Rajasthani Paintings Schools

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Painting Schools of Rajasthan

Background and General Characteristics
Rajasthan is a land of colorful contrasts. From the fertile eastern part adjacent to river Chambal and the rich black tableland of Malwa to the virtually endless arid desert of western Rajasthan the landscapes strangely colorful and attractive. In this land of extreme geographical and climatic condition life is a big challenge and the brave and courageous Rajasthani has always accepted that challenge with a smile.

Colors form an essential part of Rajasthani life. In its art ad architecture, in its rites and rituals color plays a very important role symbolic of the rigorous life spirit. The paintings of Rajasthan reflect this love for colorful expression much more than any other form of art. These paintings with their powerful lines and dazzling colors provide an effective contrast with their vigor and strength in expression and characterization, so typical of Rajasthani life.

Rajasthani Paintings are broadly speaking of two distinct types; courtly and literary. Paintings of the curtly type include numerous portraits of rulers of different Rajasthani States – holding court or engaged in pastimes like hunting or sport. The other type of paintings express an intimate connection with poetry, illustrating such purely literary works as Amaru-Satka, Sur-Sagara, Rasamanjari, Rasikapriya, texts dealing with Ragamala, Baramasa and religious texts like Ramayana, Mcihabharata, Bhagavata Parana, Krishna Lila, Devi Mahatmyam. At most of the literary works mentioned above deal with divine subjects, the paintings show Krishna and other divine heroes and heroines in infinite forms and attitudes. Besides these two types, paintings depicting scenes of everyday life and rituals and folk paintings abound all over Rajasthan.

Though some important documents definitely dating from the Pre-Mughal period have been identified in recent times none of these can be surely attributed to a particular region. As some miniatures of this group show unmistakable features noticed in later-day Rajasthani paintings, many scholars think these to be of Rajasthani origin. It is only from the turn of the seventeenth century that typical features of different Rajasthani style begin to take shape. Stylistically the paintings painted in Rajasthan from the seventeenth century onwards may be grouped under four principal stylistic groups: (a) Mewar, (b) Marwar-Jaipur (c) Marwar and (d) Bundi-Kota ruled by the Sisodiyas, the Kachwahas, the Rathors and the Haras respectively. The principal centers of the Mewar school are Chittor, Udaipur, Nathdwara, and the Thikanas of Deegarh, Sawar etc. and the Chauhan State of Sirohi; of Amber-Jaipur school are Amber, Jaipur and Alwar; of the Marwar School are Bikaner, Jodhpur, Kishangarh, Jaisalmer, Ajmer and the Thikanas of Pali, Ghanerao, etc; of the Hadoti school are Bundi, Kota and Jhalawar.

The schools of Bikaner, Jodhpur and Amber reveal a greater impact of Mughal painting than those of Mewar and Bundi because of the close cultural and political relationship between their rulers and the imperial Mughals. The proud Sisodiyas of Mewar tried to keep themselves aloof from the Mughals as longs as possible and their paintings amply reveal that aloofness. Though at the outset an in creasing awareness of Mughal imperial style was apparent in some Rajasthani school, definite, regional idioms took their characteristic shape with in a short period. Paintings of literary and religious subjects have more traditional flavour than the court productions because the latter were still dictated by norms established in the imperial ateliers. The folk paintings are even more typically regional in appearance and flavor than the refind productions.


Rajasthan Paintings from c. 1200 A.D. to c. 1500 A.D.

