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Post Maurya Art

Indus Art The Indus civilization or the Harappan

Sunga

civilization, which flourished during the Bronze


Age i.e. 2500-2000 BC is ranked among the four
widely known civilizations of the old world.

Period of Chaityas, Viharas, Stupa

Chaitya hall (Prayer hall) with ventilated


windows

Extensive excavation work that has been done


since Independence has so far identified more than
100 sites belonging to this civilization. A few
prominent among them are Dholavira (Gujarat),

Chaitya hall at Bhaja Sunga period

Chaitya hall at Karle Andra period

Stupas hemispheric dome with Buddhas


relic inside

Kalibangan (Rajasthan), Lothal (Gujarat),

Sarkotada (Gujarat), Diamabad (Maharashtra),

Famous stupas Bharhut, Sanchi,


Amravati

Alamgirpur (U.P.), Bhagwanpura (Haryana),

Banawali (Haryana), Kuntasi, Padri (Gujarat) and

Railings decorated with figures of animals


and Yaksha and Yakshi

Mauda (Jammu).

Maurya Art : The Mauryan architecture was

Sanchi stupa is most decorated

Three schools of art

embalmed in timber.The art of polishing of wood

Amravati

reached so much perfection during the Mauryan

Use of marble

Amravatiand

period that master craftsmen used to make wood

Nagayinkonda

glisten like a mirror. (First Imperial art)


Court art / Popular art

Mathura

Wooded architectural aspects by Ashoka

Art of polishing in pillars Lauriya

Detailed ornamentation

Use of red buff (Sikri)


sandstone

Nandagarh Pillar

image of Buddha

Pillars made of Chunar sandstone

Capitals mainly consists of Bull, Lion

Sarnath Lion Capital (National Emblem)

Sanchi Lion Capital

Influence

Standing figure
of Kanishka and
Buddha are famous.

and

Gandhara

Hellenistic art

Developed during
Kushans

elephants

of Archaemenian

First to build life like

Influence of Indo Greek


art

Chief centres Taxila, Sarnath


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peacocks and a deer) have been approved

and Greek Gods

by him.
(ii)

Buddhas life Birth to

(a) The land of Cholas, Pandyas, Satyaputras and


Keralaputra along with Ceylon is mentioned.
(b) Two medical services, one for human beings

Loriyan Tangai (Swat

and other for animals, were provided by the

valley)

state.

Minimum ornaments and

(c) Emphasis on plantation of trees and digging

use of schist marble and

at road for wells have been recorded.

grey sandstone

(iii)

Asokan inscriptions have been divided into:


(a)

(b)

(i)

(ii)

(a) It mentioned about his order to yuktas, rajukas


and pradesikas about their traveling across

separate Edicts at Kalinga.

the empire at every five years interval.

Minor rock Edicts: Can be divided into

(b) Cordial relationship between son and parent,

two subgroups.

friends and relatives and generosity toward

The first group includes Minor Rock

Brahmins and shramanas has been

Edicts, Queens Edict, Barbar Cave

emphasized.

Inscription and Kandahar Bilingual

(c) Prohibition of killing and spending.

Inscription.

(iv)

4 th Major Rock Edict: His firm

The second group is entirely concerned

convictions of dhamma and harmonious

with the Buddhist community and

social relationships have been claimed.

Bhabra

Insription,

the

(v)

5th Major Rock Edict: Emphasis of good

Rummindei Pillar Inscription, Nigalisagar

doing by him and his family; appointment

Pillar Inscription and Schiem Edict.

of office of Dhamma; welfare of people

The Pillar Edicts are seven in number.

including Greeks, Kambojas, Gandharas,

Major Rock Edicts


(i)

3rd Major Rock Edict:

Major Rock Edicts: 14 Edicts and two

includes

(c)

2nd Major Rock Edict:

Sculptures related to

Stupas in Guldara,

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Buddha shown as Roman

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Risthikas, Pitinikas, welfare of prisoners,

1st Major Rock Edict: prohibited animal

nobles, old, poor and servants, and thus

sacrifice, especially during festive

spread of dhamma have been claimed and

gatherings, but at the same time killing of

emphasized.
(vi)

three animals in royal kitchen (i.e. two


2

6th Major Rock Edict:

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(a) Speaks of the similar attitude of Asoka

(a) Emphasizes on efficient administrative order.

towards different sects.

(b) Contains famous instruction: At all times,

(b) Contains the famous statement: Whosoever

whether I am eating, or am in the womens


aprartments or in my inner apartments, or at

honours his own sect or disparages that of

the cattle-shed, or in my carriage, or in my

another man, wholly out of devotion to his

gardens where ever I may be, my informants

own, with a view to showing it in a favourabled

should keep me in touch with public business.

light, harms his own sect even more seriously.


(xiii)

(c) Also contains another famous instruction And


whatever I may order by word of mouth,

13th Major Rock Edict:

(a) Tells about conquest of Kalinga where a

whether it concerns a donation or a

hundred and fifty thousand people were

proclamation, or whatever urgent matter is

deported, a hundred thousand were killed

entrusted to my officers, if there is any dispute

and therefore Ashoka felt remorse and felt

or deliberation in the council, it is to be

that conquest by dhamma was the foremost

reported to me immediately, at all places, at

victory.

all times.
(vii)

(b) Was the longest Asokan edict.

7th Major Rock Edict: Co-ordination, self

(xiv)

control and purity of mind among all sects

(viii)

texture of other edicts.

has been urged.

Few Important Informations about Edicts:

8 th Major Rock Edict: Talks about

(i)

children.

9th Major Rock Edict: Instruction against


trivial and useless ceremonies and

(ii)

Longest pillar edict The Bhabra Edict.

(iii)

Seven major pillar edicts Appendix to

emphasis on ceremony of dhamma.

rock edicts.

th

(x)

10 Major Rock Edict:

(iv)

(a) Desirability of Asoka not for worldly fame


(v)

The minor rock edict of Yerragudi is


written in boustrophedon style.

(b) Criticism of evil inclination.


(vi)

11th Major Rock Edict: Glorification of

Nigalisagar Inscription confirms the


existence of Buddha Konakamma.

the gift of dhamma, the praise of dhamma,


(vii)

sharing and fellowship of dhamma.


(xii)

Four Minor pillar edicts: Signs of


Ashokas feneticism to Dhamma.

and glory but the glory in sphere of dhamma.

(xi)

The 6th Major edict contains the famous


claim of Asoka, All men are my

Dhammayatras.
(ix)

14th Major Rock Edict: Speaks about the

Bhabra rock edict informs us about


Asokas conversion to Buddhism.

12th Major Rock Edict:


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(viii)

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Asokan pillar of Nandangarh bears the

that are generally ascribed to the Mauryan phase.

figure of a peacock, pointing to the

They are:

association

(i)

A railing(?) pillar from Arjunapura,


Mathura.

of Mauryan kings with it.


(ix)

Barabar cave inscription talks about

(ii)

The oldest part of Stupas.

grant of Banyan cave to Ajivkas by

(iii)

Foundations of Chaitya halls at Sanchi


and Sonari.

Asoka.
(x)

Kandhar Rock inscription exists in

(iv)

Two Yaksha statues from Patna.

bilingual form, one in Greek and another

(v)

Few sculptures in red spotted sand-stone


from Mathura.

in Aramaic version.
(vi)

Stage-I Mauryan Art (c. 300 to 100 B.C.)

Few sculptures of grey polished stones


from Sarnath.

The sum total of the Mauryan treasury of


(vii)

art may be said to include:


(i)

Sanchi.

The remains of the royal palace and city


(viii)

of Patliputra.
(ii)

A monolithic rail at Sarnath.

(iii)

The Bodhimanda or the altar resting on

A chauri-bearing Yaksha statue from


Didarganj.

(ix)

A more than life size Yaksha from


Parkham.

four pilasters at Bodhgaya.


(iv)

A ribbed polished stone-umbrella from

The excavated Chaitya-halls or cave-

(x)

A hooded serpent canopy from Rajgir.

dwellings in the Barabar and Nagarjuni

(xi)

Terracottas from Sarnath, Basarh,


Bulandibagh, Kumrahar etc.

hills of Gaya including the Sudama cave


dated in 12th year of Asokas regin.

All these works of Mauryan period have been

(v)

The non-edict and edict bearing pillars.

divided into two general categories: (i) Court Art,

(vi)

The animal sculptures crowning the

and (ii) Folk Art.

pillars with animal and regal reliefs

(i) Court Art is represented by pillars and their

decorating the abaci of the capitals.

capitals.

The front half of the representation of an

(a) highly polished, tall and well proportioned

(vii)

elephant carved out in the round form at

columns with slightly tapering monolithic

Dhauli in Orissa.

shafts standing free in space by themselves

Along with these famous Mauryan art-works, there

are the best specimen of Mauryan court art.

are still other architectural and sculptural remains

There are two types of such columns: (a) edict


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bearing columns and (b) columns without any

in the case of Basarh-Bakhira pillar which

edicts. Columns of Delhi, Meerut, Allahabad,

is heavy and massive, seem to have maintained

Lauriya-Araraj,

a graceful and elegant proportion throughout.

