This time around, Nazariya brings to you, the great Kaavi Wall Art. This unrevealed heritage and the traditional art form 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 painting 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 wall painting is artistically drawn against the white sandblasted background. Thus the wall paintings and kaavi wall art images represent the goa folk art.

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 seashells 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, in spite 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.
Want to know more about kaavi wall art online? Check out the ‘ Store’ section at Nazariya.


Tikuli is the local term in Bihar used for Bindi, a colorful dot which married women wear on their forehead between the eyebrows. Bindi is usually worn by Indian women in bright red color. Bindi is used as a symbol of the third eye and hence worn where the sixth chakra is present. However, in present time, Tikuli art is a traditional Indian art and craft form in the Indian history and is used as a source of women empowerment in the Indian state of Bihar.

Tikuli art history

Tikuli painting of Bihar is an art that originates in Patna from more than 800 years. This painting form is in the list of folk art of India. Being avid art lovers, the Mughals provided active patronage and appreciated the features of the tikuli art. The Tikuli art of Bihar is an unprecedented and stand-out piece of hand painting, more than 800 years old and has its source in Patna. It is one of the principle subjects for Nepali and Bhojpuri society tunes. In a large number of the Hindi writing books, it has been used as an image of cheerful married life, a character of a wedded woman.

Revival of Tikuli Art Process

Because of the efforts of two passionate artists, Tikuli Art reemerged on the scene. Chitracharya Padmashree Upendra Marathi was a popular artist in 1954 who worked towards the revival of the dying tikuli art. He got inspiration from Japanese paintings and methods to portray the Tikuli art on hardboard. However, his efforts didn’t gain much popularity till he passed away. It was popular painter and artist Ashok Kumar Biswas who stepped in 1975 after him to take the art to a whole new level. Along with wife Shibani Biswas, Ashok worked hard to develop the art into a source of our livelihood. Eventually, because of his efforts the art gained so much popularity that in Asian Games of the year 1982, Tikuli art pieces were gifted to the best players by Smt. Indira Gandhi, then Prime Minister of India.

Decorative Wall Plates

Decorative Wall Plates

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How to make Tikuli art?

Among the many art forms of different states of India, the making of Tikuli Art is an artistic process. Hardboard is used to make paintings by the artists. These hardboards are cut in various shapes like triangular, square, rectangular, and circular. Then, on the cut wooden piece, four-five enamel coats are applied. The wood is rubbed with sandpaper after every coat giving it a polished surface. Finally, design is made by paint after the final coat. It is further embellished with golden foil and jewels. Madhubani motifs are used in Tikuli art paintings to increase its variety and expand the details. It is a treat to see these two brilliant art forms in one frame for many art lovers. The art requires mild sunlight in order to dry or dry air at room temperature because of the use the enamel paint. For finished look, the art must be a dust free atmosphere. Favorable seasons are spring and summer while monsoon being highly unfavorable. Tikuli art form needs to be preserved and nowadays one has the access to buy the Madhubani paintings and tikuli art online too. Buying Madhubani paintings online is a great way to cherish the art

Smt. Indira Gandhi selected Tikuli art plates among other crafts.

Smt. Indira Gandhi selected Tikuli art plates among other crafts.

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Unique feature of Tikuli art

Expensive: The etching gold foil technique on the glass with natural raw materials made the art production work quite costly at that time.

Rare: The special skills required for this art was present only the state of Bihar.

Detailed Work: Tikuli artist needs to do the detailing in smallest of a piece of the clothes.

The above-mentioned characteristics made Tikuli art a sole privilege offered to royal people. After the entrance of the British Raj over Mughal Empire, the art faced a change. Machine made Bindis took popularity over hand-made ones. Hence, thousands of Tikuli artists became jobless.

Mithila Painting

Mithila Painting

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The most successful Tikuli art organizations of India are the following:

Bihar Mahila Udyog Sangh

The Tikuli or “Bindi” which has decorated the forehead of Hindu women has now found another incarnation as an art frame, on account of the artist, painter and specialist Shree Ashok Kumar Biswas. Biswas learned the art from Lal Babu Gupta who spent significant time in the art. His energy for restoring an old art of Bihar proved valuable for art lovers as well as for some poor families. With humble beginnings at Dehri On Sone in Rohtas region of Bihar, this man had an aptitude and an ability to match his fantasies. He may be known as the solitary crusader in the fight for the restoration of the diminishing Tikuli specialty and he has kept the fight going at Patna since 1974 with his wife Shibani.