The earliest paintings surviving from the thirteenth century are in the from of small illustrations of the Jain Tirthankaras and episodes from the Kulpasutra and the story of Kalaka painted on palm leaf in what is generally known as Western Indian miniature style. Illustrated manuscripts of this style were widely prevalent in Gujarat, Kathaiwad, and south western Rajasthan as the prosperous Jain merchants of these regions considered presentation of such manuscripts to their preceptors as an act of piety. The preceptors deposited these in the Jaina-bhandaras where these were carefully preserved and exhibited occasionally for jnana purja. The earliest dated MS painted, within the geographical limits of Rajasthan is palm leaf manuscript Savaga-Padikkamana – Sutta Chunni painted in 1260 A.D. at Aghata, modem Ahar, near Udaipur, during the reign of the Guhila king Tejasimha. Some other manuscripts with similar illustrations – artistically unremarkable and insignificant but ichnographically important – may be found in such important Jain centers as Abu and Jaisalmer. As the illustrations were introduced solely to inspire religious devotion and not for creating works of art, they remained stereotyped in form for a long time.

The conventionalism finally gave way when paper was introduced in place of the narrow and inconveniently shaped palm-leaf from around the middle of the fourteenth century. Thought the earlier horizontal format was not changed the painter had a larger area at his disposal which he filled with ambitious compositions and richly ornamented border illuminations. The most important and beautiful examples painted in Rajasthan during the period are to be found in the paper MS of Suasanahachariyam painted in 1422/23 A.D. at Devakulavatika near Udaipur during the reign of Mokala of the Sisodiya clan. This manuscript is remarkable because amongst it 37 miniatures full-page paintings appear for the first time. The color rendering and the composition of these illustrations exhibit powerful elements of inventiveness.

From the later part of the 15th to the early 16th centuries illustrations of paper manuscripts from western India became somewhat lavish and gorgeous. Lots of gold was used and the text was written in gold or silver or red or blue background. This period is generally referred to as the opulent period of Western Indian painting style. Examples from this period actually executed in Rajasthan have not yet been found, though isolated examples may very well be attributed to Southern Rajasthan centers. Mewar became very powerful under Rana Kumbha who was a great builder, a well known musician and lover of music, and a great patron of art.


Impact of Mughal Painting and Evolution of Distinct Schools of Rajasthani Painting

For its strategic location overlooking the trade routes between the Mughal Capital and the Western Coast, Akbar wanted to safe guard his empire by befriending the proud Rajputs. Raja Bhar Mal of Amber was the first important Rajput Chief who entered into matrimonial relationships with Akbar in 1562. Gradually the Chiefs of Bikaner, Jaisalmer in 1570 and finally Raja Udai Singh of Jodhpur in 1581 gave their daughters to Akbar. This left the proud Rana of Mewar alone in the hostile camp. Though Chittor was stormed in 1568 Mewar could not be subjugated until Jahangir’s time.

The Mughal connections brought about interesting and important changes in Rajput painting. These changes were visible in dress designs, architectural details, art-motifs, landscape patterns and choice of subject matter. The ratio of absorptions was not equal in all centers; the Bikaner school shows more Mughal element than the examples from Mewar schools whereas Bundi and Amber retained their basic traits. In any case, when their chiefs were acting as governors or generals of the Moguls and formed integral part of the aristocracy and spent most of their time away from their homelands it is obvious that elements from the Mughal style would generate a new kind of synthesis. As soon as the imperial authority slackened and the Rajput rulers gained in riches and power, their culture became less dependent n the Mughal norm. It was at this stage roughly from the first half of the seventeenth century that definite schools of Rajasthani Painting started taking shape.

At the outset the productions of different centers – Jodhpur, Amber and possibly Mewar where bhagavata Parana manuscripts were prepared with many illustrations during the last quarter of the 16th century, show efflorescence of the local style with isolated Mughal element. With in a few years – during the first quarter of hte17th century – these isolated elements were successfully absorbed. With the arrival of painters having experience of work in the Mughal ateliers, the situation took another turn when Mughal technical advancement and motifs formed integral parts of Rajasthani idioms; later on, paintings produced in different regions landed to exhibit the regional features more then their earlier indebtedness to earlier traditions and Mughal styles.