Lauriya-Nandangarh,

Rampurva (with lion capital), Delhi-Topra,

(ii) Folk Art/Popular Art consisted of those

Sankissa, Sanchi and Sarnath represent the

art-works which were probably not commissioned

former category, while Rampurva (with bull-

by the emperor; the patrons were obviously local

capital), Basarh-Bakhira (with single lion

governors or well to do citizens. Yakshi of

capital) and Kosam (capital yet to be recovered)

Besnagar, the Yaksha of Parkham, the Chauri-

come into latter category. We have yet another

bearer from Didarganj and numerous terracotta

category which had dedicatory inscriptions such

figurines belong to this group.


During this period, the first major works

as those of Rummindei and Nigalisagar.

of architecture and stone-carving were made. We

(b) All the Mauryan columns, no matter where


they are set up, are chiseled from grey Chunar

also know something of the building techniques

Sandstone and have a lustrous polish perhaps

and fortifications. From about 200 BC onwards

of silicius varnish.

large number of miniature reliefs, mostly either


hand-modelled or pressed in moulds, came into

(c) The Mauryan column consists of four


component parts (i) the shaft, always plain and

existence.

In

the

Ganga

Delta

at

simple, circular in section and slightly

Chandraketugarh, there was a factory for such

tapering upwards without any base

works; and at PATNA have been excavated some

whatsoever; (ii) the capital of gently arched

superb terracottas of dancing girls, modeled in

bell shape in form of lotus petals; (iii) the

full round. As a result, dynastic guilds of sculptors

abascus square and plain in the earlier

and artisans seem to have grown up which were

specimens and circular and decorated in the

in a position to carve colossal stone-dedicatory

later ones: and finally (iv) the crowning

figures, sometimes mis-called Yakshas and

animal, seated or standing.

Yakshis.
Unfortunately, however the three-

(d) Mahapadmananda has been referred to in


the Puranas as Sarvarajocchetta,

dimensional form and advanced techniques of the

Sarvakskatrantakanripak and ekrat, the

Mauryan art was given up during post-Mauryan

supreme monarch.

phase.

(e) The surface of shaft is cut and executed in


remarkable precision and accuracy, and except
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Important Columns

Its Capitals

animals, those from Pompeii (before 79

1. Rampurva Column

Lion (Single)

AD) and at Begram (c. AD 100).

2. Rampurva Column

Bull (Standing)

Gupta Art

3. Lauriya Nandangarh Lion (Single)


Three types of Temples
4. Basarh-Bakhira

Lion (Single)

5. Sarnath Column

Four Semi lions united

(a) Square base

paneled roof

(b) Rectangular base

shikhar

(c) Circular base

projections at

back-to-back
6. Sanchi Column

Four Semi lions united


the corner ,
back-to-back
Manyar Math

7. Lauriya-Araraj

Garuda Capital

8. Rummindei

Horse Capital

9. Dhauli

Stone Elephant

,Rajgir

Seated Buddha (Sarnath) and Standing


Buddha (Mathura)

Painting Buddists and court scenes

Few Important Information:


(Ajanta and Ellora)
(i)

The Sarnath capital is one of the finest


Gupta Art
and highly finished examples of columnBetween Fifth and Seventh century, we find a
art.
unified Gupta style of Buddhist Art established in

(ii)

The elephant of Dhauli belongs to the


North India. The accounts left by Chinese pilgrims
popular tradition of arts.
describe numerous monastery shrines throughout

(iii)

The rajakumbhakaras were the special


Bihar, Bengal and Orissa, many of which have
class of potters who were commissioned
long disappeared, though a few have been located
for royal art-works.
and excavated.

(iv)

At Kaushambi, we have excavated a


(i) Buddhist Art

palace with a substantial tunnel-vault (3rd

(a)

There were 100 feet-high stupas and

century BC), and at Rajgir, some superb


multi-storeyed monasteries built of wood, brick
cyclopean fortifications have been
and stone; and each site was filled with images,
witnessed.
large and small, cut in stone, modeled in terracotta
(v)

A flowery and jeweled opulence,


or stucco and cast in bronze.
combined with erotic charm, appears full(b)

Among the excavated sites is the earliest

fledged in the earliest known ivories,


of the great Buddhist universities. Nalanda in
representing gorgeous girls and fantastic
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Bihar, which consists of clustered courtyards and

(a) Temple architecture

buildings of different patterns, including stupas,

(1) The fundamental pattern behind the Hindu

many of which were decorated with particularly

temples was very simple. The sacred numinous

fine stucco sculptures of Buddhas and

object stands within an enclosure and a cell.

Bodhisattvas.

The cell is raised on a plinth and to it may be

(c)

Buddhist art was, however, showing a

appended extra features, the common-most

decline during Gupta period. Even the Bodhi tree

being a portico and a decorated door frame.

at Gaya in Bihar was cut down in about 600 AD

Then came an ambulatory crowning tower

by a Hindu King (Shashanka) and shrine

and few other features in accordance with

converted into Hindu uses.

regional tradition.

In North-East, however, Buddhism

(2) Temples in Gupta period were built at Sanchi,

flourished greatly under the Pala dynasty where

Tigwa, Khob, Nachna Pipariya, Bhumara,

another Buddhist university was founded (at

Deogarh, Darra, mandsor, Bilsad, Gadhwa,

Vikramashila) and enormous effort was devoted

Tumain Bhitari, Erah, Pawaya,

to the elaboration of schools of philosophy, logic,

Ahichchatra, Bhitragaon, Ramtek and

ritual, medicine and magic to which incidentally,

Mandhal just to mention some important

Hindus were also admitted.

temple sites.

(d)

Hindu Art: Hindu art developed later

(3) Free-standing temples are the distinguishing

than Buddhist art in India as a whole because the

feature of the Guptan temple architecture as

oldest form of Brahmanical Hinduism did not

the growth of image worship necessitated an

demand any permanent installation for its

independent sanctum for the deity and thus

sacrificial rituals. Despite the disclosure made by

cave became inadequate for this function.

Basenagar (M.P.) inscription which speaks about

The earliest examples of temple architecture

the worship of Vasudeva around mid-2nd century

came from the Sanchi hills; at Bhumara,

BC, the natural tendency of Indians were to adore

there is an early shrine with an ambulatory;

and make offerings at any place in the countryside

we have yet other examples from Mathura

where the divine seems to show its presence. But

which housed the icons of Vishnu and Shiva;

this tendency made a successful alliance with

at Kunda, was also a very simple cell, restored

Indian theory of kingship around 2nd century A.D.

in Gupta times.

(ii)

resulting into dynastic deities and thus acquired


a sense of permanence.
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(b) Cave Architecture

exciting movement, Guptan sculpture suggests

Not all Hindu temples of this time were free-

serenity, security and certainty.

standing temples. The Buddhists in Deccan

(1) In this phase, India produced some of her most

continued to excavate their shrines in hill-sides

tryly religious art, especially in the lovely

as cave-temples and the Hindus imitated these,

Buddhas of Sarnath. Most famous of these is

often cutting temples adjacent to those of the

the icon of the Buddha turning the wheel

Buddhists.

of the Law (i.e., his first sermon where his

(1) The oldest Deccan cave was situated at Bhaja.

delicate fingers formed the Dharmachakra

(2) The most famous cave groups is that of Ajanta

Mudra.
(2) In the region of Gwalior and Jhansi, an

in Maharashtra where no less than 27 caves,


some of them going 100 feet deep into the

excellent school of Hindu sculptors existed

rock, were excavated in the horseshoe curve

resulting in depiction of Hindu gods and

of a hill side. The earliest caves date from

mythological scenes in the temples of

the 2nd century BC, while others are as late as

Deogarh.

the 7th century AD.

(3) Equally significant is the charming relief of a


dancer accompanied by girl musicians, found

(3) Even more impressive are the later cave

at Pawaya, near Gwalior.

temples of Ellora which are no less than 34


in number. The crowning achievement of the

(4) Perhaps, the most immediately impressive of

Ellora is the Kailashnath temple, excavated

all Gupta sculpture is the Great Boar carved

by Krishna I, a Rastrakuta ruler.

in Udaygiri Cave near Bhilsa.


(5) The most ornate and beautifully composed

(4) Another group of temples is situated at


Mammallapuram and they are 17 in number.

example of Gupta temples is the fragmentary

The most famous of these were the Seven

temple of Vishnu at Deogarh.

Pagodas influenced considerably by

(d) Painting

Dravidian style.

(1) Painting was a developed art during Gupta


period. Literary evidences talk about the

(5) Another group of these cave temples was

existence of professional artists.

those of Elephanta famour for the Great

(2) Remains of Gupta paintings may be witnessed

Trimurti figure of Shiva.


