As echelons of zillion lights adorn

With fragrance of flowers & array of colors

Effusing joys to abound with Pearls of gleams in these autumn nights

Let us thank the heavenly might,
In this festive season of lights

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Deepawali is a remarkably popular festival of India. Predominantly celebrated by the people of the Hindu community. Diwali is celebrated on Amavasya the 15th day of the fortnight of the Hindu month of Ashwin. It falls either in October or November month every year. It symbolizes the culture of India which teaches to conquer ignorance that subdues humanity and to dislodge the darkness that engulfs the light of knowledge. The festival of Diwali is celebrated to summon love and prosperity in the house. 

Deepawali celebrates the triumph of the good over the evil as on this day the people of Ayodhya welcomed Lord Ram who had returned from 14 years of exile. The Hindu Lord Ram returned to his palace along with his brother Laxman and Sita ( his wife ). During the exile, Sita was abducted by evil Ravana. Later, The almighty lord ram defeated Ravana and rescued his wife. The whole Ayodhya was lit with diyas and burned crackers to celebrate their victory. Since the day every Indian family celebrates this festival with same enthusiasm and joy.

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It’s a customary practice in the Hindu community to light Diyas in their homes at evening as it signifies the surrender of one’s soul to the almighty Diwali.  A Diya is also a personification of the self as Diya is made up of Clay, which represents our body and it also constitutes a cotton wick and oil. The wick in the Diya depicts our ego. Oil or ghee in lamp depicts our vasanas or negative thoughts. As the lamp burns to emit light for all, the oil (vasanas) slowly starts to deplete, the wick(ego) also burns out.The flame of the Diya always burns upwards – inspiring us towards higher ideals Likewise, when we lit ourselves by enlighten of spiritual knowledge  (flame), the “vasanas” get slowly exhausted with ego and fade out completely. The peerless lamp is Sun as it only gives and asks for nothing. That is why it is called a devata – the one who gives.

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The Festival of Diwali welcomes a change of season and a change of mood with the bells of festivity and holy rituals around every corner. The farmer thanks the “ The Almighty” for the harvests and pray for a prosperous harvesting season in the forthcoming year as it marks the end of the harvest season and the onset of winters. The traders after offering prayers to Lord Ganesha open a new book of accounts as it marks the beginning of the new financial year. India a country of unity in diversity is even diversified in beliefs when it comes to the celebration of Diwali each religion and state celebrates this festival with different notions and customs.

· Hindus – All Hindus celebrate Diwali as Lord Ram returned to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile and victory over Ravan.

· Jains – They celebrate this festival as on this day Lord Mahavira attained Moksha (the liberation of the soul from karma and the cycle of life and death). The next day of Diwali is celebrated as New Year in Jainism.

·Sikhs – The festival of Diwali is celebrated by Sikhs since 1577 as the foundation stone of Golden Temple is placed on this day and also, the 6th of 10 gurus of Sikhism’s “Guru Hargobind” is released on this day along with 52 others who were detained in Gwalior Fort by Mughal emperor Jahangir.

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It even amazes me sometimes that a simple festival could hold so different meaning for so many people and how some stories are still unrevealed. The tag of Incredible India couldn’t be better suited to any country other than India. But, the series of stories still have few more stories to amaze you. Likewise different states hold different tradition to celebrate Diwali; however, the purpose of peace and happiness remain same for all.

Eastern India ( West Bengal, Kolkata, Odisha, Tripura, And Assam )

Most Indians worship goddess Lakshmi on Diwali. Here, Diwali is celebrated as Kali Puja and the night of Diwali is considered as Night of Pitripurush(ancestors). They believe their ancestors descend on the day of Diwali from Heaven and to invite them they burn jute sticks and reiterate.

.“Badabadua ho Gandhara e as a aluaa e jaao baaisi pahacha e gadagadau thaao”(Meaning: oh!! our ancestors, seers and gods you came on the dark night of mahalaya, and now it is time for you to depart for heaven, so we are showing light, may you attain peace in abode of Jagannatha!)

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Southern India ( Chennai, Banglore, and Hyderabad)

Diwali comes on Tamil month of Aipasi in south India. It starts from Dhanatrayodashi and extends till Yama Dwitiya. Dhanatroypdashi is just the other name of Dhanteras which is same as other places and the second day is celebrated as Naraka Chaturdashi which can be also called as Choti Diwali The third day is celebrated as Diwali also known as Kali chadus on this day they worship “ Kul Devi to cast off evil spirits but unlike other states they have different significance as the day before on “Naraka Chaturdashi” Lord Krishna killed the asura ( demon ) Naraksura and took the oil bath to get rid of Naraksura blood. To solemnize people start doing the same as they believe that on this day goddess Ganga consecrate the water and goddess Lakshmi will consecrate the oil. On Naraka Chaturdashi in some states, people create a paper-made effigy of Narakasura and filled it with the firecracker and burn it in the morning. The fourth-day Padwa also known as Bali Padyami and fifth-day Bhaiduj is also known as Yama Dwitiya is celebrated similarly to northern states.