The school of painting flourishing in the former state of Udaipur, the historic principality of Mewar, is the most important amongst all the schools of Rajasthani Painting. In ancient and medieval periods the Mewar region was well known as a great center of artistic and cultural activity. Amongst its rulers Rana Kumbha (1433-1464) and Rana Sanga (1509-1539) were great patrons of art and architecture, literature and music. Rana Udai Singh (1537-1572) built the beautiful city of Udaipur with fine palaces on the eastern bank of the Pichola Lake. Even, Rana Pratap (1572 – 1587) who had to flee from Chittor and live in the abode of Chavand for his valorous refusal to yield to the pressure of the powerful Mughal army of Emperor Akbar, gave refuge to artists and craftsmen. With their help his son Amar Singh (1597 – 1620) had a remarkable set of Ragamala painted. From his and his son Karan Singh’s (1620 – 1628) reign relations with the Mughals became cordial. Karan Singh’s successor Jagat Singh (1628 – 1652) was a great patron of art and architecture and Mewar painting reached its highest gory during his reign.

The superb quality of Mewar painting was achieved during the reign of Rana Jagat Singh (1628 – 1652). A brilliant set of nine Ragamala paintings, painted by Sahibdin in 1628, the Bhagavat purana illustrated by the same painter in 1648 and the Ramayana illustrated by Manohar in 1649 testify to this fact. The Ragamala now preserved in the national Museum, Delhi, is a very important document because if depicts the high aesthetic quality achieved by the painters of Mewar during such a short time. It seems that works like the Ragamala, Nayaka Nayika series; the Rasaman Jari, the Gita Govinda and Rasika Priya etc. were prepared in the years following this. The illustrations of the Bhagavata Purana and the Ramayana were conceived in much more complex compositions. On the whole the dominating characteristics of Mewar paintings of this period are – the use of dazzling colors against patches of blue or red or green, the appearance of stylized trees, naturalized birds and flowers and Mughal – type hills, and an admixture of Mughal and traditional Rajasthani costumes adorning the conventionalized male and female figures. The paintings follow the Mughal pattern rather closely but never allow it to overrule the typically Mewari features in techniques, treatment, and expression which are simple, straightforward and symbolic. On the whole the painting of Mewar during the first half of the seventeenth century are very attractive and charming for their colorfulness and beauty. Their superb quality inspired movement in far away Aurangabad, where an illustrated manuscript of Rasamanjari was prepared in 1650 for one Sisodiya Mohan Singh Shekhawat.

Raj Singh (1652 – 1680) was celebrated for this boldness in proving sanctuary to image of Sri-nathji at Nathdwara, which became the principal seat of Vallabhcharya Vaisnavas. Due to paucity of material it appears that the style of painting did not change during the earlier period gave way to a dull conventionalized color-scheme. But the school remained highly productive and inspire of the marked decadence in quality, a high number of paintings were produced in various centers of the State. Large number of devotional paintings concerning Srinathji and his worship and legends were produced at Nathdwara. The surroundings area which came under the influence of the Mewar school are Sirohi, Sawar, Devgarh, Pratapgarh, Dungarpur and Banswara. Though these minor centers took Mewar as their ideal, development of their styles did not take uniform course. sirohi and Devgarh produced some wonderful miniatures well up to the 19th century many of which even surpass the quality of paintings painted at Mewar during the same period.


Till a few years ago the aridity of a separate school of painting in Bundi was not realized. But due to the tireless research of some art historians and discovery of dated examples of miniatures, the existence of a distinctive and attractive style of Painting, developed by the artists employed by the rulers of Bundi has been firmly established. For its strategic situation between Jaipur to the north, Mewar and Malwa to south west-each region famous for its school of paintings and Kotah to the east, Bundi had the natural advantage of attracting talented painters from many places.

The true beginning of Hara greatness was made by Rao Surjan (1554 – 1585) who became a feudatory of the Mughals. He submitted to Akbar in 1569 after the siege of Ranthambhore. Rao Ratan Singh (1627 –1631) received honors from Jahangir and went to the Deccan with the Mughal army. His son Satarsal (1631 –1691) had employed painters.