(c) Sculpture

in the Caves at Bagh (Cave-IV), Ajanta

If Gandhara and Mathura arts are marked by

(Caves-XVI, XVII, XIX, I and II) and Badami

sensual earthiness and that of Amaravathi by

(Cave III).
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Rock cutouts, temple architecture

of Bodhisattava announcing his renunciation

Stressed on Central Chamber of Shrine

(Cave I) and that of Indra and his entourage

Evolution

of

high

vimans

and

flying to great Budha in Tushita heaven (cave

monumental gopurams (broad and high

XVII) are the masterpieces.

storeys)

Pallava Art

Mahendra

Brihadeswara temple at Tanjore (build by


Rajaraja I)

4 styles Mahendra, Mamalla, Raja


Simha, Aparjita

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attainted its climax.

contemporary paintings. The representation

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Gangaikonda Cholapuram (known for


great size lingam of solid granite)

Life like with

images of king and queen

The Prathiharas

Mamala

Seven Pagodas

The Pratiharas, who ruled over an extensive

(Raths) named after five Pandav Brothers,

empire from Ujjain during the 8th and 9th

centuries, were among the significant successors


their wife Draupadi and the Dharma rath

Raja Simha

of the Guptas. The Pratihara temples of Central

Kailashnath

temple represens perfect manifestation of

India have their own unique designs and

Dravidian style

decorative schemes. The important temples of


Sculpture has

Ujjain include the Mahakaleshwar temple, which

resemblance to Guptas; Nandis outside

has one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of India, Kal

shore temple; Descent of Ganges

Bhairava temple, which finds a mention in the

Aparjita

Chalukas Art

Skanda Purana, and Mangalnath temple, which

Mix of northern and southern art

is regarded as the birthplace of Mars, according

Virupaksha temple (Dravidian influence)

to the Matsya Purana.

Majority shows northern influence

The Palas

Temples are richly decorated

The Pala School of Architecture (8-13th Centuries

Durga temple, Lad Khan temple

AD) flourished in Bengal and Bihar under the Pala

Aihole temple Badami

and the Sena rulers. Nalanda was its most active

Chola Art

centre, whose influence was spread to Nepal,

Myanmar and even Indonesia. Stone sculptures

Contined Pallava and Chalukyer tradition

of this period are found at Nalanda, Rajagriha,


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Bodh Gaya, Rajashahi and other places. The Pala

architecture, the finest examples being their forts

School of art is seen at its best at Nalanda and

and palaces. The Rajput palaces are complex

several sculptures belonging to this period have

compositions built as inner citadels surrounded

been unearthed in excavations.

by the city and enclosed by a fortified wall as at

The Chandelas

Chittorgarh and Jaisalmer. Some forts, such as


those at Bharatpur and Deeg, were protected by

The Chandelas of Jijihoti or Bundelkhand were


wide moats.
known as great builders during the l0th-11th
centuries. It is they who built the temples at

The oldest surviving palaces date from the mid-

Khajuraho justly famous for their graceful

fifteenth century and are found at Chittor and

contours and erotic sculptures. These 22 temples

Gwalior. The Man Mandir, the largest palace in

(out of the original 85) are regarded as one of

Gwalior, was built by Raja Man Singh Tomar

worlds greatest artistic wonders. The Khajuraho

(1486-1516). The Man Mandir has two storeys

Temples do not illustrate a development over a

above, and two below, ground level overhanging

long period of time but were built within a short

a sandstone cliff. This gigantic cliff is punctuated

period of hundred years from 950-1050 A.D. The

by five massive round towers, crowned by domed

Khajuraho Temples have highly individualistic


cupolas and linked by delicately carved parapets.
architectural character and are generally small in
The whole facade is enriched with brilliant blue
size. Each temple is divided into three main
tiles.
compartments - the cella or garbha griha, an

assembly hall or mandapa and an entrance portico

The city of Bikaner is encircled by 5.63 km

or ardha mandapa. Some temples also contain

long stone wall in rich pink sandstone. There

the antarala or vestibule to the cella and the

are five gates and three sally ports.

transepts or maha-mandapa. The Kendriya

The Jodhpur Fort dominates the city, which

Mahadev temple is the largest and most beautiful


is surrounded by a huge wall with 101
of the Khajuraho Temples. The Shiva Temple at
bastions, nearly 9.5 km long.
Visvanath and the Vishnu Temple at Chaturbhanj

are other important temples at Khajuraho.

The Meherangarh fort stands on a cliff with a


sheer drop of over 36 metres.

Rajput Architecture

The Rajputs were great patrons of art and

The foundation of Jaipur, the fabled pink


city, in 1727 AD represents the final phase

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of Rajput architecture. Built by Jai Singh,

these temples were mainly carved out of rock faces

Jaipur represents a fusion of Eastern and

and the use of bricks was almost negligible.

Western ideas of town planning. The city is

However, in later years Jains started building

enclosed by a wall and has bastions and towers

temple-cities on hills based on the concept of

at regular intervals. The City Palace is at the

mountains of immortality.

center of the walled city and is a spectacular


Compared to the number of Hindu temples in
synthesis of Rajput and Mughal architectural
India, Jain temples are few and spaced out.
styles.
Surrounded by embattled walls, the temples are

The famous building Hawa Mahal, or Palace

divided into wards, guarded by massive bastions

of Winds, (1799) has a five-storeyed

at its ends, with fortified gateways as the main

symmetrical facade composed of 953 small

entrances. These temple-cities were not built on a

casements in a huge curve each with a

specific plan; instead they were the results of

projecting balcony and crowning arch.

sporadic construction. Natural levels of the hill


on which the city was being built accommodated

The Jantar Mantar, the largest of five


various levels so that as one goes higher the
observatories built by Jai Singh II in the early
architecture and grandeur increases. The only

eighteenth century, is another interesting example


variation in these temples was in the form of
of Rajput architecture.
frequent chamukhs or four-faced temples. In these
the image of a Tirthankara faces the four sides, or

Jain Architecture

four Tirthankars are be placed back to back to face


The contribution of Jain art to the mainstream art

four cardinal points. Entry into this temple is also

in India has been considerable. Every phase of

from four doors. The Chamukh temple of Adinath

Indian art is represented by a Jain version and each

(1618 AD) is a characteristic example of the four-

one of them is worthy of meticulous study and

door temple.

understanding. Jain architecture cannot be


accredited with a style of its own, for in the first

The great Jain temples and sculptured monuments

place it was almost an offshoot of Hindu and

of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Rajasthan are

Buddhist styles. In the initial years, many Jain

world-renowned. The most spectacular of all Jain

temples were made adjoining the Buddhist temples

temples are found at Ranakpur and Mount Abu in

following the Buddhist rock-cut style. Initially

Rajasthan. Deogarh (Lalitpur, U.P.), Ellora,


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Badami and Aihole also have some of the

Indian and the Islamic elements led to the

important specimens of Jain Art.

emergence of a new style of architecture called


the Indo-Islamic Architecture.

The Indo-Islamic Architecture

Temples in India

Indian architecture took new shape with the advent

Hindu temples were not meant for large

of Islamic rule in India towards the end of the 12th

congregational worship. Pillared Mandapas with

century AD. New elements were introduced into

elaborate sculptures, sadas for dancing & wide

the Indian architecture that include: use of shapes

circumbulating passages with other deities placed

(instead of natural forms); inscriptional art using

around the main deity constitute a temple

decorative lettering or calligraphy; inlay

complex.

decoration and use of coloured marble, painted

The prominent forms of temple designs are the

plaster and brilliantly glazed tiles. In contrast to

North Indian Temples & Southern Indian Temples.

the indigenous Indian architecture which was of

There were changes in styles, but certain basic

the trabeate order i.e. all spaces were spanned by

rules fundamental to Hinduism were followed

means of horizontal beams, the Islamic

regarding the position of the garba griha, directions

architecture was arcuate i.e. an arch or dome was

of the other deities, etc.

adopted as a method of bridging a space. The


concept of arch or dome was not invented by the

South Indian Temple Structure - Dravida Style

Muslims but was, in fact, borrowed and was

This is the style that developed in the Dravida

further perfected by them from the architectural

Desam. The Vimana and the Gopurams are the

styles of the post-Roman period. The Muslims

distictive characteristics of the Southern style. The

used the cementing agent in the form of mortar

Vimana is a tall pyramidal tower consisting of

for the first time in the construction of buildings

several progressively smaller storeys. This stands

in India. They further put to use certain scientific

on a square base. The Gopuram has two storeys

and mechanical formulae, which were derived by

seperated by a horizontal moulding. The Prakara

experience of other civilizations, in their

or the outer wall, envelops the main shrine as well

constructions in India.

as the other smaller shrines, the tank.

Such use of scientific

principles helped not only in obtaining greater

The Pallavas, the Cholas, the Pandyas, the

strength and stability of the construction materials

Vijayanagar rulers, the Nayaks all contributed to

but also provided greater flexibility to the

the Southern style of temples.

architects and builders. This amalgamation of the


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the Gopurams and the size characterises the


Pandya Gopurams.

The Pallava shrines normally have a Somaskanda


relief panel.

The typical Pandya style can be seen in the

Some of the Pallava temples:

Sundara Pandya Gopuram added to the


Jambukesvara temple Eastern Gopuram, Great

Rajasimha temple

Temple, Chidambaram.

