Saturday, July 04th, 2009 | Author:

pahariOne of the rich but relatively less known traditions of Indian paintings is Pahari Paintings. As the name suggests the paintings are from the hills of India. The credit of this rich tradition goes to Rajput kings of Himachal Pradesh. The kings were known for their great taste of art and culture. They patronized the tradition of Pahari paintings during 17th to the 19th century. The beauty of this Northern state greatly inspired the artists to create mesmerizing pieces of art. Generally, the backdrop of these paintings is breathtaking landscapes of the mountain ranges. Pahari paintings are mostly in miniature style.


One interesting aspect of Pahari painting is sort of modification or evolution it has undergone in last few centuries. Three distinct schools of Basohli, Guler-Kangra and Sikh have clearly defined this wonderful tradition. If we talk individually about these schools then Basohli School refers to early stage of Pahari painting. It started in 17th century and it has some unique characteristics. The most distinct characteristics is usage of bright colors like red, brown, green and yellow in the background of art works. Mythological characters were the primary themes of this school.


Guler-Kangra School had its time during 18th century. This school lots of change in Basholi style. As the name suggests, this style got developed in Guler and Kangra area and boasted of particular traits. Guler-Kangra style was more subtle in nature and had more of a lyrical nature. Delicate and fresher hues gave a distinct feel to Pahari paintings. This was followed by Sikh school which incidentally was the last developmental phase in Pahari painting. Though, it did not last long because of its raw theme.

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