Unfortunately it is not possible to trace the early stages of development of Bundi School due to paucity of dated material. Recently three miniatures from a Ragmala set said to be dated 1591 A.D. have been published. These were painted by three Muslim painters at Chunar where Rao Singh (1588 – 1607) was serving Akbar. They show unmistakable Bundi features noticed in three miniatures from a Ragamala set illustrating Ragini Bhairavi in the Allahabad Museum, Raga Dipika in the Bharat Kala Bhawan, Banaras, and Ragini Malasri in a private collection in U.S.A. which show features that appear as an admixture of refined Mughal and local Mewar elements. The last mentioned pictures are dated in the first decade of the 17th century during the reign of Rao Ratan Singh (1627-31). Paintings of another Ragamala set in National Museum have been dated c. 1625-1630 as they reveal impact of Mughal paintings of the Jahangir period. Though a large number of exquisite paintings drawn after these sets have been preserved in the Bharat Kala Bhawan, the National Museum and many private collections in India and abroad, none of them bears any date. Two dated examples painted in 1682 and 1689 have been found where the style of painting exhibits signs of full development. But Satarasal or Chattarsal (1631-58) was closely allied to Shah Jahan and spent much of his time in Delhi, and quite possibly, patronized a thriving school of art whose examples, though not dated or authenticated by inscriptions, have been found in the above collections.

Taking into consideration the whole range of paintings exhibiting elements equal to or earlier then the dated paintings mentioned above, Bundi paintings of the 17th Century will rank as examples of one of the finest schools of Indian Paintings. The color is generally rich and brilliant. The female figures are tall with narrow waist, wearing short choli, colorful ghagra and translucent odhni partially covering the head; the facial features of Bundi paintings include pointed nose, receding chin, almond-shaped eyes and a reddish brown flesh tint. But the most noticeable feature of Bundi paintings is the landscape background (Bundi – Kotah Region is famous for its charming landscape) with hills, flowing rivers, thick vegetation and colorful flowers. The painters took particular care render the lush vegetation of well – laid gardens full of mango, peepal and plantain trees, flowering creepers and birds and animals in every painting. The water in rivers and pools is depicted in swirls and the sky in patches of blue. In later periods a peculiar admixture of gray, blue, orange and vermilion is used to depict a dusky sky which turned out to be a characteristics feature of Bundi painting of succeeding periods. The setting of the scenes are generally against garden pavilions or open portions. Their subject matter slowly changed and in addition to the illustrations of literary works, the scenes of hunting, merry making or formal court durbars were painted.

In coloring and in its infatuation with landscape the Bundi School expresses a close proximity with Deccani paintings. Chattarsal’s grandson and successor Bhao Singh (1652 – 1681) served Aurangzeb as his governor at Aurangabad in the Deccan. Aniruddha Singh accompanied Aurangzeb during his Deccan campaign in 1678. Hence it is quite possible that the Bundi rulers employed some Deccani painters as also the Bundi painters accompanying their patrons to the Deccan became influenced by Deccani painting.

In the 18th century more and more portraits, scenes of elephant-fights, hunts, equestrian studies were painted though many sets of Ragamala, Baramasa, Bhagawata Purana and Rasikapriya miniatures were also produced. The coloring of the paintings lost its freshness and the landscape its natural beauty. In many examples black and silver borders have been used as a frame. From the quantity of output the first half of the 18th century marks the most productive period. About the middle of this century the style of Bundi painting lost its distinct artistic quality and became somewhat dull and repetitive.

There are many examples of fine wall painting in the palace at Bundi and other places, which are contemporary to the miniatures and are of good quality.


From 1625 there was a family feud amongst the Haras of Bundi and in 1628, Shah Jahn conferred the jagir of Kotah to Chatrasa’s brother Madhav Singh and Kotah became a separate unit of the Hada Rajputs. In 1719 Bhim Singh (1705 –1720) invaded Bundi and forced its ruler Budh Singh (1665-1731) to flee. Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh of Jaipur exerted his control over the Bundi throne by removing Budh Singh by imperial decree and installing his own protégé. Budh Singh’s son Umed Singh was able to recover Bundi in 1743 only with the help of the Marathas. Bundi never recovered fully from these terrific events.