Olakkanesvara temple Mukundanayanar temple

Vijayanagar temples

Shore temple at Mamallapuram Talagiriswara


temple at Panamalai in South Arcot Kailasanatha

The main contributions of the Vijayanagar period

temple at Kanchipuram (Rajasimha & his son

were the tall massive gopurams and the multiple

Mahendravarman) Vaikuntha Perumal temple by

mandapas. Unlike the Chola style, where the entire

Nandivarman

temple structure was usually a unified whole, there


were numerous mandapas, pillared halls, shrines

Chola temples

to minor deities, tanks, etc. Another major feature

The Cholas erected several temples and also

is the carved pillars - with the rearing simhas

renovated earlier brick structures in stone.

(lions), yalis (lions with elephant trunks).

Early Chola temples:

The important temples from the Vijayanager

Sundaresvara temple at Tirukattalai (Aditya I)

period: Vitthala Swami temple, Vijayanager The

Vijayalaya Choleswaram at Narthamalai

pillars and gopurams of the Ekambaranatha

Komganatha temple at Srinivasanallur (Parantaka

temple

I) Brihadiswara temple at Tanjavur (Raja Raja

Nayak temples

Chola) Brihadiswara temple at Gangaikonda

The Madurai and Tanjavur Nayaks made great

cholapuram (Rajendra Chola) Airavateswara

contributions - the main characterictics of this

temple

II)

period being the elaborate mandapas of the

Kamaparharesvara temple at Tirubuvanam

hundred and thousand pillared type, the high

(Kulotunga III)

gopurams with stucco statues on the surface, the

Pandya temples

long corridors.

at

Darasuram

(Raja

Raja

The Pandyas mostly concentrated on the


Gopurams, the main entrance. The basic structure
and style was maintained, but the decorations on

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The main temples representing this style in

all Hindu temples, there is the kalasa at the top

various portions are

and the ayudha or emblem of the presiding deity.

The Ranganatha temple at Srirangam - for the

Some of the temples of this style are :

increase in the no. of enclosures

The temple at Rameswaram - for the long

The Parasurameswara temple at


Bhuvaneshwar

corridors

Brahmesvara temple in Bhuvaneshwar

The Subramanya temple at the Brihadisvara

Lingaraja temple

temple court at Tanjavur - for the fine vimana with

Anantha Vasudeva temple

ardha and maha mandapas.

Rajarani temple

North Indian Temple Structure - Nagara Style

Sun temple at Konarak

In the North Indian style, the shrine is a square at

Jagannath temple at Puri

the centre, but there are projections on the outside

Temple Structure of Western India and the

leading to cruciform shape. When there is one

Deccan - Vesara Style

projection on each side, it is called triratha, 2

The Western Indian and the Deccan temples,

projections - pancharatha, 3 projections -

basically evolved from the North Indian style.

saptharatha, 4 projections - navaratha. These


Early temples of this style are:
projections occur throughout the height of the

Lakshmana temple at Sirpur

Vaidyanatha Mahadeva temple at Baijnath

described as the typical Nagara style. These

Sikara temple at Baroli

temples escaped the destruction due to invasion.

Kesavanarayana temple at Amarkantak

the rules and mode of construction have been well

Viratesvara temple at sohagpur

preserved in Orissa.

The temples at Kajuraho represent the typical

structure. This style is found mostly in Orissa,


Rajasthan and Gujarat.
The temples of Orissa are the ones which can be

The temples as well as the literature laying down

Vesara style. The Chandellas used the coloured


In this style, the structure consists of two buildings,
sandstone (pink, buff colour or pale yellow) to
the main shrine taller and an adjoining shorter
construct these temples. Granite stone temples also
mandapa. The main difference between the two is
exist. These temples dedicated to Saiva, Vaishnava
the shape of the Sikhara. In the main shrine, a bell
and Jaina sects do not show great variation in style
shaped structure adds to the height. As is usual in
between one another.
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The prime temples of this tyle are:

and monasteries. These date from the 2nd to 1st

- Lakshmana temple

centuries B.C. After a period of more than six cen-

- Parsvanatha temple

turies, excavations once again revived during the

- Visvanatha temple

reign of the Vakataka ruler Harishena. The sculp-

- Kandariya Mahadeva temple

tures contain an impressive array of votive fig-

- Charsath yogini temple (rough granite)

ures, accessory figures, narrative episodes and

- Lalguan Mahadeva temple (Partly granite &

decorative motifs. The series of paintings is unparalleled in the history of Indian art, both for the

sandstone)
- Brahma temple

wide range of subjects and the medium. The caves

- Matangesvara temple

depict a large number of incidents from the life of

- Vamana temple

the Buddha (Jataka Tales). Overlapping figures

- Jawari temple

suggest that the perspective and colors are

- Devi Jagadambi temple

harmoniously blended and that the line work is

- Adinatha temple

sinuous.

Cave Architecture in India

Bhimbetaka caves

The earliest man-made caves date back to the 2nd

Bhimbetka is located in the Raisen District of

century BC while the latest date to the 7th century

Madhya Pradesh about 45 km to the southeast of

AD. The splendid sculpture and lovely frescoes


Bhopal near a hill village called Bhiyanpur.
adorning these caves make them one of the
Bhimbetaka, discovered in 1958 by V.S.
glorious monuments of Indias past.
Wakanker, is the biggest prehistoric art depository
Ajanta Caves

in India. Atop the hill a large number of rockshelters have been discovered, of which more than

The cave temples of Ajanta, situated north of

130 contain paintings. Excavations in some of the

Aurangabad, were first mentioned in the writings

rock-shelters revealed history of continuous

of the Chinese pilgrim Huen Tsang who visited

habitation from early stone age (about 10000

India between 629 AD and 645 AD. These caves

years) to the end of stone age (c. 10,000 to 2,000

were discovered by the British officers in 1819

years) as seen from artificially made stone tools

AD. The thirty temples at Ajanta are set into the

and implements like hand-axes, cleavers,

rocky sides of a crescent shaped gorge in the

scrappers and knives. Neolithic tools like points,

Inhyadri hills of the Sahyadri ranges.

trapezes and lunates made of chert and chalcedony,


The earlier monuments include both chaitya halls
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besides stone querns and grinders, decorated bone

Jogeshwar and Kanheri Caves

objects, pieces of ochre and human burials were

Located in the western suburbs of Bombay, it is

also found here.

second largest known cave after the Kailasa cave

Elephanta Caves

in Ellora and houses a Brahmanical temple dating


back to the 6th century AD.

th

The 6 century Shiva temple in the Elephanta


caves is one of the most exquisitely carved temples

Excavated between the 1st and 2nd centuries, the

in India. The central attraction here is a twenty-

Kanheri is a 109-cave complex located near

foot high bust of the deity in three-headed form.

Borivili National Park in Bombay. The Kanheri

The Maheshamurti is built deep into a recess and

caves contain illustrations from Hinayana and

looms up from the darkness to fill the full height

Mahayana Buddhism and show carvings dating

of the cave. This image symbolizes the fierce,

back to 200 BC.

feminine and meditative aspects of the great

Karla and Bhaja Caves

ascetic and the three heads represent Lord Shiva

About 50-60 kms away from Pune, these are rock-

as Aghori, Ardhanarishvara and Mahayogi.

cut Buddhist caves dating back to the 1st and 2nd

Aghori is the aggressive form of Shiva where he

centuries BC. The caves consist of several viharas

is intent on destruction. Ardhanarishvara depicts

and chaityas.

Lord Shiva as half-man/half-woman signifying the


Dances forms of India

essential unity of the sexes. The Mahayogi posture

Bharata Natyam

symbolises the meditative aspect of the God and

Bharatanatyam is the most popular of Indian

here Lord Shiva is shown in his most quiet and

dances and belongs to the South Indian state of

serene form.

Tamilnadu. Its antiquity is well established. In the


Mahakali Caves
past it was practised ad performed in the temples
These are rock-cut Buddhist caves situated in the

by a class of dancers known as the devadasis. It

Udayagiri hills, about 6.5km from Mumbai. These

was a part of the religious rituals and has a long

were excavated during 200 BC to 600 AD and are

and hoary past. The kings and the princely courts

now in ruins. They comprise of 4 caves on the

patronised the temples, as well as the various

southeastern face and 15 caves on the northwestern

traditions sustaining the dance form.

face. Cave 9 is the chief cave and is the oldest

The salient features of Bharatanatyam are

and consists of a stupa and figures of Lord Buddha.

movements conceived in space mostly either along


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straight lines or triangles. In terms of geometrical

in this dance form. The martial movements of

designs, the dancer appears to weave a series of

Chhau have led to another interpretation of the

triangles besides several geometrical patterns.

word as meaning to attack stealthily or to hunt.