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Western India ( Gujarat, Maharastra, and Rajasthan )

The celebration of Diwali commences a day before comparing to other states of India. Here, The first day is known as Vasubaras which they celebrate by worshipping cow and its calf – as it’s a symbol of mother and child love. The next day is Dhan Trayadashi or Dhanteras followed by Naraka Chaturdashi and a day after Lakshmi puja or Diwali Then Bali pratipada and Lastly, Bhai Bij which is also known as Bhai Doj in which sisters pray for the prosperity and happiness of their brothers.

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Northern India ( Delhi, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh )

The bells of the festive season start ringing for them with the sounds of crackers Dusshera which comes few weeks before Diwali. From where everyone started preparing for Diwali by painting and cleaning their homes, buying gifts and decorating their houses with lights for Diwali. But, the main chores start with Dhanteras in which people worship Lord Kubera (The God of wealth ) and also buy gold and silver ornaments or utensils in order to bring luck and prosperity in their homes. Followed by Choti Diwali where people decorate their houses with diyas and rangoli and offer prayers to their God. The next day is celebrated as Diwali in which people in invite friends and family to exchange presents and sweets and also to pray along with everyone for happiness peace and prosperity. The fourth day people do Goverdhan Puja and next day celebrate Bhai-duj.

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Whatever may be the eccentric philosophies or customs associated with the celebration of Diwali. The ideology to welcome positive vibes, worship God for blessing and to start the beginning of the new season with happiness and joy remain the same for all. The twinkling colorful lights illuminate every household with brightness and positivity and the fragrance of sandalwood and agarbatis , color of rangoli and recitations of prayer in every temple and household make you realize the prominence and exclusivity of Indian festivals and tradition.


 


“I feel reviving a dying art is much better than continuing the existing art forms. Hence, I have dedicated over 20 years of my life, in breathing life to ‘Basoli,’ a unique miniature painting style, ruined due to earthquake,” said Eminent Artist Kamal Ahmed M from Gadag


Basoli paintings

Basoli paintings derive their name from the village named Basoli, in Himachal Pradesh in India, where they originated. These evolved in the 17th and 18th centuries as a distinctive style of painting by fusion of Hindu mythology, Mughal miniature techniques, and folk art of the local hills.

https://www.indiamart.com/harmonyarts-vadodara/basohli-painting.html

HISTORY

The roots of the art form can be traced to the 14th century. The Basoli school of painting developed with the decline of the Mughal empire, after the death of Emperor Aurangzeb. During his reign, master artists and painters began leaving the royal court and started seeking patronage at the courts which flourished far away from the center of the empire, as Emperor Aurangzeb did not pay them much patronage. One of the biggest such centers was the village Basoli. Two types of miniature art developed in Basoli. One was the regular miniatures which may be called classic painting. The second was eroticism in miniature.

The entire village was destroyed by an earthquake and so, very few paintings have been discovered among the ruins.

The discovered Basoli paintings were first introduced to the world in the Annual Report of the Archaeological Survey of India published in 1921. Ananda K. Coomaraswamy believed them to be the Jammu style of painting, which also contributed to their style. Coomaraswamy observed them to be “designed with a decorative simplicity very suggestive of large scale mural art.” They had not been categorized as Basoli paintings yet, and thus, there were certain errors in classification and they were often confused with other art forms with similar roots.

THEMES

The most popular themes depicted in Basoli paintings derive from the Shringara literature like Rasamanjari, Gita Govinda, and Ragaamala. Painters involved in the art form also painted portraits of local rulers, who provided them patronage. One of the important royal families most closely linked with the history of the painting during and after the Mughal period is of the Padhas of Basoli. The Raja also got his portrait made by the court artists.

[insert portrait of abovementioned king]

Portrait of Raja Dhiraj Pal, Basohli, c. 1720–25

One of the most popular themes in Basoli painting particularly during the reign of Raja Kripal Pal was the Rasamanjari written by the poet Bhanudutta. A Basohli Rasamanjari series was illustrated by Devidas, a local painter of Basoli belonging to the Tarkhan community, which produced many skilled artists.

The Basoli school of painting draws inspiration from the Mughal School as well as the Rajasthani School of painting and they have sometimes been confused with each other.

CHARACTERISTICS

Bright colors like red, blue, and yellow, bold lines, red borders, lustrous enamel like colors, and rich symbols are characteristic of this style of painting. The faces of the figures have receding foreheads and large bulging eyes shaped like lotus petals. Their rich costumes, stylized faces, and expressive eyes gave individuality to the Basoli paintings.

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On the threshold of youthOn the Threshold of Youth, illustration to the Rasamanjari, Basohli, c. 1695

 

The Churning of the Ocean of Milk, Basohli, c. 1730

 

Krishna Stealing the Clothes of Cowherdesses, from the Bhagavata Puran

Nayikas in Rasamanjari. Basohli Painting (18th Century)

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These paintings resemble the Rajasthani and Malwa school of paintings. The Dogra Art Museum in Jammu has an exquisite collection of Basoli paintings.