Kotah, through only 23 miles away from Bundi, developed a tradition of painting, which was distinctly different from that of Bundi. The reasons are not far to seek, as the patrons were individuals of different tastes.

The most celebrated example of Kotah painting are the hunting scenes in the Ranoria Collection and in the Cleveland Museum of Art, U.S.A. Many such scenes of hunting, elephant fights and royal portraits were painted at Kotah, though the usual sets of Ragamala, Ramayana, Bhagavata Purana etc. were also produced during the later part of the 18th century and in the early 19th century.

During the reign of Ram Singh II (1827-1865) the painting studio of Kotah produced a number of fine miniatures exhibiting Mughal sophistication which show the king in various sports and engagements. They are painted in strong and dazzling colors. These subjects are repeated on the walls of the palaces of Kotah. A large number of miniatures painted at Kotah during the second half of the 18th and the first half of the 19th centuries reveal features typical of the Bundi school. Most of these work were actually executed by emigrant painters from Bundi as indicated above. But Kotah (Kota) paintings exhibit great naturalism in depicting the landscape where the king and his retainers are interspersed amidst barren rocks, stylized trees and animals as evidenced in the hunting scenes. The elephants - whether fighting with another elephant or hunting a rhino or wild buffalo are painted with extreme realism and understanding of its dignified behavior. In the Bundi paintings of the contemporary period the landscape acts as a flat, decoratively arranged backdrop and does not form an integral part of the painting.

The Bundi and Kotah painting traditions are continued in other centers as well, Uniara being one of them. Though Uniara was allied to Jaipur, the paintings executed there show unmistakable elements of the Bundi – Kotah style. At least one leading Bundi painter worked for the Chief of Uniara and illustrated a Bhagavata Purana for Rao Raja Sardar Singh in 1957.

Though the family of Kachhawaha Rajputs was firmly established for a long time and the first Mughal contact with them was made in 1562 through Bhar Mal’s matrimonial alliance with Akbar. The origin of the Amber-Jaipur school of paintings probably dates back from Raja Man Singh’s (1589-1614) time. Extensive frescoes of early Jahangiri style have been discovered in Mauazamabad, Man Singh’s birth-place, Bairath, and Amber. Literay woks form Man Singh’s reign bear graphic description of wall-paintings, illustration of Ragamala subject, scenes from Bhagavata Purana, Baramasa, etc. A profusely illustrated copy of Bhagavata Purana prepared in 1598 at Ahmedabad is preserved in the City Palace Museum. It is said that a copy of Git -Govinda with more than two hundred miniatures in the Chaurapanchasika style but dated 1550 was preserved in the Jaipur Pothikhana. If discovered the manuscript would provide very vital information about the period and provenance of the entire group of miniature of the Chaurapanchasikh style. However, no further information about miniature paintings prepared during Man Singh’s time or earlier has been found.

Mirza Raja Jai Singh (1621 – 1667) was a well known builder and collector. He was responsible for building most of palaces and halls of the Amber fort and also has a superb collection of Persian and Mughal carpets and miniature paintings. But the paintings executed at Amber during his reign are mostly in a folk style.

Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh (1699-1734) was a great personality and a great patron of art, architecture, literature, astronomy, etc. He built the modem city of Jaipur which was extremely well-planned and astronomical observatories commonly known as Jantar Mantar in Jaipur, Delhi, Banaras, Ujjain and Mathura. The painters employed by him included such well known names as Muhammad Shah and Sahib Ram. Sahib Ram was active for nearly fifty years and painted many large – sized portraits many of which are exhibited in the City Palace Museum, Jaipur.