LateRukmini Devi, Bala Sarasti, Sudha Shekhar,


Three styles of Chhau exist born from the three
Mritialini

Sarabhai,

Indrani,

Yamini
different regions of Seraikella (Bihar), Purulia

Krishnamurthy
(West Bengal), and Mayurbhanj (Orissa). Martial
Chakiarkoothu

movements, strong rhythmic statements and

This dance form is believed to have been

dynamic use of space are characteristic of Chhau.

introduced to Kerala by the early Aryan

Kathak

immigrants & is performed only by the members

Prevalent in the North as a classical dance form,

of the Chakiar caste. A highly orthodox type of

Kathak has a long history. Nurtured in the holy

entertainment, it can be staged inside temples only

precincts of the Hindu temples, Kathak has over

& witnessed by the Hindus of the higher castes.

the centuries attained refinement and enriched it-

The theatre is known as Koothambalam. The story

self with various hues and embellishments. Kathak

is recited in a quasi-dramatic style with emphasis

means a story teller and it developed as a dance

on eloquent declarations with appropriately

form in which a solo dancer tells and interprets

suggestive facial expressions & hand gestures. The

stories from mythology.

only accompaniments are the cymbals & the drum

Jaipur, Banaras and Lucknow are centres,Sitra

known as the mizhavu, made of copper with a

Devi, Birju Maharaj, Sambhu Maharaj, Lachhu

narrow mouth on which is stretched a piece of

Maharaj, Anand Sankar,Durga Das.

parchment.

Kathakali
Kathakali means a story play or a dance drama.

Chhau
Katha means story. Belonging to the South-WestWith origins shrouded in mystery, the Chhau

ern coastal state of Kerala, Kathakali is primarily

dancer communicates inner emotions and themes

a dance drama form and is extremely colourful

through cadences of body flexions, movements

with billowing costumes, flowing scarves, orna-

and kinetic suggestions. The word Chhau is

ments and crowns. The dancers use a specific type

interpreted differently by scholars. Shadow,

of symbolic makeup to portray various roles which

Disguise and Image are the most common

are character-types rather than individual charac-

interpretations due to the extensive use of masks

ters. Various qualities, human, godlike, demonic,


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etc., are all represented through fantastic make-

nights to unfold the entire story of Lord Krishna,

up and costumes.

the style is almost akin to Kathakali.

The world of Kathakali is peopled by noble he-

Kuchipudi

roes and demons locked in battle, with truth win-

Kuchipudi, like Kathakali is also a dance-drama

ning over untruth, good over evil. The stories from

tradition and derives its name from the vilage of

the two epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana,

Kuchipudi in the Southern State of Andra Pradesh.

as well as the Puranas constitute the themes of

In recent years, it has evolved as a solo dance for

the Kathakali dance dramas.

the concert platform and is performed by women,

Vallathol Narayan Menon, Kunju Kurup, Kala

though like Kathakali it was formerly the preserve

mandalam Krishnan, Shanta Rao.

of men. The female roles were enacted by men

Koodiyattam

and even today, the tradition boasts of gifted male


dancers enacting female roles with such

Practised and preserved by the Chakyar

consummate artistry that hardly anyone would

community in Kerala, Koodiyattam is the oldest

notice them as male dancers.

surviving link with ancient Sanskrit theatre. A


Manipuri
precursor of Kathakali drama, Koodiyattam has
several conventions which reflect the aesthetic

Manipuri dances originate from the North Eastern

conventions of the Natyashastra. The stylised

state of Manipur and derives its name from its

mode of acting, the same character playing

native state. Intensely devotional in mood, the

different roles, the use of the spoken word akin to

Manipuri dances are a part of the daily life of the

chanting, stories within stories, flash backs,

Manipuri people. Essentially presented as a group

improvisations, eye expressions (netrabhinaya), an

dance with gorgeous, colourful costumes and

extensive gesture vocabulary or hastas, body

gentle, swaying petal-soft movements, Manipuri

movements (angika abhinaya) and facial

dances create a hypnotic impact. The dances are

expressions (mukhajabhinaya), the use of Sanskrit

influenced by the religious movement of

by the main character and Malayalam by the court

Vaishnavism, the worship of Lord Vishnu, and

jester or vidushaka who comments, satirizes and

have flowered in exquisite Rasalila performances,

ridicules the protagonists... these are the salient

the favourite dance in a circle by Krishna with his

features of Koodiyattam.

milkmaids. Various types of Rasalilas are

Krishnattam

performed on special occasions and festivals.

It is intended for presentation on eight successive


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Mohiniattam

Yaksha Gana

Mohini Attam as a dance form has developed in

This belongs to Karnataka & has a rural origin. It

Kerala. Performed by women it has graceful,

is an admixture of dance & drama. Its heart lies in

gentle bobbing movements. Mohini means an en-

Gana meaning music. It is about 400 years old.

chantress and a dancer with enchanting move-

The language is Kannada & the themes are based

ments, dressed in a typical white saree with gold

on Hindu Epics. The costumes are almost akin to

border, hair gathered in a bun on one side and with

the Kathakali ones & the style seems to have

golden jewellery epitomises the image of a beau-

drawn inspiration from Kathakali. As prescribed

tiful maiden. Apparently it resembles the

in the Natya Sastra, it has the Suthra Dhara (con-

Bharatanatyam dance form but is quite distinct in

ductor) & the vidushaka (the Jester).

its execution of movements, usage of hand ges-

Painting In India

tures and its stark, simple costume.

The tradition of painting has been carried on in

Odissi

the Indian subcontinent since the ancient times.


Standing as a testimony to this fact are the

Odissi has been revived in the past fifty years and

exquisite murals of Ajanta and Ellora, Buddhist

can be considered as the oldest classical Indian

palm leaf manuscripts, Mughal and Kangra

dance on the basis of archival evidence. The form

schools of miniature Indian paintings, etc. Infact,

belongs to the East Indian state of Orissa. Odissi

records have been found that indicate the usage

has a close association with the temples and its

of paintings for decorating the doorways, guest

striking feature is its intimate relationship with

rooms, etc. Some traditional Indian paintings, like

temple sculpture. Tribhanga, the three-body bend

those of Ajanta, Bagh and Sittanvasal, depict a

characterises this dance form. It has a vast range

love for nature and its forces.

of sculptural body movements which gives one

With time, Indian classical paintings evolved to

the illusion of the sculptures coming to life.

become a sort of blend of the various traditions

Ottan Thullal

influencing them. Even the folk painting of India

It is performed solo & because of its ready mass

has become quite popular amongst art lovers, both

appeal, it is also known as the poor mans

at the national as well as the international level.

Kathakali. Kunjan Nambiar evolved it & brought

Most of the folk paintings reflect a heavy influence

out the social conditions of his time, the distinc-

of the local customs and traditions. In the

tions of class & the weakness & whims of the rich

following lines, we have provided information on

& the great. The dialogue is in simple Malayalam

the famous paintings of India:

& therefore ensures mass appeal.


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Cave Painting

Bagh Paintings

Cave paintings of India date back to the prehistoric

Bagh caves, situated on the banks of the Bagh

times. The finest examples of these paintings

River, have been excavated on the rock face of a

comprise of the murals of Ajanta, Ellora, Bagh,

lofty hill. The wall paintings of these caves date

Sittanavasal, etc, which reflect an emphasis on

back to period between 5th and 7th century. These

naturalism. Ancient cave paintings of India serve

paintings represent the mast exquisite traditions

as a window to our ancestors, who used to inhabit

of Indian art form.

these caves

Sittanavasal Paintings

Ajanta Paintings

Sittanavasal is the site of an ancient Jain

Ajanta caves are located at a distance of

Monastery, located at a distance of around 58 km

approximately 100 km from the city of

from Trichy. The monastery is known for housing

Aurangabad. Most of the paintings seen in the

some of the most exquisite frescoes in a rock cave.

Ajanta Caves, date back to the period of the

Most of these cave paintings are based on the

Mahayana sect of Buddhism. The themes of most

Pandyan period of the 9th century. The themes of

of these paintings revolve around the life and

these paintings include animals, fish, ducks,

teachings of Lord Buddha. This includes the Jataka

people collecting lotuses from a pond, two dancing

stories related to the various lives and incarnations

figures, etc. Apart from that, one can also find

of Buddha. Calligraphic lines characterize these

inscriptions dating back to the 9th and 10th

paintings, which can be classified into portraits,

century. The ceiling of the Ardhamandapam is

narrative illustrations and ornamental decoration.

adorned with murals from the 7th century..

Ellora Paintings

Madhubani Painting

Ellora caves are nestled amidst the Chamadari

Madhubani painting originated in a small village,

Hills, lying approximately 18 miles to the

known as Maithili, of the Bihar state of India.

northeast of Aurangabad city. Paintings can be

Initially, the womenfolk of the village drew the

found in five caves. However, all of them are today

paintings on the walls of their home, as an

preserved only in the Kailasa temple. The rock

illustration of their thoughts, hopes and dreams.

paintings of Ellora were painted in two different


series. The first series, which were done when the

With time, the paintings started becoming a part

caves were carved, revolve around Lord Vishnu

of festivities and special events, like marriage.

and Goddess Lakshmi. The second series, painted

Miniature Painting

centuries later, illustrate procession of Shaiva holy

Miniatures paintings are beautiful handmade

men, Apsaras, etc.

paintings, which are quite colorful but small in


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size. The highlight of these paintings is the

of the Pahari paintings around the mid-17th

intricate and delicate brushwork, which lends them

century. Apart from the illustrations of the

a unique identity.