 This time around, Nazariya brings to you, the great Kaavi Wall Art. This unrevealed heritage of Goa is bound to leave you awestruck!

Kaavi Wall Art

Kaavi art on an old wall in Goa

Every time we think about Goa- the beautiful beaches, lingering seafood and a culturally diverse atmosphere are the chief thoughts that come to our mind. But Goa has so much more to offer. We hardly know about the rich heritage of Goa which now by hook or by crook is besieged for attention.

Kaavi art is what we are about to unleash. It’s one of the most sacred and oldest art forms of the Goan cultural heritage. Today on the verge of being a dying art form, Kaavi art is a form of painting in Konkan region in temples, houses, small shrines and walls of Roman Catholic Churches of Goa.

The term Kaav in Konkani refers to Indian red pigmentation which is the only color used in the art form which is obtained from the laterite soil. The specialty of the art form is its technique of the application of the murals on the wall: the reddish painting is artistically drawn against the white sandblasted background.

Kaavi Art Motif

The beautiful deep red colored motif of Kaavi Art

If you ponder over how the material is prepared then let me take you to the Goan beach and make you explore, how the snow-white lime is obtained by burning the sea shells and washed sand from river beds were mixed with jaggery and then is allowed to ferment for two weeks. This mixture is then effortlessly hand poured to obtain a homogenous substance which soon hardens and then is applied to the walls which enrich our eyes as Kaavi wall art!

The beauty of the art form has insisted it to spread its wings from Goa and expand its vistas to Maharashtra and Karnataka. But Goa being the origin of the art form has been deprived of Kaavi so far. Much of the works you will come across are mostly hundred years old and more maybe. Some are so old that they do not appear very presentable and the families who own the artwork have the lack of economic resources in order to restore the art. One problem faced in restoring this art in temples and houses is that we have no one practicing this art in Goa anymore. To perform Kaavi artisans need to import from Karnataka and Maharashtra.

Kaavi being an art form that can be composed as smoothly as butter and can also be so complex that it may require geometrical assistance. The architectural touch in Kaavi is commendable if you observe it so closely. If you let the ridges, platforms, and niches that are decorated with spirals, spades, semi-circles, and curves seep into you for a while and realize the architectural beauty in the two-dimensional art of Kaavi.

The following images depict the architectural attribute of Kaavi Art very precisely –

Kaavi art with architectural attributes

Kaavi art with architectural attributes

A pillar depicting extraordinary Kaavi Art

A pillar depicting extraordinary Kaavi Art

 

Kaavi can still be very well be seen at The Brahmini Maya Temple, Kshetrapal Temple in Agarvaddo, and Venkatesh and Parashuram in South Goa. However, inspite of its downfall the Goa Heritage Action Group has resolved to make the people and the government sit up and take notice in order to save Kaavi art from disappearing completely from Goa.

Since Goa is one of the highly admired tourist spots, the objective is to bring in the thought of people to see this thing of beauty and create more awareness. It will be a huge moment of loss if the art form is not preserved. Being at the stake of extinction Kaavi is not just an art form but a whole lot of perspective of knowledge, culture, belief, and stories of our ancestral history.

 It’s a call to preserve the intangible cultural heritage of one of the most exotic and popular travel destination of the world.  It’s the call to preserve Kaavi.


If you love stories then read along. Let us take you to the vivid world of scroll paintings! Here you will find paintings that would have you falling in love with the art that tells you the story as much as the story itself. Welcome to the world of Cheriyal Art!

 

 Cheriyal scroll painting depicting Indian Myth

               Cheriyal scroll painting depicting Indian Myth

 

 Types of Cheriyal art scrolls depicting different types of stories.

   Types of Cheriyal art scrolls depicting different types of stories.

Originated from the village of Cheriyal, 85 km from Warangal district of Telangana, Cheriyal scroll painting is a version of Nakashi art rich in Indian mythology motifs. Painted in a narrative format like that of a comic strip, Cheriyal art depicts stories from the Puranas and Epics. While they bear some resemblance to Madhubani paintings, they are intensely infused with local flavour that creates the uniqueness in Cheriyal art of storytelling.

Each Cheriyal Scroll painting is drawn on a khadi cloth opening with a piece of Lord Ganesha, followed by Goddess Saraswati. It’s way adopted by the artists to pay respect to the deities and seeking their blessings.

The technique of cheriyal scroll painting would tell you about the sophistication level as firstly they begin with applying a paste of tamarind seed along with tree gum and white clay. After applying three coats of this paste and allowing it to dry for a day or two, the scroll is finally ready for the further procedures. Now the artist draws the outline using a squirrel haired brush. Next is the turn for the predetermined colouring system. The red colour fills the background and blue and yellow colours are used for Gods and Goddesses respectively. While brown and darker shades are used for demons and pink skin tones are used for depicting humans.

Earlier natural dyes were used which were obtained from grounded sea shells, turmeric, vegetables etc. While today natural dyes are largely replaced by organic watercolors which are mixed with tree gum before applying on the scrolls. These paints are said to last over 300 years provided they don’t come in contact with water.