Sawai Iswari Singh (1743-76), Sawai Madho Singh I (1750-67), and Sawai Pratap Singh (1767-79) also patronised works of good quality painters like Ramji Das, Govinda, Hiranand and Triloka. The well laid Rani Sisodanji’s Madho Singh’s regin.

The most celebrated name in the history of Amber Jaipur School is that of Sawai Pratap Singh. He was a great patron of art, music and literature, being an accomplished composer and musician himself. He built up a large atelier with more tan fifty painters turning out exquisite miniatures in numerous manuscripts of Durga-Path, Ramayana, Bhagvata Purana, and Krishna Lila etc. Many miniatures illustrating Ragamala, court-scenes, festive scene etc. were painted during his reign by such painters as Gopal, Udai, Hukma, Jiwan, Saligram, Ramasevak, Lakshman etc. The paintings of Pratap Singh’s period are highly refined product with a bright color-scheme containing green, yellow, pink and brown – red with a lavish use of gold. Thought the designs are precisely executed yet they lack in vigour. Like Madho Singh must have marveled to look at his own portraits, hundreds of which are turned out by the royal painters.

In the middle of the nineteenth century the tradition of painting lost its sap and an increasing proportion of the output became bad and inferior copies of foreign idioms. The atelier continued to turn out paintings during of Sawai Jai Singh Sawai Ram Singh II and Sawai Madho Singh II.

The Jaipur rulers collected many important examples of Mughal paintings amongst which the copies of the Rayntwma and the Ramayana prepared for the personal use of Emperor Akbar, are the most celebrated. Though the painters of Amber Jaipur did not prepare replica of these works, their styles reveal an increasing awareness of the Mughal style. Their main preoccupation, like that of their Mughal counterparts, was to depict the human figure.

The achievement of the Jaipur school had its impact on local schools of Alwar, Tonk, Bharatpur and Kaauli. The wall paintings of Jaipur City Palace (old Madho Niwas), Pundarkji Ki Haveli, etc., find their reverberations mostly in the Shekhawati area where extensive remain of wall-painting executed between 1725 and 1875 may still be seen.

The Rathors founded their kingdom with its capital at Mandor in the thirteenth century from where it was shifted to Jodhpur in 1459. Though examples of wall paintings are found in a jain Temple at Nadol, and contact with the Mughals was established during Udai Singh’s time in 1581, dated examples of Jodhpur school belonging to the 16th century have been found. A profusely illustrated Bhagavata Purana dated 1611 previously in the Jodhpur Pothi Khana and a set of Ragamala miniatures painted in 1632 by an artist named Virji at Pali, in the collection of Kumar Sangram Singh of Nawalgarh, are amongst the earlier examples of miniature paintings found in the Marwar region. The paintings have a folk character with artistic beauty of their own. Mughal are relatively rare in these examples.

The same folk style continued for some time as seen in an illustrated manuscript of Upadesamala in the former Moti Chand Khajanchi collection dated 1634. but soon after that the style of Jodhpur paintings underwent a thorough change when the archaic elements noticed earlier gave place to refinement in colors and decorative details. However, specimen belonging to the later half of the 17th century are relatively rare, with the exception of a number of portraits and Ragamala miniatures. The figures are generally robustly built and the male figures hold elaborated costumes and big moustaches.

Paintings in Jodhpur got a new impetus during the reigns of Ajit Singh and his successors Abhai Singh and Ram Singh, when the usual literary works Gita-Govinda, Dhola-Maru, Ragamala, Baramasa-portraits were painted in large numbers. Attractive wall-paintings were painted, in the palace of Nagaur during the time of Bakhat Singh. The Jodhpur style was followed in the Thikanas of Pali Ghanerao and Pekeran etc.