Bihar Mahila Udyog Sangh

Tikuli Art done by Bihar Mahila Udyog Sangh

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Upendra Maharathi Shilp Anusandhan Sansthan

Established in 1956, Upendra Maharathi Shilp Anusandhan Sansthan conducts research and training, product development activities and also tries to safeguard the state’s languishing crafts. The home of India’s some initial paintings, Bihar is tremendously rich in its arts and crafts. UMSAS organizes wide range of public programs, like workshops, seminars, fairs, exhibits, and special events.

Upendra Maharathi Shilp Anusandhan Sansthan

Upendra Maharathi Shilp Anusandhan Sansthan

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Patna-based Ashok Kumar Biswas has for all intents and purposes with no help reestablished this art. He has melded the tikuli art with another art type of Bihar, Madhubani, to make embellishing divider plates, napkins, place settings, inside decorations, plate, pen stands and other utility things. The hundreds of years old passing on Tikuli art shows the numerous appearances of our rich Indian culture including the acclaimed Madhubani Paintings of Bihar.

An old specialty of the Mughal times, tikuli art is really beautiful in the present times also. It is still the part of tribal adornments worn by the Santhal tribe of Bihar. The art of making tikuli is hinting at restoration — as an art and also a good business recommendation for poor groups of Bihar towns.


Author: Seemab Alam

To the ups and downs of numerous Ghats, to the survival of the crowd and passing by the majestic cows around the streets, comes the beautiful haveli’s, temples and houses who amidst the chattering women and wandering local vendors stand with their walls being canvases to the bright coloured parrots, elephants, gods and goddesses, all adding up a supreme uniqueness and charm to the lanes of Varanasi.

These hand painted wall art is known as “Bhitti Chitrakala”, a folk art of Varanasi. These represent the Indian folk art and convey mythology stories through art.However, with the growing modernization, this folk art is finding itself difficult to breathe. These traditional art forms of uttar Pradesh are mainly paintings showcasing mythological and colonial stories, Rajasthani and Mughal art at Jangambadi Muth, Bhonslaghat, Bageshwari Temple. These have already lost their gleaming look while others are on the way to extinction.

The main reason for the dying of this folk art of Varanasi is ignorance and unawareness. However, the existence and history of bhitti chitrakala goes back to the 16th century. Today most of the people around the houses who hold these fine wall paintings do not know about them at all. While there once was a time when the same art was valued and people took pride in expressing them on their houses. While today people find doing the same a waste of time and money.

Dr. Sudhir Keshri, assistant professor from the faculty of visual art, Banaras Hindu University (BHU) says that “The paintings in the city are now hardly visible, main reason being the witlessness of the people and no willingness to take any action against it by the authority.”

The paintings however can still be seen by a hair’s breadth around the old houses at Assi, Bageshwari Temple in Jaitpura, Laxmi Narayan Temple, Dasaswamedh Ghat, Devki Nandan Ki Haveli, Sankat Mochan Mandir and few more places.

Dr. Keshri adds, “The paintings depicts mythological stories from Durga Saptashati, Ramayan, Samudra manthan and Dashavtar on the walls of ashrams and temples. Also the elite class families used to paint their Havelis with certain designs. During marriages etc. people used to make paintings of Lord Ganesha, traditional sainiks, elephants, horses, parrots and peacocks. However today the ones who do paint their houses are all confined to the paintings of Lord Ganesha. ”

Concluding up Dr. Keshri says that “With the basic idea of considering wall paintings a waste of time and money and also with other advancements this art is hardly surviving. Topped with negligence, there rarely aren’t any artists into this profession anymore as most of them have shifted to other jobs due to no work availability.”

Around 2 years ago the students of Banaras Hindu University took the initiative to revive this art by painting the house walls of people who were willing to, for free. It was an excellent step to connect this intangible art with tangibility. Also a non-profit organisation- Jnana Pravaha, has put in efforts and collected the drawings of all the paintings that were made on temples, ashrams and other haveli’s and houses of the city as these drawings will be stored in museums.

Thus, a city like Varanasi which portrays a beautiful picture for people all around the world to know what gold this old city holds, would start losing something like Bhitti Chitrakala, it may somehow lead to start loosing up our traditions and folk art gradually.

I remember an old man talking at the ghats that “civilization have come and gone, people have lived here and have been cremated here, days and years have passed but our benaras and it’s magic is still the same.”

I wonder if he would ever realize that things are not the same. I wonder if we, the young generations can uphold these traditions for the coming many generations to see all the gold this old city has been holding since forever.

Want to know more about bhitti chitrakala art images online? Check out the ‘ Store’ section at Nazariya to buy paintings online.

All Picture Courtesy Belongs to Mohit Khetrapal (Student, Sunbeam School, Varanasi)