 D.Vaikuntham working on Cheriyal Art

        D.Vaikuntham working on Cheriyal Art

Today D.Vaikuntham’s family is only to practice the cheriyal art form, they have continued the Cheriyal tradition since the 15th century. They are the true masters of art form in this era. Apart from making the scroll paintings, the art has got a modified version of making masks in the same colour pattern and same themes of depicting the Indian mythologies as well. Due to the trouble of fitting in the modern world, the artists are forced to modify the art form.

The modified version of Cheriyal art as a mask

    The modified version of Cheriyal art as a                                                mask

Adapting the modern global changes is a major challenge for ancient art forms. It makes it difficult for them to breathe in with so many alternatives and replacements around but Cheriyal Art continues to survive. Ergo, an ancient tradition has been preserved with passion and zeal overflowing to keep it alive today and for coming generation!


India is a nation which holds a cultural hub which is beyond comparison and it stands with its remarkable harmony and colours of different cultures and traditions. However, the history of India is one another topic which draws out attention and when it comes to preserving the history and exhibiting it, we Indians take pride in it like no other. There are numerous cultural museums in our country which attracts people from all over the world. Out of so many we present before you a few unique and exquisite cultural museums of India.

Bay Island Driftwood Museum – Kottayam

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A museum exhibiting an exclusive collection of superior quality driftwood articles of immensely high artistic value, prepared through a rare and innovative modern art form, is operating at the picturesque village of Kumarakon in Kottayam. Being the only driftwood museum in India, The Bay Island Driftwood Museum has been certified by The India Book of Records in 2013. Story goes that long ago a school teacher Raji Punnoose (curator and proprietor) picked up the habit of randomly collecting driftwood pieces brought by the sea to the shore. With each cyclone the sea brought along ancient trees and roots and left behind its loot on the shores. These pieces were gathered, cleaned and shaped to give them creative forms – birds, fish, and animals. This process of developing the plundered goods brought in by the Bay of Bengal is on display at this museum for us to see.

The Limca Book of Records has certified that Bay Island Museum as the only drift wood museum that showcases objects which have been painstakingly recovered  and collected from the Andaman seas and beaches by Raji Punnoose. The museum is today managed by a trust to ensure its perpetuity. Recognising its potential as a special interest tourist destination, the state government awarded it the ‘Most Innovative Tourism Project’ prize in 2004. Even though tourists many not exactly be making a beeline for the museum, the recent status of Kumarakom as an incubator for the state’s responsible tourism initiatives is good news. Since it opened its doors in 2001, tourists from close to 100 countries have visited the museum till date. The entry fee of Rs 50 is ploughed back into local area development as well as charity.

The government ruling that nobody can take into custody stuff brought in by the sea following the 2004 Tsunami means that the Bay Island Museum will remain one of a kind only. The museum is a perfect example of how a passion became an obsession and all those efforts given into this came out to be something which is unique and nothing in the world can match with it.

Address Chakranpadi, Vayitharamattom, Kumarakom, Kerala 686563

Contact 0481 252 6223

Opening Hours 10AM-5PM

Website http://www.bayislandmuseum.com/


Anokhi Museum of Hand Painting – Jaipur

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Critics called it ‘a little gem of a museum’; this interesting museum in a restored haveli documents the art of hand-block printing, from old traditions to contemporary design displaying a varied selection of block printed textiles alongside images, tools and related objects – all chosen to provide an in-depth look into the complexity of this ancient tradition.

Like crafts worldwide, the block printing industry faces serious challenges trying to keep pace with modern manufacturing. The Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing addresses this fragile situation primarily through education. Dedicated to the art of block printing, AMHP strives to inform both textile specialists and general public alike; but more importantly, the artisans themselves are encouraged to visit and view their craft in a unique and inspirational way. Whilst block Printing and Textile heaven these two are the epitome of grabbing attention of the visitors all around the world. Apart from interpreting, preserving and collecting the Rajasthani art of block painting, one can also observe a huge variety of textiles in the three storeyed museum, complete with elaborate explanations of the make, meaning, quality and speciality of the fabric and its print. One of the biggest attractions in the museum/art gallery is the on-site demonstration of block printing, which holds a high fascination factor for adults and children alike.  

Besides this the place also organises film programs in its auditorium, where documentaries about the rare art of block printing are showcased. If you feel inspired, you can also enrol for a 2 day workshop where you work alongside the skilled artisans on your own project, learning to make blocks and printed fabrics! For those who might be unaware, Anokhi is a brand with many stores across the globe, known for reviving the arts of our past. Also, the building in which this museum is currently was painfully restored by Anokhi’s founders in 1989, for which they were awarded the UNESCO prize for ‘Cultural Conservation’.

Ergo, Anokhi holds a massive fascination among people of age and background. It is a zealous initiative in order to protect the heritage of Rajasthan’s legacy.