The style of painting developed in Bikaner has more Mughal elements than other school of Rajasthani paintings. The reasons are: firstly, the close association of the Bikaner rulers with the Mughal emperors – Raja Rai Singh (1571-1611) was particularly close to Akbar and Jahangir – and secondly, the employment of Muslim painters from Delhi and Agra. Some exquisite examples of this school were painted by these painters during the reigns of Rai Singh (1571 –1611), Karan Singh (1631-1669) and Anup Singh (1669-1796). Their Subject matter included excellent portrait studies, beautiful Baramasa, Ragamala, Byhagavata Purana and Krishnalila illustrations, etc. In these paintings the dazzling colors of Malwa, the folk scenes of Jodhpur or the striking landscape of Bundi are totally absent. Instead of these regional characteristics of Rajasthani paintings, Bikaner produced extremely sophisticated Works with delicate lines and tonal range normally encountered in the products of Mughal studies. It appears that quite a few leading painters, made redundant by Shahjahan’s shift of interest in architecture, took service with such gifted patrons of art as Karan Singh. One of them was Ali Raza who painted brilliant paintings of Lakshmi Narayana. Other important painters working in Bikaner court whose signed and dated examples have been found either in the Bikaner Palace Collection, Bharat Kala Bhavan, the National Museuam, or in Motichand Khajanchi and other collections include Rukh-ud-din, Shahaddin, Hamid Ahmad, Shahib Dan, Rshid, Kasim, Shah Muhammad, Hasham etc.

Besides Mughal elements, Bikaner paintings exhibit close familiarity with Decani paintings. The reason is Raja Anup Singh’s prolonged stay in the Deccan schools from the booty of Adorn in 1989. In general the female figures of Bikaner school paintings are tall, slender damsels with big eyes, thin waist, wearing short high choli colorful ghagra and gold bordered odhni. Though the main point of attention on the part of the painter is on the human figures, landscape patterns are rendered with great skill. The portrait-sudies are handled with greater care and the same applies to individual figures of Nayikas.
During the reigns of Sujan Singh and Gaja Raj Singh, some sort of transformations took place in Bikaner painting and Jodhpur vigor replaced Mughal refinement. But at the same time the creativeness in the art of painting had begun to die.

A very different type of development took place in the intimate atmosphere of the small court of Kishangarh which has been described as a minor miracle in the history of Indian art. Kishangarh, a small and almost negligible state situated between Ajmer and Amber and belonging to a line of Rathors of Marwar, was founded by Kishan Singh (1600-1615), son of Udai Singh of Jodhpur Kishan Singh built the fort of Kishangarh near the Gundalo Lake and obtained high position under Jahangir. But the most important king of Kishangarh who was responsible for the tremendous stylistic achievement of Kishangarh painting was Sawant Singh. During the first decade of the eighteenth century he had written poetry and composed devotional music in honor of Radha and Krishna. His pen name was Nagari Das – In a beautiful lady known as Bani-Thani, (he prince got all his inspiration leading to his poetical creations and patronization of a very special style of painting depicting Radha and Krishna, painted by a highly talented painter named Nihal Chand. Sawant Singh ascended the throne in 1748 at the age of 49 and abdicated it in 1757 to live in Brindaban and worship Radha Krishna until his death in 1764. Bani – Thani followed him and composed poems and devotional songs with him till her death in 1765.
The small group of paintings done by Nihal chand and a host of other celebrates show Radha and Krishna or grove or celebrating various festivals, all expressions of divine love that characterize the dreams and aspirations of Sawant Singh (Nagari Das) as a lover and devotee. Nihal Chand’s success was ill creating a perfect visual image of his master as lyrical passion. His Radha is tall, slender, petite and beautiful to a degree approaching to supper natural. The portrayal of Radha, (in all probability painted by Nihal Chand) with the overlong lotus – petal eyes, wearing a sublime look, long pointed nose, thin lips and pointed chin, wearing an odhni on a very high orange choti rank amongst the finest achievements of Rajasthani painting. There is a beautiful painting of Radha and Krishna of large size in the Jaipur City Palace Museum.