Bhagavata Purana, Ramayana and Ragamala

Mughal Painting

series, artists also made paintings on rumal

Mughal painting reflects an exclusive combination

(coverlets) for rituals and ceremonies.

of Indian, Persian and Islamic styles. As the name

Chamba Paintings

suggests, these paintings evolved as well as

Chamba paintings are quite similar in appearance

developed during the rule of Mughal Emperors in

to Mughal style of paintings, with strong

India, between 16th century and 19th century.

influences of Deccan and Gujarat style also. The

Pahari Painting

late 17th century witnessed Chamba paintings of

Pahari painting is the name given to Rajput

Himachal being dominated by Basohli style, which

paintings, made in the in the Himachal Pradesh

ultimately gave way to Guler painting tradition.

and Jammu & Kashmir states of India. These

Garhwal Paintings

painting developed as well as flourished during

Garhwal Paintings originated in Himachal and

the period of 17th to 19th century. Indian Pahadi

were first dominated by the Mughal style. Later,

paintings have been done mostly in miniature

it started reflecting the cruder version of Kangra

forms

traditions.

Types of Pahari Paintings

Guler Kangra Style Paintings

Basohli Paintings

The nature Guler Kangra style of Himachal

The town of Basohli is situated on the bank of the

developed somewhere around the year 1800. It was

Ravi River in Himachal. This town has produced

a more naturalized version of painting, with visible

splendid Devi series, magnificent series of the

difference in the treatment of eyes and modeling

manifestations of the Supreme Goddess. Apart

of the face. Landscapes were also commonly used

from that, it is also known for the magnificent

as themes. Along with that, this style also

depiction of the Rasamanjari text. Artist Devidasa

accentuated the elegance and grace of the Indian

painted it under the patronage of Raja Kirpal Pal.

women.

Gita Govinda of 1730 is also believed to have

Jammu Paintings

Basohli origin. Geometrical patterns, bright colors

Jammu paintings of the late 18th and early 19th

and glossy enamel characterize Basohli paintings.

century bear a striking similarity to the Kangra

Bilaspur Paintings

style. Shangri Ramayana of the late 17th and early

Bilaspur town of Himachal witnessed the growth

18th century was produced in Jammu itself.


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Jasrota Paintings

early 17th century. The Mughals ruled almost all

Jasrota paintings are mainly found in Jammu and

the princely states of Rajasthan at that time and

Kashmir and revolve around court scenes, events

because of this; most of the schools of Rajput

from the life of the kings, allegorical scenes, etc.

Painting in India reflect strong Mughal influence

Kulu Paintings

Schools of Rajput Painting

The paintings of Kulu style include a Bhagavata

Starting from the 16th century, when the Rajput

Purana, two Madhumalati manuscripts, etc.

Painting originated, numerous schools emerged,

Mandi Paintings

including:

Mandi, situated in Himachal, witnessed the

Bikaner School

evolution of a new style under Raja Sidh Sen


(1684-1727). During that time, the portraits

Bundi-Kota Kalam School

depicted the ruler as a massive figure with

Jaipur School

overstated huge heads, hands and feet. Other


works were characterized by geometric

Kishengarh School

compositions and delicate naturalistic details.

Marwar School

Mankot Paintings
Mankot paintings of Jammu and Kashmir bear a

Mewar School

resemblance to the Basohli type, with vivid colors

Raagamala School

and bold subjects. In the mid-17th century,


Amber and Jaipur
portraitures became a common theme. With time,
The paintings of Amber and Jaipur show strong
the emphasis shifted to naturalism and subdued
Mughal influence. However, at the same time, the
colors.
bold compositions and use of abstractions reflected
Nurpur Paintings
regional characteristics. The 18th and early 19th
Nurpur paintings of Himachal Pradesh usually
century saw Rajput paintings illustrating episodes
employ bright colors and flat backgrounds.
from the life of Krishna. The other popular themes
However, in the later periods, the dazzling colors
of the 19th century were Ragamala and devotional
were replaced by muted ones..
subjects.
Rajput Painting
Bikaner
Rajput painting originated in the royal states of
Rajasthani paintings of Bikaner were also based
Rajasthan, somewhere around the late 16th and
on Mughal tradition. Apart from the Mughal style,
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the paintings of Bikaner also reflect marked

theme of this style consisted of the depiction of

influence of Deccan paintings. During the late 18th

the love between Krishna and Radha. Other

century, the city started showing conservative

popular themes included the poetry of Sawant

Rajput styles with smoothness and abstractions.

Singh, Shahnama and court scenes, etc.

However, they were devoid of any pomposity and

Kishangarh School is best known for its Bani

flamboyance.

Thani paintings. With the demise of Savant Singh

Bundi

and his leading painters, this school lost its glory

Rajput paintings started originating in Bundi

and started breaking down.

around the late 16th century and reflected heavy

Malwa

Mughal influence. Wall paintings, dating back to

One of the most conservative Rajput Painting

the reign of Rao Ratan Singh (1607-1631), are

Schools of the 17th century, Malwa was highly

good examples of Bundi style of paintings. The

influenced by Chaurpanchasika style. The

time of Rao Chattar Sal (1631-1658) and Bhao

emphasis was laid on strong colors and bold lines.

Singh (1658-1681) saw great emphasis on court

At times, one can also observe a remote Mughal

scenes as themes. Other themes include those

influence on these paintings.

based on the lives of nobles, lovers and ladies.

Marwar

Kota

The earliest example of the Rajasthani paintings

Kota paintings look very natural in their

of Marwar is that of Ragamala, which was painted

appearance and are calligraphic in their execution.

in Pali in 1623. In the 18th century, the most

The reign of Jagat Singh (1658-1684) saw

common themes included, the portraitures of

vivacious colors and bold lines being used in

nobles on horses and darbar scenes. With the

portraitures. With the arrival of Arjun Singh (1720-

arrival of artists like Dalchand, Marwar paintings

1723), the painting started depicting males with a

also started reflecting Mughal influence.

long hooked nose. 18th century was also the time

Mewar

for hunting scenes, Ragamalas, and portraits as

Mewar school of Rajput paintings concentrated

the themes. Ram Singh II (1827-1866) ordered the

on its conservative style, trying to avoid the

depiction of worship, hunting, darbar and

dominance of the Mughals. The earliest example

processions in paintings.

of the Mewar School is that of Chawand Ragamala,

Kishangarh

dating back to 1605. One can observe heavy

Kishangarh style of painting was basically a fusion

similarity with the Chaurapanchasika style,

of Mughal and regional style. The most common


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especially the flatness, the bright colors, and even

painting. It is said that the death of a high priests

common motifs. Towards the end of the 17th

son in a particular kingdom led to widespread

century and the early 18th century, Mewar style

despair. The people of that particular kingdom

saw revival and late 18th century again witnessed

prayed to Lord Brahma, asking Him to bring the

its decline. From mid 19th century to mid 20th

boy back to life. Moved by their prayers, Lord

century, it continued as a court art.

Brahma asked the king to paint a portrait of the

Tanjore Painting

boy on the floor. Thereafter, He breathed life into

Tanjore Painting is one of the most popular forms

the portrait and the boy became alive again. It is

of classical South Indian painting. It is the native

believed that this was how the first Rangoli

art form of Thanjavur (also known as Tanjore) city

painting got made.

of Tamil Nadu. The dense composition, surface

Another legend has it that one day, God,

richness and vibrant colors of Indian Thanjavur

in one of His artistic spells, extracted juice from

Paintings distinguish them from the other types

one of the mango trees to be used as paint. He

of paintings

then used the paint to draw the figure of a beautiful


woman. It is said that the painting of the woman

Rangoli

was so magnificent that it put the heavenly maidens

Rangoli, one of the most beautiful and most

to shame. Thereafter, Rangoli became a popular

pleasing art forms of India, is comprised of two

form of women self-portrait. Even Chola rulers

words, rang meaning color and aavalli

have been known to make quite extensive use of

meaning colored creepers or row of colors.

Rangoli as floor paintings. It is also said that

Rangoli basically comprises of the art of making

powder or sand is used for making Rangoli designs

designs or patterns on the walls or the floor of the

because the combination of the colors and the

house, using finely ground white powder along

design fragility signifies the impermanence of life

with different colors. Numerous households in the

and maya.

Indian subcontinent make use of Rangoli designs

Rangoli Designs & Patterns

for decorating the courtyard of their house.

The traditional form of Rangoli made use of

Origin of Rangoli

designs and motifs based on nature, such as mango,

There are a number of legends associated with

creepers, flowers, swans, peacocks, etc. Even the

the origin of the Rangoli art in India. The earliest

colors in the traditional art form were extracted

mention in regard to this art form is found in

from natural dyes, like barks of trees, leaves,

Chitralakshana, the earliest Indian treatise on

indigo, etc. However, the practice is not much in


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use now. These days, synthetic dyes have more or

the festival. It signifies that the people coming to

less replaced the natural dyes of the earlier times.

the house are welcome inside.

The materials used in the Rangoli patterns of today

Rangoli in Different States

give either a very flat appearance or a 3-D effect.

Rangoli art is known by different names in

Rangoli designs used presently include,

different parts of the country, such as:

geometrical patterns, the swastika, lotus, trident,

Chowkpurana (Uttar Pradesh)

animals, etc.