Address  Anokhi Haveli, Near Badrinath Temple, Kheri Gate, Amber, Jaipur, Rajasthan 302028

Contact 0141 253 0226

Opening Hours 10:30AM-5PM

Website http://www.anokhi.com/museum/home.html


Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi (IGNCA)

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A premier government-funded arts organization in India, IGNCA is an autonomous institution under the Union Ministry of Culture. It was established in the memory of Indira Gandhi, the late Indian Prime Minister. Launched on 19 November 1985 by the late Prime Minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi at a function where the symbolism of the components was clearly articulated at different levels. The elements – fire, water, earth, sky and vegetation – were brought together. Five rocks from five major rivers – Sindhu (Indus), GangaKaveri,Mahanadi and the Narmada (where the most ancient ammonite fossils are found) were composed into sculptural forms. These remain at the site as reminders of the antiquity of Indian culture and the sacredness of her rivers and rocks.

It’s a centre encompassing the study and experience of all the arts—each form with its own integrity, yet within a dimension of mutual interdependence, interrelated with nature, social structure and cosmology. The arts are here understood to comprise the fields of creative and critical literature, written and oral; the visual arts, ranging from architecture, sculpture, painting and graphics to general material culture, photography and film; the performing IGNCA; and all else in fairs, festivals and lifestyle that has an artistic dimension. In its initial stages the Centre will focus attention on India; it will later expand its horizons to other civilizations and cultures. Through diverse programmes of research, publication, training, creative activities and performance, the IGNCA seeks to place the arts within the context of the natural and human environment. The fundamental approach of the Centre is all its work will be both multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary.

Since, Art is an inevitable part of human nature, and perhaps the only activity that propagates free expression of thoughts in its purest form and IGNCA exclusively sets up for the preservation and promotion of art in the country.

Address   Mansingh Road, Opposite Of Raksha Bhawan, New Delhi, Delhi 110001

Contact 098148 85236

Opening Hours 8AM-6PM

Website http://ignca.nic.in/


Purani Haveli The Nizam’s Museum – Hyderabad

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Located in the Purani Haveli, Nizam’s Museum is a place worth visiting. Boasting of a rich collection of memoirs, gifts, souvenirs from all over the world, it was created on the wish of last and the seventh Nizam, Asaf Jah VII, the museum showcases a glimpse into the lives of Nizams, who have ruled the city from 19th to 20th century, commencing a high rate of development. Nizam Museum is entailed of a wide range of rare souvenirs and intricately designed mementos. The major attraction here is the golden, wooden throne, which was used during the silver jubilee celebrations of the Last Nizam. There is also a gold model of the pavilion. Diamond inlaid gold Tiffin-box, paintings of Mir Osman Ali Khan, wooden writing box covered with mother-of-pearl, daggers studded with diamond and gold, caskets, etc., are a few popular items on display. An exclusively designed silver perfume bottles, a gift from the Raja of Palvancha is also an admirable piece of art. For car lovers, there are vintage cars such as 1930 Rolls Royce, Packard and a Jaguar Mark V on display.

Another prominent feature is the wardrobe of sixth Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Mahbub Ali Khan. The wardrobe, an entity in itself, is 176 feet long and has two levels. It is made up of Burma teak, one of the finest. The sixth Nizam, is said to have never repeated his clothes, which were given to other after being worn once by him. Hence a section for afore mentioned has been created and another section is of the wardrobe, costumes of other men, women and children of Hyderabad have been highlighted.

Thus, the Nizam’s museum is one extraordinary museum which takes us all the way to lifestyles of the Nizams. We have so far heard the stories of their luxury and sophistication but this museum engages us into imagining the life of the people who once used to live here and were accustomed to the life the museum so far displays. I bet it must be breath-taking.

Address Purani Haveli, Hyderabad, Telangana 500002

Contact 040 2452 1029

Opening Hours 10AM-5PM

Website http://www.hehnmh.com/

 


Therefore, these cultural museums out numerous others in India showcase the history and the unique culture and lifestyles of people who have lived and done so much in the and for the country. It’s a must to visit these museums and explore all that it has to offer us. The exposure of cultures and traditions of India that these museums gives us would definitely leave us spellbound and it would generate a new love and respect in our heart for our nation.

The mega diversity of India and its culture and traditions has drawn attraction from all over the world and will keep doing so. However the job of preserving and presenting the history of some extraordinary and exquisite culture of India has been done by copious museums in India. So far the blog talks about four unique and very interesting cultural museums of India which are for sure to leave you spell bound.


Author: Seemab Alam

Image Source: http://www.desipaintings.com/images/Chamba-miniature-painting.jpg

The romantic ambience of the monsoon season in the heart of Himalayan Mountains was once loved by a princess named Champavati, daughter of Raja Sahila Varman around 920 A.D. While Raja’s daughter took fancy to the site and asked her father to build a town upon it. As the Raja agreed with his beloved daughter and the town was given its name Chamba from the princess’s name Champavati.

