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From Devotion to Art: Discovering the Vibrant Colors and Mythical Themes of Rajasthan’s Nathdwara Paintings

Spread India's Glorious Cultural & Spiritual Heritage

ॐ श्री गुरुभ्यो नमः ॐ श्री शिवानन्दाय नमः ॐ श्री चिदानन्दाय नमःॐ श्री दुर्गायै नमः 

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Nathdwara Painting refers to a painting tradition and school of artists that emerged in Nathdwara, a town 40 kms north of Udaipur city, in the Western state of Rajasthan in India. 

Nathdwara Pichwai paintings of Rajasthan

Nathdwara paintings are of different sub-styles of which Pichhwai paintings are the most popular. The word Pichwai derives from the Sanskrit words ‘Pich’ meaning back and ‘Wais’ meaning hanging.

A Glimpse of Nathdwara Pichwai Paintings through a bunch of Google Images

Nathdwara Pichwai paintings of Rajasthan

These paintings are cloth paintings hung behind the image of the Hindu god Shrinathji of Nathdwara.

The Nathdwara school is a subset of the Mewar school of painting and is seen as an important school in the 17th and 18th century miniature paintings.

The sub-styles of Mewar painting include Udaigarh, Devgarh and Nathdwara as important centers of miniature production.

Nathdwara Pichwai Paintings : Online Tutorials :

Nathdwara Pichwai paintings of Rajasthan
Nathdwara Pichwai paintings of Rajasthan
Nathdwara Pichwai paintings of Rajasthan
Nathdwara Pichwai paintings of Rajasthan

The local temple of Shrinathji is believed to have provided a boost to the art activities in the town.

It is recorded that to avoid the oppression of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, the image of Shrinathji, a child manifestation of the Hindu god Krishna was installed in Nathdwara in 1670 by Goswami priests from Mathura.

After this, many artists, motivated by religious fervor came and created paintings of Srinathji.

Pichwai Painting Artists :

Nathdwara Pichwai paintings of Rajasthan
Nathdwara Pichwai paintings of Rajasthan

Pichhwai paintings are intricate paintings which portray Lord Krishna in different moods, body postures, and attire more commonly found on a cloth or paper. It is a very ancient form of art passed on from generation to generation and has a very devotional theme on Lord Krishna.

Nathdwara Pichwai paintings of Rajasthan

Other than its artistic appeal, the purpose of Pichhwais, is to narrate tales of Krishna to the illiterate. They have become the main exports of Nathdwara and are in much demand among foreign tourists in Rajasthan.

These artists mostly live in ‘Chitron Ki Gali’ (Street of paintings) and ‘Chitrakaron Ka Mohallah’ (Colony of painters) and make a close community with constant interaction.

It is no wonder that many a times a Pichhwai painting is a group effort, where several skillful painters work together under the supervision of a master artist.

Most works produced in this style revolve around the figure of Shrinathji as a manifestation of Krishna. There are also paintings that show the Lord in different costumes celebrating different festivals.

Other themes like Krishna with mother Yashoda, baby Krishna etc are also painted in this style. Some of the paintings are gem-encrusted.

The Shrinathji idol is the principal deity of the Nathadwara Haveli,  with the left arm of the deity always raised above his head lifting Mount Govardhana, while his other hand resting on his waist.

Nathadwara is the present headquarters of the Pushti Margiya Vaishnavite cult of Hinduism.

Nathadwara paintings display a high degree of skill in draughtsmanship, portraiture and in composition.

Krishna Leela paintings depict Krishna’s childhood and scenes from his early life in Gokul such as playing in mother Yashoda’s lap, stealing butter, Ras Leela with Radha and other Gopis, lifting Govardhana mountain etc.

Nathadwara is a meeting point of various styles of Rajasthani paintings because painters of this school have migrated from places representing various Rajasthani traditions of painting.

Spread India's Glorious Cultural & Spiritual Heritage

By Mala Chandrashekhar

Introducing Blogger Mala Chandrashekhar - a specialist academically trained in modern Western sciences, yet deeply enamored with India's timeless ethnic arts, crafts, and textiles. Her heart beats for the rich and glorious cultural and spiritual heritage of India, and she has dedicated her entire blog to spreading the immortal glories of ancient India worldwide. Through her simple yet impactful blog posts, Mala aims to reach every nook and corner of the globe, sharing India's beauty and wisdom with the world.

But Mala doesn't stop at just sharing her own thoughts and ideas. She welcomes constructive criticisms and suggestions to improve her blog and make it even more impactful. And if you share her passion for India's culture and heritage, she extends a warm invitation for high-quality guest blog posts.

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4 replies on “From Devotion to Art: Discovering the Vibrant Colors and Mythical Themes of Rajasthan’s Nathdwara Paintings”

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