Hilly painting style- Pahadi Chitra
Hilly painting style: Himachal Pradesh and its environs are known as hilly region. Small pargana states existed here a few centuries ago. The region was mountainous and remote and was somewhat detached from the outside world. The influx of migrants kept coming here to get stability from the frequent wars and instability elsewhere. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, there were many painters under Rajashraya. Their creation is known as hill art.
It is a beautiful hilly region in the Shivalik, Dhauladhar ranges of the Himalayas. During the reign of Akbar, the Mughals had political relations with the local kings. The hill chiefs had to remain loyal to the Mughals, so the hill chiefs were held hostage in the Mughal court but were treated with respect. Appointments to high positions, receiving gifts from the emperor as a special privilege, thus the influence of royal living naturally fell on the hill kings. He came in direct contact with painters in the Mughal art scene. He painted his own profiles. Being a pastoral painter was a matter of adornment at that time, but the best painters were the standard bearers of the Mughal court. Later, Aurangzeb’s conservative policy towards artists forced him to seek refuge elsewhere. This migration also took place in the hilly region. The artists found refuge in the hill kings. When the hill kings gained independence during the decline of Mughal political dominance, they adopted a policy of curiosity and excitement about art. A rich gallery in the history of Indian art was decorated during this period.
The two major styles of hill art are Basoli painting style and Kangra painting style. Both of these names are regional. Productions at Jammu, Mandi, Chamba, Guler, Kullu, Bilaspur, Garhwal are also known as Chamba Kalam, Guler Kalam according to the region names.
The old history of hill paintings can be traced back to the paintings of the reign of King Kripalpal of Basoli (1678-94) and the murals of the reign of King Mandhata (1661-1700) in the palace at Nurpur. The previous creation must have been destroyed. Basoli paintings are on Bhanudatta’s Rasamanjari (thirteenth and fourteenth centuries). On the back of the paintings is a Sanskrit verse with the meaning, The name of the king is inscribed in Takari script on the portraits of Kripalpal. Hunting with the help of birds was a favorite pastime of the hill kings. So the picture also shows a deaf rabbit in the king’s hand.
During the reign of Amritpal (1757-76) Basoli flourished. The palace built by Medinipal (c. 1725-36) was seen as a wonder of the hills. The murals in the renovation next to the palace have a Kangra style resemblance. The original Basoli style is a rich painting with a weirdness of expression and a closeness to folk art. Some of the features of Basoli are the use of dark colors, the beautiful combination of all the shapes that are movable in terms of composition. On the other hand, the look of Kangra style is high and elegant. It developed further, resembling the Mughal style during the Mahmadshah period (1719-48). The careers of Kangra kings Ghamandchand (d. 1751-74) and Sansarchand (d. 1775-1823) became artistically important. Both kings were funny. He enhanced the beauty of the region through the planned construction of beautiful gardens.
Sansarchandas Kangra fort was acquired in 1783 and his career as an independent king began. The period of about twenty years from here is considered to be the golden age of Kangra style. Hundreds of quality paintings were made during this period. The traditional collection at his court contained a portrait of Alexander as a gift from the Mughals. An expert painter named Kushan Lal was a special favorite of Sansarchanda. There are other painters like Sajanu and Purakhu. Janmashtami celebrations in the court, scenes of playing Holi, watching dances etc. Sansarchanda is depicted in the pictures on the subject. Use all kinds of shades such as cold haze, rainy clouds, night darkness etc. The original poetic imagery is realistically expressed in many ways, such as the impression of the wind of Sosata through the rhythmic drawing of the atmospheric trees and ornaments. From this point of view, the history of all the hill paintings is based on the similarities between the color scheme and the theoretical features.
The old paintings at Guler are also seen in terms of pre-Kangra style meeting. From ‘Guler Raja Govardhan Singh’s Sangeet Sabha’ to ‘King Dilip Singh playing polo’, there is also a picture of the passage of time. The Ramayana series at Guler is famous, each of which is about 0.91 m long. X 0.60 m. Is so large. It must be very recent. The Rajsangraha at Chamba and the murals also contain pre-Kangra style paintings with an early Basoli influence. The painter Malik Ghulam Mohammad was given as a gift at the Chamba Darbari Anandan on the occasion of the marriage of the Chamba prince and Basoli princess. One such immigrant painter, Pandit Seu, lived in Jasrota. His son Nainsukh painted the court paintings of Jammu King Balwant Singh. ‘Balwant Singh is doing a horse test’, ‘Balwant Singh is looking at the picture with admiration and Nansukh is standing politely behind him’ etc. Pictures on subjects
Yatras, annual fairs etc. held in Kullu. Coming to a comic strip for folklore on occasion. His paintings are considered a beautiful expression of folk art. The Hamir Hatha Chitramalika, presented by the painter Sajanu to Raja Ishwar Sena at Mandi, must have been the last beautiful paintings in the Kangra style. In Garhwal, Bihari Satsaiya and Geet Govind were given as gifts at the wedding of Kangra princesses. Both these series are the great beauties of Kangra paintings.
The later paintings at Garhwal are considered to be of hill-style descent. There is a lot of curiosity in modern times about the painter Molaram (1750-1833) who was a courtier of Garhwal. Poets, philosophers, diplomats, etc. of his personality. There were many aspects. Dara Shukoh, Rajput Pritam Singh, Nrusinha, the heroine etc. Molaram drew pictures on various subjects. It is believed that Molaram’s work was not of a very high standard compared to other painters of the time. The paintings of Chaitushaha of Garhwal are of very high quality. Also, the names of the artists who created many beautiful paintings are not yet available.
In the later period, the hills were politically dominated by the Sikhs. Subjects such as hunting paintings, court paintings, portraits became more important, but the quality of production declined. Later, profiles of company officials were also found and finally the beautiful festival of hill painting came to an end. The murals and imperial bastions of the Lahore fort were carved during the Sikh period. Dilip Singh, the son of King Ranjit Singh, was a painter.
From a creative point of view, it seems that color entries are being made on drawings made for pictures. Based on them, there are also some examples of unfinished paintings due to the death of an old artist being completed later. The student-painter’s drawing was studied on the basis of tables containing various aspects such as animals, birds, nature and human figures. Colors were made from different minerals.
Anand Kumaraswamy, Carl Khandalwala, Archer, Randhawa etc. Many writers have done a lot of research writing on hill art. Numerous paintings are scattered in art museums in India and abroad as well as in individual collections of paintings. These paintings from the hilly region are a great legacy of Indian painting.