Though the style created by this great painter under the guidance of Sawant Singh, who was himself a good painter, continued for many years after his death, it merely repeated the earlier forms and failed to achieve further. The study of Rajasthani painting as a separate and important part of the history of Indian art is of comparatively recent origin. As early as in 1916, Ananda K. Coomaraswamy pointed out the special characteristics of what he called Rajput painting. In generic form he included not only the paintings of the different schools as noted above but also the products of the schools of Malwa and Bundelkhand. In fact the bulk of Coomaraswamy’s book on Rajput painting is devoted to the latter schools. The production of the areas outside the geographical limits of Rajasthan have not been surveyed here. With the availability of more dated material and intense research by devoted art historians it is possible to differentiate the stylistic characteristics of the leading schools. There are, however, many areas where dated material is wanting and in the absence of dependable corroborative material, no final pronouncement can be made. It appears from the rate of new discoveries that within a short time when the collections of the different major and minor durbars will be opened to competent scholars a host of important and new information will be available to complete our knowledge of Rajasthan painting.


Rajasthan Information: History - Culture - Heritage - Music - Dance - Art - Architecture - Society

Sources of the History and Culture of Rajasthan
(From earliest times up to 1200 A.D.)

Rajput - Muslims Relations
 (1200 – 1526 A.D.)

Architecture in Rajasthan (1200 – 1800 A.D.)

Kalibangan - the largest prehistoric site in Rajasthan

Excavations at Ahar (South Rajasthan)

Origin of the Rajputs

Origin of the Guhilas, their Rise and Bappa Rawal in Rajasthan

Moguls & Chauhans Resistance in Rajasthan

Rawal Ratan Singh of Rajasthan and his Resistance against the Turks

Maharana Kumbha (1433 – 1468) and his Political Achievements

Maharana Kumbha & his Cultural Achievements

Maharana Sanga & his Achievements (1508 – 1528 A.D.)

Rajasthani Paintings Schools

Merger of Rajput states in the Indian Union

Resistance of Mahararana Pratap of Mewar Against Akbar

Maratha - Rajputs Relations

Raja Man Singh of Amber

Rathore – Sisodia Alliance & Achievements of Raj Singh in Mewar

Role of Durga Dass Rathor in the history of Rajasthan

Sawai Jai Singh of Jaipur , Mughals and Marathas

Rajasthan’s Cultural Heritage


Rajasthan Tourism  & Travel Packages -  Rajasthan Vacations & Holidays

12 Days Rajasthan Desert Tour Package

13 Days Rajasthan Desert Holiday Tour

13 Days Rajasthan Round Trip

14 Days Rajasthan Tour Package

16 Days Cultural Rajasthan Tour

17 Days Colorful Rajasthan Tour

17 Days Vacations in Rajasthan

18 Days Rajasthan Tour Package

19 Days Rajasthan - North India Tour

28 Days Heritage Tour of Rajasthan

31 Days Holidays in Rajasthan

31 Days Rajasthan Wildlife Tour

                      Group Tours of Rajasthan                                                                     Car Rental in Rajasthan


Special Service for German Speaking Traveller - Rajasthan Group Travel with German Speaking Tour Guide !

Gruppenreisen - Durchführung aber schon ab 2 Teilnehmer garantiert !


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Indo Vacations®

(Recognized Rajasthan Tour Operator & Holiday Planner)
Address: Plot No.312
-313 A, Valmiki Marg, Raja Park, Jaipur 302004 (India)
Click here to see our Location Online

Network  for Rajasthan Tourism in following cities

Delhi – Agra – Bharatpur –– Ranthambore – Jaipur – Shekhawati – Bikaner – Jaisalmer – Jodhpur –– Ranakpur – Kumbhalgarh -
Mount Abu – Udaipur

Online Assistance via Skype: indo-vacations   (live video option available)

Tel.: 0091 141 4013241 (not to be used for general queries)
(We recommend and prefer email as the mode of communication for your initial queries .You will be informed later the unique tel. Number of your personal Tour Executive after we receive your query)
: indovacations@gmail.com, info@indovacations.net
PS: if you do not hear from us within 48 hours please repeat your e-mail


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