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Pahari Paintings

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.

Kangra Paintings

Saturday, May 30th, 2009 | Author:

radkri2There are so many different types of paintings in India, some of which have been obsolete, while some have not been that popular. On the other hand, some schools of arts have emerged and have been significantly popular in keeping India on high grounds in the international art market and art industry. Thus, one of the better known gifts of Indian to the global art world is Kangra paintings. Kangra was a princely state in Himchal Pradesh. It is this place that patronized this art. The popularity of Kangra paintings accelerated after the fading of the Basohli School of painting in mid-eighteenth century. Soon later, Kangra paintings emerged in great magnitude and volume and the Pahari painting school, came to be known as Kangra paintings. The epicenters of Kangra paintings are Guler, Basohli, Chamba, Nurpur, Bilaspur and Kangra. Later this style also spread in Mandi, Suket, Kulu, Arki, Nalagarh and Tehri Garhwal. Today, this style is collectively known as Pahari paintings. In the 17th and 19th centuries, Kangra paintings were patronized by the Rajput rulers and thus they belong to the School of Pahari paintings


Pahari, which means hilly in Hindi language, were paintings that were made in the hilly regions of the ever so beautiful Himachal Pradesh. It is the development and the evolution of the Pahari paintings, which the Kangra School of paintings has evolved. Under the patronage of Maharaja Sansar Chand, who was an early patron of Kangra style, it became the most important center of Pahari painting.