Ravi River

Image Source: http://www.indiamike.com/files/images/07/95/31/chamba-1.jpg

The Chamba district is in the state of Himachal Pradesh in northern India. Located at the altitude of 996 meters (3.268 ft) above mean sea level, situated beside the bank of Ravi river and has the population of 20,312 people.

While Chamba is noted for its miniature Pahari Paintings  where Basohli style of paintings took roots with Nikku, the artist of Basohli migrating from Guler to Chamba in the 18th century. However Basohli paintings are considered the first school of Pahari paintings and during the reign of Raja Udai Singh and Raja Jai Singh, patronizing of this art form was conducted. In its continuation Raja Charhat Singh developed this folk art at another huge scale which had a long lasting effect on the local artists.

Image Source:                                http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_sFCue8XC5cI/TP4RcZPg5ZI/AAAAAAAAAl0/TBHMXxSAP2M/s1600/PACF016.JPG                                  http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_sFCue8XC5cI/TP4RAAio8wI/AAAAAAAAAlk/FBURg_0DCSE/s1600/PACF019.JPG                                        http://www.indiamike.com/files/images/17/95/31/chamba-2.jpg                             http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_sFCue8XC5cI/TP4RQtZZemI/AAAAAAAAAls/GbcQAMRgABQ/s1600/PACF008.JPG

Chamba paintings bear a resemblance to Mughal style of paintings including strong influences of Deccan and Gujarat style of paintings. Chamba paintings being very realistic and revealing social documents of history of those times also inspire from the natural surroundings and combine in the depictions of Hindu Mythology particularly the legends of Radha Krishna, Shiva-Parvati, Rama Darbar, Yashoda and Krishna, Gopis Love scenes, deer, birds and women.

Art has two different aspects of presentations, traditional and innovative. The art of Chamba, presented via Pahari painting school is basically traditional. The composition of this art is based on the old form. The main reason for this is the arcade for traditional style paintings. As very few artists have strength and courage to create their own idioms and independent styles that are really different from old forms. Many artists create copies from other paintings in a general manner, however they may enlarge and change the figures but the set form has a very hard grip on their psyche.

The major reason for the extinction of this art form is that it failed to evolve itself with the changing time and adapt itself into the contemporary world. There has been a visible stagnation in Chamba painting in creative demeanour when compared to the work of other artists with vibrant innovations we find in Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai and other cities in the world of contemporary artists.

Tradition needs to be preserved but the same preservation would cause the loss of any other substantial tradition is not appreciated. Therefore similar is the case with Chamba Painting. Chamba is a town with rich cultural tradition with many national award winners but altogether the town lacks the “art-world” coordination. The basic synchronization between the artists and politics either narrow or wide, demand of the market and changing perspective due to modernisation lacks in Chamba which somehow is responsible for the crumbling position of this wonderful art form. Also this has also prevented the artists of Chamba from a pure and delightful experience of interaction and sharing.

However the tangible connection to this intangible heritage survives with the preservation of many traditional paintings being showcased in many museums at Chamba, Shimla and Dharamshala and these museums also hold the distinguished work of artists like Lehru, Durga and Miyan Jara Singh.

Also with proper attention to this art form and by covering missing coordination of the art and changing world and fixing any other remaining loopholes we may preserve this art form from dying forever.

Its important for us to uphold what our ancestors have left us behind. Be it the beautiful stories, the massive mahals or the eye-catching art like the Chamba Painting. Our roots lie in them and binding our roots with such tempting traditions defines who we are.     


Author: Seemab Alam

Image Sources: 

http://i1.tribune.com.pk/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/481629-DastangoiPhotoPublicity- 1355931408-393-640×480.JPG                       http://ste.india.com/sites/default/files/2015/12/18/442871-d1.jpg

“Woh Dastan aisi thi ki na palke chapke na kadam dagmagate,

Woh Dastan aisi thi ki hum wahi tham se gaye the..

Us Dastango ki awaaz aur uske andaaz me thi kuch aisi baat ki jaha jaha woh hume lete gaya.. waha waha hum bas chalte gaye aur khote gaye..”

The medieval romances, the tales of travails and lovers, stories of adventure, magic and warfare. All of these epics narrated orally in nature, The Dastan and the adjoin art we scarcely know about is Dastangoi: The lost art form of Urdu storytelling. Coming all the way from 16th century, Iran, dastangoi is the compound of two Persian words Dastan meaning story and Goi which means to tell a Dastan.

The origin of dastangoi goes back to the pre-islamic Arabia and with it the spread of Islam dastangoi came all the way to Iran and to Delhi in India. From Delhi dastangoi toured its way to Lucknow by the 18th century. All this happened during the Indian Rebellion of 1857 when many artists, writers and dastangos moved from Delhi to Lucknow.

When dastangoi gained popularity and started its regular performances at various locations of the cities, there was a time when it became very popular among the opium addicts and it became one the most vital part of their gatherings at opium houses. The early dastangos told the tales of magic, war and adventure and borrowed spontaneously from other stories like the Arabian nights, stories written by Rumi and in India, they also narrated the stories from Panchatantra and later own the tales of freedom fighters and other major events.

