Sunday, April 19, 2020



DEEPAWALI  IN GULER ...  A Painting  by Nainsukh..
( Painting on display in British Museum, London,UK)

Guler was a princely state in  present day Himachal Pradesh . It had Haripur and many other towns and villages under its jurisdiction.. Founded in 1405 AD, it became a part of Punjab in 1813. It was ruled by Rajputs who happened to be connoisseurs of art.The  Guler School of art started under the patronage of Raja Dalip Singh who ruled Guler  from 1675 to 1743 AD.

 Being close to Kangra ( Nagarkot ) , it became a  cradle of Kangra style of paintings. Pandit Shiv(Sieu) Raina and his two illustrious sons initially settled in Guler wherefrom they moved to Basholi and  Jasrota. Jasrota was a small state affiliated to the larger state of Jammu.

 Nainsukh  remained in Jasrota for about twenty years till Raja Balwant Singh died. Infact he carried the ashes of Raja to Haridwar for immersion in river Ganga and made an entry in the Bahi ( records) of the family priest (Panda) of Raja Balwant Singh .

This  painting brings to surface draughtsmanship and architectural skills of Nainsukh .The Chhatris, pillars, courtyard, floor, enclosures  etc. reflect skill, proportion and design. The royal ladies in colourful dresses are lighting lanterns or Diyas. Some women are seen wearing  conical caps .
The Rajas of Guler, Kangra ,Basholi ,Chamba and other  hilly kingdoms in western Himalayas were worshippers of Sri Rama .  Dussehra   was celebrated in  Chamba  ,Basholi  and many hilly kingdoms with royal participation and patronage.  Even to this  day , Ramlila of Basholi and Dussehra of Chamba  remain an event worth participation.

The detailed depiction of architecture in this work  makes it look like  painting done in Awadhi style.  There lies the mastery and versatility of Nainsukh.

Nainsukh died in 1778 in Bhaoshli where he collaborated with his brother Manaku and later with  his nephew Fattu (1725-85,) son of Manaku and also with his own  youngest son Ranjha (1750-1830). His other three sons, Kama (1735-1810), Gaudhu (1740-1820) and Nikka (1745-1833), were also painters, and carried forward  the legacy in various principalities of Western Himalayas.

(Avtar Mota)

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CHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
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