Madana (Rajasthan)

Making of the Rangoli

Muggu (Andhra Pradesh)

Rangoli (Gujarat, Karnataka and

fish, conch shell, creepers, leaves, trees, flowers,

Usually, the colors used for making Rangoli


comprises of a coarse grained-powder base into

Maharashtra)

which other colors are mixed. However, one can


also make use of colored powder for impressive

In the northern parts of India, Rangoli designs are

decorations. It is best to make Rangoli on a coarse

made with traditional wet colors. On the other

base, such as sand, marble dust, saw dust, etc, as

hand, in the southern parts of the country, Rangoli

it provides a good grip and at the same time, one

patterns drawn with the help of powder colors are

is able to sprinkle colors with greater control. The

more common.

colors used are, by and large, very fine pigment

Alpana (Bengal)

powders like gulal or aabir.

Alpana, the form of Rangoli practiced in Bengal,

One can also try colored powders used at home,


like indigo and spices like rawa, turmeric, rice

is a natural representation of the artistic sensibility

flour, wheat flour, etc. Whatever design you decide

of the people. Practiced usually by the womenfolk

to draw, make sure that it is an unbroken line, with

of the state, the art form represents an

no gaps in between. It is said that a broken line

amalgamation of the past experience as well as

gives an opportunity to the evil spirits to gain entry

the contemporary designs. Even though the basic

inside the home.

designs are more or less same, new forms and new

Rangoli and Diwali

colors are being tried on a large scale.

Rangoli occupies a special place in the festival of

Aripana (Bihar)

Deepawali or Diwali. Since, the art form is an

Aripana art form is a variation of the Rangoli,

expression of warm hospitality, it is used by almost

practiced in the Bihar. It usually comprises of line

everyone to decorate his or her courtyard during

drawings, illustrated on the floor of the house.


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Aripana patterns are a part of each and every

received global recognition also and their paintings

auspicious ceremony in Bihar, be it a puja, a vrata

have fetched millions of dollars in international

(fast) or a samskara (mundan, vivah, yajnopavita,

auctions. From the paintings revolving around

etc). On the eve of a ceremony, Aripana designs

religious topics to the abstract ones, Indian painters

are prepared in the courtyard, on the door front

have covered almost each and every arena. In the

and a number of other places.

following lines, we have provided information

Kolam (Kerala and Tamil Nadu)

about the famous painters of India:

Kolam is the name given to the art of Rangoli in

Abanindranath Tagore

southern parts of the country, mainly the states of

Abanindranath Tagore, the nephew of

Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The Hindus residing in

Rabindranath Tagore, was born on 7th August

these parts make use of this art form on a large

1871. He was one of the most prominent artists of

scale. The female members of the house usually

the Bengal school of painting, along with being

draw Kolam designs in front of their homes, with

the first major supporter of swadeshi values in the

the help of rice powder.

Indian art.

Aipan

Amrita Shergill

Aipan is one of the traditional forms of Rangoli,

Amrita Shergill, one of the most famous painters

practiced in the state of Uttarakhand, now

of India, was born on 30th January 1913 in

Uttaranchal. The art is associated with a great

Budapest city of Hungary. Her father, Umrao Singh

degree of social, cultural as well as religious

Shergill Majithia was a Sikh aristocrat, who was

significance. In Uttarakhand, Aipan designs are

a scholar in Sanskrit. Her mother was a

mainly drawn at places of worship, along with the

Hungarian singer, Marie Antoinette Gottesmann.

main entry door and the front courtyard of the

F.N. Souza

house.

Francis Newton Souza was born in the year 1924

Indian Painters

in Saligao, a small town in the state of Goa.

Indian subcontinent is famous for being the home

Tragedy struck him at a very young age, when he

country of a large number of exceptionally brilliant

lost his father. He was also bogged down by a

artists, including painters, writers, singers, etc. The

serious attack of small pox. Such incidences

art of painting in India dates back to the ancient

provoked him to create his own niche in this world.

times, as is evident from the cave paintings of

Jamini Roy

Ajanta and Ellora. Many painters of India have

Jamini Roy was one of the greatest painters of the


20th century. He was born in the year 1887, at
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Beliator village in Bankura district of Bengal. His

into one. Rabindranath Tagore started composing

father, Ramataran Roy, was a middle class man

art works at a very tender age.

who resigned from government service to pursue

Raja Ravi Varma

his interest in art.

Raja Ravi Varma was born on 29th April 1848, in

Jatin Das

Kilimanoor, a small town of Kerala. He is known

Jatin Das was born in the year 1941 in the

for his amazing paintings, which revolve mainly

Mayurbhanj district of Orissa. He is counted

around the great epics of Mahabharata and

amongst the most creative artists of India and is

Ramayana.

proficient in painting, graphic art, sculpture,

Satish Gujral

murals and even poetry. Jatin Das received training

Satish Gujral is one of the greatest as well as the

in the field of art at Sir J. J. School of Art in

most versatile artists of the Indian subcontinent.

Bombay.

He is known for making some of the most exquisite

M.F. Hussain

paintings, graphics, murals and sculptures, apart

M.F. Hussain, or Maqbool Fida Hussain, was born

from indulging in architecture and interior

on 17th September 1915 in Pandharpur town of

designing.

Maharashtra. He is one of the most famous artists

S.H. Raza

of India, both at the national as well as the

S.H. Raza was born as Syed Haider Raza in the

international level.

year 1922, in the state of Madhya Pradesh. One of

Nandlal Bose

the most distinguished artists of the Indian

Nandlal Bose was born in December 1882 in

subcontinent, Raza has been settled in France since

Bihar. A protg of Havell and Abanindranath, he

1950. However, his ties with India remain as strong

is today regarded as one of the most prominent

as ever.

artists of the modern India. Nandlal Bose attended


Calcutta Government College of Art between 1905

Tyeb Mehta

and 1910.

One of the internationally recognized artists of

Rabindranath Tagore

India, Tyeb Mehta is a multitalented individual.

Rabindranath Tagore was a multitalented

Apart from being an exceptionally good painter,

personality. He was a Bengali poet, a Brahmo

he is also a brilliant filmmaker

Samaj philosopher, a visual artist, a playwright, a

a small village, known as Maithili, of the Bihar

novelist, a painter and a composer, all combined

state of India. Initially, the womenfolk of the


village drew the paintings on the walls of their
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home, as an illustration of their thoughts, hopes

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Brocade works are called Amru in pure

and dreams. With time, the paintings started

silk and lavish women flowers are

becoming a part of festivities and special events,

Kimkhab. Important centres Varanasi,

like marriage.

Murshidabad, Surat, Thanjavur.

CRAFT

Handicraft

Block printing has best known varieties


as Palampore and Machilipatnam.

Three prominent categories -

Tie and Dye (Chunari and Charcola) are

1. Metal Work

excellently developed in Sanganer and

2. Pottery and Terracota

Gujarat.

3. Marble and stone carving.

Embroidery work includes Batik

Metal work includes

(Masilipatnam), Kantha (Bengal),

Metal casting sculpture (Chamba)

Pichwais (Nathwara), Patta Chitra

Bell Metal work (Kamrup, Ratna)

(Orissa), Kathiawari (Gujarat), Ruman

Silver work (Vadodara)

(Chamba), Chikan (Lucknow), Naga

Masks in sheet metal works (elhi)

shawl, Chain stitch Handicraft (Kutch).

Art metal ware (Chandigarh)

Archaeological Survey At present there are 44

Pottery and terracotta work includes

site museums under the control of Archaeological

Kagzi (soft clay) work Alwas

Survey of India with its head office in New Delhi

Clay images Kolkata

under the Director (Museums) assisted by one

Blue pottery Jaipur

Superintending Archaeologist (Museum).

Black pottery Azamgarh

The Epigraphy Branch, Mysore continued its

Terracptta Bankura, Gorakhpur

extensive epigraphical survey, copying,

Camel hide work Bikaner

deciphering and publishing inscriptions in Sanskrit

Marble and stone carving works are largely

and Dravidian languages during the year. The

centred in Jaipur and Agra.

technical staff of Epigraphy Branch, Mysore

Stone carving Chennai, Hyderabad, Agra

visited Chittoor and Ananthpur Districts in Andhra

Ivory work Hoshiarpur

Pradesh; Hassan, Mandya and Bangalore Districts

In the Handloom category, the


prominent varieties includes

in Karnataka; Vellore, Nagapattinam, Thanjavur

Patola work in silk has Cambay and,

and Tiruviramesvaram districts in Tamil Nadu;

Pattan pattern is largely centred in

Gorakhpur, Basti and Faizabad districts in Uttar

Gujarat.

Pradesh, discovered and copied 13 inscriptions.


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Archeological Survey of India is the nodal

The Archaeological Survey of India, an attached

agency on behalf of Government of India for

Office of the Ministry of Culture coordinates the

World Heritage related matters. Apart from

submission of dossiers for inscription on the World

rendering technical advice from time, World

Heritage List as well as other matters related to

Heritage Section coordination with the various

the Convention. At present India has 28 sites on

Ministers (Central and State), UNESCO offices

the World Heritage List.

(Paris and New Delhi), World Heritage Centre and

These are-

PRI to UNESCO. World Heritage List of

(i) Agra Fort

UNESCO.

