head two Gopies o left side are talking to each other (one on the left hand is holding the chunari).

Krishna’s crown has feather on it. Gopies attractive ornaments and rich costumes of all the figures of the composition are enhancing the aesthetic grandeur of the painting. All faces have large lotus shape eyes and same line staring from forehead to nose have been shown beautifully hands and feet of gopis have been decorated in red colors. The composition has bright, bold and lustrous colors. The small portion of the Yamuna river in the foreground is also shown here.in the background on the horizon line   is shown a lane of trees so same height and size. Some trees with different types of leaves are on the right side of the foreground the tree in the form of nature are complementing   the beauty and devotion of the gopies. so, the painter is completely successful I depicting the subject matter of the painting and he also justifies the quality of aesthetic grandeur duly based on aesthetic parameters.

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