By all this time dastangoi was attaining its fame but during 1920’s era of sound and cinema’s revolution in India things started getting different as in 1928 Mir Baqar Ali died, who was the last famous dastango of India. With that this classic art form started losing its charm.

By now people started seeing dastangoi as a dying art form but Ankit Chadha, the very young and among the only 12 professional dastango of India and the founder of Heptullha a ‘heptular’ company that conducts storytelling sessions for adults and children alike has a very different opinion regarding the same. When asked if he considers dastangoi as a dying art form? He says, “I do not. But, my opinion does not make it alive or dying. Also, the question is whether we see Dastangoi as simply a performance art form, or as a living culture of storytelling which it once was. As a performing arts form, in May 2016, we complete 11 years of Dastangoi as it was reinvented by Mahmood Farooqui. He has led this journey with great success – from no traditional proponents to more than a thousand shows by 25 performers trained by him. We have created dozens of modern dastans – as varied as biographies of Manto and Kabir to Dastan-e-Sedition on the trial of Dr. Binayak Sen to Dastan Alice Ki, the adaptation of Carroll’s children’s classic. All this, however, its still the beginning. While our audience is growing (and not dying at all), Dastangoi is still seen as something exotic by many of them. I want to see these listeners perceive Dastangoi as a part of their everyday culture as much as I see it as my way of life.”

Image Source: http://d152j5tfobgaot.cloudfront.net/wpcontent/uploads/2015/05/Yourstory_ankit_chadha_dastangoi.jpg

There seems to be a tangible connection to this intangible heritage. Intangible as the very existence of this art form has got a vague approach of people. But noticing the encounter of Ankit with this classic art form which shares a very low limelight these days proves that yet being immaterial, dastangoi has got a very solid connection to the people of India with the efforts of artists like Ankit making it possible. Upon this Ankit says, “While Dastangoi is a classic art form, it has still not become established in the eyes of state or society like music, theatre and dance are. We are still building the ground and I feel fortunate to be a key player in this process. And as far as the limelight is concerned, the inner journey means much more to me personally than the perception of the media and others.”

Passion plays a key role in upholding the art forms that tend to be dying. Also the responsibility of not letting go of what was ours is another thing. Apart from Dastangoi being performed around festivals like Jashan e Rekhta and others, Jamia Millia Islamia – a central university in New Delhi inculcates among its students to uphold these art forms. Through this the youngsters of the nation are connecting to this art form and appreciating their inclination towards the same.

It’s said that when Dastangos perform a Dastan they present it very lively. Like moving pictures and sometimes they themselves became pictures. Sometimes they speak like old women sometimes like kids and sometimes like ghosts or whatever the Dastan demands them to be. Although considered a fading art form of Urdu storytelling, Dastangoi is being recognised more and more among people of all ages. It emerges as a phoenix and is ready for all the pleasure of being born again and being loved again.


Author: Seemab Alam

The art of stories, the art of spirituality and an art believed to bring good luck, Gond Art is the reflection of India’s largest adivasi community called Gonds who are of Dravidian origin and can be traced to the pre-Aryan era. The word Gond is derived from the word kond which means green mountains. The Gonds are a diverse group spreading over large areas from the Godavari valleys in the south to the Vindhya Mountains in the north. Also in Madhya Pradesh, they are settled in the dense forests of the Vindhyas, Satpura and Mandla in the Narmada region of the Amarkantak range for centuries.

The Gonds are traditionally believed to be storytellers, the Pradhan Gonds used to narrate the stories glorifying the king and this was mainly the source of their livelihood. While with the emergence of British, their downfall began. But it was during early 1980’s when Gond Art found its way back.

The Gond cultural tradition captures different aspects of Gond life- their deities, dance customs, bond with nature, myths, sagas and wisdom. In the early days the Gonds painted their walls with lively portrayals of local flora and fauna and gods. The mystical art form is created by putting together dots and lines and the artists used colours developed by charcoal, plants sap, cow dung and leaves in the early days, today mostly acrylic are used. Most of the paintings when perceived carefully impart a sense of movement to the still images.

While all these paintings are a tribute to nature, the Gonds belief upon the supernatural power is rather interesting. When interviewed Padmaja Srivastava (founder of the organisation-Gond Tribal Art) she says “It’s interesting to know that the Gonds do not believe in idol worship. While they stongly believe in Ramaini which is the mixture of Ramayan and Mahabharat.”

Also she talks about the same very passionately, quoting “I believe that Gond Art is a contemporary art. From paintings on the mud walls to paintings on the canvases, this art relates to many superstitions and belief. Every piece of art they paint portrays a story or a belief. They say these paintings bring good luck for them and protect them from evil spirits.”