(ii) Ajanta Caves

Jantar-Mantar, Jaipur is the latest site under

(iii) Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi

Cultural Category inscribed on the World

(iv) Champaner-Pavagadh Archeological Park

Heritage List in July, 2010 during 34th Session of

(v) Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus

the World Heritage Committee Meeting, held

(vi) Churches and Convents of Goa

on July 25 to August 3, 2010-at Brasilia.

(vii) Elephanta Caves

Currently the Hill Forts of Rajastahn is under

(viii) Ellora Caves

consideration of the World Heritage Committee

(ix) Fatehpur Sikri

for inscription in the World Heritage List. In

(x) Great Living Chola Temples

January 2012, Oqtab Shahi Monuments of

(xi) Group of Monuments at Hampi

Hyderabad and Great Himalayan National Park

(xii) Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram

were submitted by India to UNESCO.

(xiii) Group of Monuments at Pattadkal

World Heritage Convention: India ratified the

(xiv) Humayuns Tomb, Delhi.

World Heritage Convention in the year 1977. So

(xv) Kazranga National Park

far 188 countries have either ratified or approved

(xvi) Keoladeo National Park

the Convention. This Convention links the

(xvii) Khujuraho Group of Mouments

concepts of nature conservation and the

(xviii) Mahabodhi Temple Bodh Gaya

preservation of cultural properties.There are

(xix) Manas Wildlife Sanctuary

currently 936 properties on this list, which

(xx) Mountain Railways of India

includes of 725 cultural, 183 natural and 28 mixed

(xxi) Nanda Devi & Valley of Flower

properties in the territory to be considered for

(xxii) Qutab Minar

inscription on the World Heritage List.

(xxiii) Red fort Cpmplex


(xxiv) Rocak Shelter of Bhimbetka
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(xxv) Sun Temple, Konark

drawn up by UNESCO. India has eight items on

(xxvi) Sunderbans National Park

this List:

(xxvii) Taj Mahal

(i) The tradition of Vedic Chanting

(xxviii) Jantar Mantar, Jaipur

(ii) Kutiyattam: Sanskrit Theatre


(iii) Ramlila: the traditional performance of the
Ramayana

India submitted Santiniketan and Western

(iv) Ramman: Religious Festival and ritual

Ghats (sub-cluster nomination) for inscription on

theatre of the Garhwal

the World Heritage List. In 2011, India has


submitted three items for inscription on the World

(v) Novrouz

Heritage List. These are Great Himalayan National

(vi) Kalbelia: folk songs and dances, Rajasthan

Park, Qutb Shahi Tombs of Hyderabad (3 sites)

(vii) Mudiyettyu: Ritual Theatre and

and Hill Forts of Rajasthan (5 sites).These

Dance,Kerala

submissions are under consideration in UNESCO.

(viii) Chhau dance

Convention

and

The National School of Drama is one of the

Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural

foremost theatre training institutions in the world

Heritage:

and only one of its kind in India. It was set up by

India ratified the UNESCO Convention for the

the Sangeet Natak Academy in 1959

Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage

as one of its constituent units in India and became

(ICH) in the year 2005. So far 142 countries have

an

ratified or approved the Convention. India

Sahitya Akademi is a national organization which

participates regularly in the various meetings of

strives to work actively for the development of

the Convention. The Convention seeks to

Indian letters and set high literary standards to

safeguard and ensure respect for ICH of the

foster and coordinate literary activities in all the

communities/groups/individuals concerned as

Indian languages and to promote through them the

well as to raise awareness of its importance and

cultural unity of the country. The Sahitya Akademi

to provide for international cooperation and

maintains a unique multi-lingual library at Delhi

assistance for these items of heritage. One of the

with books in English and Indian languages.

activities of the Convention relates to drawing up

Lalit Kala Akademi, National Academy of Art,

of a Representative List of ICH. So far, a

New Delhi, was set up by the Government of India

Representative List of 232 items of ICH has been

as an autonomous body, on August 5, 1954.

for

the

Promotion

30

independent

entity

in

1975.

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Sangeet Natak Akademi The National

Rajiv Gandhi. The key objectives of the Centre is

Academy of Music, Dance and Drama was

to preserve, innovate, promote and disseminate the

established by a Resolution of the Ministry of

arts of Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, Himachal

Education, Government of India on May 31, 1952

Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttrakhand and the

and was inaugurated on January 28, 1953 by the

Union Territory of Chandigarh under the broad

first President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad.

disciplines of Sangeet (Music), Natak (Theatre),

West Zone Cultural Centre (WZCC) with its

Lalit Kala (the field of visual arts such as paintings,

headquarters at Udaipur in Rajasthan is one of the

sculptures, graphics, photography, ceramics and

seven Zonal Cultural Centres set up in February

other allied arts) and Sahitya

1986 under the direct initiative of the Ministry of

Minjar Mela at Chamba (Himachal Pradesh)

Human Resource Development, Government of

Shravni Mela at Jogeshwar (Himachal Pradesh)

India.

Navi Saver at different villages of Patiala district

Nariyal Purnima, Daman and Silvassa (UTs)

(Punjab)

Pushkar Fair, Pushkar

Chhinj Mela at Babehali village of Gurdaspur

Tarpa Festival, Silvassa (U.T.)

district (Punjab)

Ganeshotsav, Goa

Kinnaur Mahotsav at Recong Peo (Himachal

Natyotsav - Theatre Festival, Curchorem (Goa)

Pradesh)

Rangshala Monthly Theatre Shows, Udaipur

The South Zone Cultural Centre (SZCC) takes

(Rajasthan)

up programs on its own based on necessity and

Balotsav, Goa

sponsors programs to various cultural

Shilpgram Utsav 2010, Udaipur

organizations and temples. The South Zone

Saptrang- Lok Tarang 2010 (Commonwealth

Cultural Centre, Thanjavur and Art and Culture,

Games 2010, Delhi)

Government of Puducherry jointly organized the

Beach Festival, Diu

Poet Bharathidasan Vizha at Kumba Kalai

Diu Festival, Diu

Arangam, Puducherry on April 29, 2010.

Martial Arts Festival, Madgaon

South Zone Cultural


Centre, Thanjavur presented colourful and vibrant

North Zone Cultural Centre, an autonomous

traditional art forms as detailed below:

body under the Ministry of Culture, Government

1) Thappattam Kolattam Dance Tamil Nadu

of India, was inaugurated in November 1985 by

2) Dhollu Kunitha Karnataka

the then Prime Minister of India, Late Sh.

3) Oppana Kerala
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4) Mathuri Andhra Pradesh

Tagore in a befitting manner. The National

5) Veera Bathara Karnataka

Committee is to consider policies and lay down

6) Kathakali Kerala

guidelines for the Commemorations. The National

7) Karagam & Kavadi Tamil Nadu

Committee held its first meeting on 20th May,

8) Chandamelam Kerala

2010. On 9th May, 2010, the Honble Prime

Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre organized a

Minister inaugurated a specially curated Tagore

programme by Gurus and Sishya under the scheme

painings Exhibition at the National Gallery of

Guru

Srijani,

Modern Art, New Delhi. On the same day the Lalit

Shantiniketan. At present the following art forms

Kala Akademi, Sangeet Natak Akademi and

are included under Guru Sishya Parampara

SAhitya Akademi jointly organized a cultural

Scheme:

programme. Rabndra Pranati, based on Tagores

Sishya

Parampara

at

State

works, at the premises of the Sangeet Natak

1.Arjun Borba Korba Dance

Jharkhand

Akademi, New Delhi where the Honble Finance

2. Somra Tirki Data

Jharkhand

Minister

No. Name of the Gurus Art forms

Nritya

released

3. Krishna Tamang Flute Instrument Sikkim

commemorative coin.

4. Kishore Thapa Madal Instrument

All India Library :

Sikkim

special

Rs.

5. Ram Kumar Mallik Drupad Dhamar Bihar

Raja Rammohun Roy Library & Foundation,

6. Sona Devi

New Delhi

Godna geet

Bihar

150

Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti, New Delhi

7. Kamla Das Gajir Pot

Tripura

8. Saran Molsom Dance & Song

Tripura

9. Dinabandhu Sarma Nangeli Geet

Assam

10. Monranjan Roy

Puppetry

Assam

Studies, Kolkata

11. Daya Nayak Singha Nrutya

Orissa

Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya,

12. Arjun Sabar Soura Nrutya

Orissa

Bhopal

Inauguration of Weaving Centre at Changangei


Uchekkon (Imphal West, Manipur)
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian

13. Dibakar Soren Santhal Natua

West Bengal

The Centre for Cultural Relations and Traning

14. Taran Singha Lahankari

West Bengal

(CCRT), New Delhi


Central Reference Library, Kolkata

Rabindranath Tagore A National Committee

National Library, Kolkata

under the Chairmanship of Honble Prime

Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre, Kolkata

Minister has been constituted on 27th April, 2010

North Central Zone Cultural Centre, Allahabad

with various dignitaries to commemorate the 150th

West Zone Cultural Centre, Udaipur

Birth Anniversary of Gurudev Rabindranath

South Central Zone Cultural Centre, Nagpur


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