BANA PAINTING

Image Source:- http://folkpaintingsindia.com/all-art/gond-art/bana.html

The above Gond Art is a creation by Mansingh Vyam, a Gond artist. This is a painting of the Bana which is also regarded as Bada Dev by the Gondi. Bada Dev (Great God) is invoked under a Saja tree by a Gond Pardhan.The Pardhans being the musicians, story-tellers, and genealogists of the Gonds, invokes Bada Dev by sitting under a Saja tree and playing a musical instrument called Bana. On listening to the melodious sound of the Bana, and the song sung by the Pardhan, Bada Dev awakens from his slumber and comes down the Saja tree. As very well illustrated in the painting.

Isn’t it beautiful to fancy how Gond art from paintings on the mud walls became so alluring on the canvases? Well, it was Jangarh Singh Shyam who first offered this art on the canvases using poster colours in the 1980’s and since then Gond Art has never looked back but only developed.

The entire concept of being rooted to the culture of their ancestors and believing in the ideology their forefathers believed, strengthens the Gond culture in an incredible way.

The exquisiteness of their culture and tales shall forever be cherished. The illusions of their art shall forever be hailed.


Author: Dr. Gautam Chatterjee

From urbanites view point art is viewed as a secluded activities of people and vision is from the standpont of Gallery de art. But for indigenous people like Naga, art and culture are inseparable from their daily milieu. And their art is functional within their ambience. In order to research and depict the Naga life Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts(IGNCA) has recreated their life through Milada Ganguli’s rare collection of Naga Art at Mati Ghar IGNCA which can be seen from Monday the 6th October, 1997.

Image Source: http://www.ibiblio.org/gautam/heri0006.htm

Image Source: http://www.ibiblio.org/gautam/heri0006.htm

Milada Ganguli, 90 year old , a connoisure of Indian art is the connection between the past and present. A native of Czechoslovakia, came to India way back in l939 after her marriage to Mohonlal Ganguli, a writer and a close relative of Rabindranath Tagore. She developed a special interest in the hills of North-East India and was specially attracted towards Naga culture. She has visited these people around 18 times and collected artefacets of rare kind. Today, one part of her collection is the holding of National Museum, Calcutta and second part has come to the IGNCA which are being displayed at theexposition titled “SUNGKONG”–call of the Log Drum.

The exhibition is studded with rare artefacets and photographs placed within the context of beautifully created panorama of Naga life ,the aura of bamboo and grass work interplayed with symbolic motifs of tiger,lion,cross-bow to the votary symbol of potency.

The exposition revolves around the theme of ‘Sonakong’ or the call of Log drum of Naga people. Symbolically it reflects the major part of the extinct Naga Art forms which are no objective articulation of aesthetics but a display of functional art of bygone era. The entrance is the roof of the Morung or dormitary which is decorated with long tassels of thatching grass. Then one walks over the dried grass reaching out to the Morung. This Morung is the epic centre of the Naga life. Here youth and elders meet to share their oral traditions,heritage and functions as a platform of folk cultural demonstration. At night this is the watch post to keep a watch over the enemies. Then comes the unique log drum which is another functional symbolism of this tribe. The interrelatedness of Morung–the dormitary and use of Log drum for community communications is the high point of this exposition. Dr. Malla, Art Historian coordinating the exhibition explained that….

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Author: Siring Adol Caur

Vrindavan is a town in the Mathura district of Uttar Pradesh, India. It’s the place where, according to Hinduism, Lord Krishna spent his childhood days. The city is 10 kms away from the Agra-Delhi highway, and is called the nucleus of Brajbhoomi, whereas Brij is the official language of the town. This place is known as the city of widows also, as 15-20000 widows reside here.

Lord Krishna holds a great importance in Vrindavan/Mathura like Mozart for music. The festival of Janmashtami marks the birth of Krishna and is celebrated in India espevially Vrindavan with great pomp and show every year. The picture of the Hindu deity is observed to be painted, printed or sketched by various artists on different bases, like Madhubani paintings, Cloth painting, Stained glass work, Broken tile work, calendars etc. A Lord Krishna’s idol with Radha is a common thing in any hindu household.

The calendars have the paintings print of Krishna with Radha, Krishna in a forest with his cows grazing, Krishna playing a flute, Krishna eating butter, baby Krishna with mother Yashoda, Krishna leaving Vrindavan on a chariot where the milkmaids are crying etc.

Image Source: http://cdn.vrindavantoday.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/080620111472-001.jpg

Image Source: http://cdn.vrindavantoday.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/080620111472-001.jpg

Image Source: http://iskconnews.org/media/images/venug1.jpg

Image Source: http://iskconnews.org/media/images/venug1.jpg

The painting of Krishna in Vrindavan is quiet common and is painted by almost every painter at a grass root level. Many artisans display their paintings in form of a calendar or notebooks in exhibitions, exhibitions cum sales etc. in places like Dilli Haat or the exhibitions organised by Handicrafts Board of India etc.

 

Where can you buy this traditional art form?

·       www.krishnaculture.com, sell calendars, and books on a theme based on Krishna and Vrindavan, also they provide with art based on Vrindavan.

·       www.krishnastore.in sell Vrindavan desktop calendars in 365 pages

·       www.goldenlotusproductions.com sells a 365 page full color table calendar on Vrindavan and Krishna quotes.