Old charming days of Indian Art: #Calendars on #Mythology

During Childhood i used to watch our elders performing Pooja. There were few dedicated places in homes. In some houses there used to be a room called as pooja room. In others only a section of room or almirah are designated as pooja corners. On the walls many beautifull calendars were hanging, depicting Lord Shiva, Parwati, Shri Ram and Sita. Other were of Ganga Avataran, Saraswati etc. Sache Darbar ki jai echoed few times. there was this calendar depicting Shri Ram Sita, Laxman, Hanuman etc full of many men in Ayodhya,  Darbar of Raja Ram.  That was in 1970s. But as i am living in 2018 with social media all around me, strangely i am turning my head all around to see if i can find any of those beautifull calenders? Sadly i have none of those pictures. Since almost all of those calendars were on paper, they degraded/ torn and later were immersed in flowing rivers. Now a days in age of science and social media we have lost such heritage of Art.

Marriage procession of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati
Satyanarayan- mostly was used when we performed satyanarayan Katha?

Usually, we had this pooja called Satyanarayan ki Katha. That time this picture(above) was placed on a small table decorated with plantain leaves, and table top is decorated with flowers, grains-Rice, a pot filled with water, and covered by Mango leaves. A purohit or pandit ji would come and start a never ending katha(story). that time it was never ending as felt by a child? But eventually it would end and we get to eat fruits, Panjeeri etc. But in between eyes would b full of tears from the smoke coming out from fire of Yajna (Yagya)


there was time when mythology inspired the Art of painting. Many miniature paintings were mostly inspired by Mythology. miniature paintings were not for common man during medieval times. It was an art for rich, kings and nobles or businessmen. In Bengal School of Arts few artists painted miniature inspired painting. They had local subjects and craft is from Folk traditions. NandLal Bose, Jamini Ray there were few from Tagore Family too. That famous BharatMata was also inspired from mythological depiction.

Paintings of Raja Ravi Verma were inspired from mythology too, but the Technic of Oil paintings was European.


birth of Shakuntala- why she was illegitimate child?

This painting(above), I think is of Raja Ravi Verma style. Though Painting is beautifull but the subject is very saddening. The sage shown here is disowning the girl child born only due to him. As a rishi he was supposed to do Tapasya(learning with hardships) but he lost control and had an sexual alliance with this apsara Menaka. This unsafe sexual act bore a child. that might or must have been accepted by both parents. unfortunately she was orphaned. Later renamed as Shakuntala. That rishi(sage) was solely responsible for birth of that girl child. I dont know whether God punished him or not? Why the women (apsara here) is blamed for such acts? The Man-this rishi could have also controlled himself?


Shri Ram & Sita
Shiva family
Lord Shiv Parvati Vivha- marriage of Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiv
Lord Shiv and Parvati Vivah
Lord Shiv Parvati family
Shiv parivar
Vishnu Laxmi and Shiv Parvati
Ganesh is welcomed home
Rajyabhishekh of Raja Ram, probably after returning to Ayodhya

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Two versions of Same theme-Shiv Parvati


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GajaLakshmi, Raja Ravi Verma style


This above is a beautifully framed picture of Shri Ram Durbar or panchayat as mentioned in that photo. Earlier such photo frames were common features in our homes, hanging in tilted form from a nail in walls.

Later when i saw a fat old magazine(Kalyan) kept in the almirah in the pooja room, i was surprised to see many such beautifull paintings on our Indian traditions.


This depicts the sthapna of Lord Shiva by Shri Ram when he reached the shore of Sea, and thus was named as Rameshwaram. Lord of Ram!!

Interestingly Both respected each other.








Varaha Avatar saved Veda from drowning and handed over to Rishi-Sages.



Kalyan was good magazine, anyone who comment or criticize it, must think as in absence of any form of mass media or social media-even Radio-TV such efforts were taken up by few enthusiastic people to create awareness and educate people on various issues. Not just religion. Religion is different from Dharma, It taught various things even on women hygiene, Morality in society, how to behave in a society and as per your dharma-often overlapping with the meaning of Kartavya-Duty?

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Apsara, Indian Sculpture 12th Century


Dancing Celestial India (Uttar Pradesh). Early 12th century. Sandstone. H. 331/2 in. (85.1 cm) Promised Gift of Florence and Herbert Irving (L 1993.88.2) Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC. The contours and richly ornamented surfaces of this celestial attendant to the gods exemplify a stylistic shift away from earlier Gupta-influenced forms. Here the linear play of surface decoration and dramatic contours replace the earlier emphasis on seamless volume and subtle balance. The sculptor has twisted the figure into an extraordinary pose that captures the essence of her dance and seems absolutely believable until one imagines actually trying to turn this way. The jewelry sways and emphasizes her movements, both in the way the necklaces and sashes follow the curves of her body and in the upward thrust of the spiked tips of her crown. The crisp carving of her adornments makes a pleasing contrast with the smooth and rounded surfaces of her flesh. Images of dancing semidivine attendants often appear on the outer walls of Hindu temples. They are placed near the figures of gods to honor the deity, just as actual female dancers honored the gods’ images within the temple.

this is what wiki listed?

But on the Met Museum one line is written?

“Imagine posing as a model for this dancing female figure. You’ll soon realize that this striking pose is anatomically impossible. Yet the sculptor has captured the essence of continuous, whirling motion.”  https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/38153

But in our Indian classical Dance or so to say in other Indian dances there are various pose, Mudras those may seem impossible for west minds? But In many pose/Mudras certain amount of training goes into, before perfecting it. Specially in BharatNatyam, Oddissi dances?


Such are few common pose in or dance and Indian milieu? putting the red crimson red called Sindoor on forehead, that is symbol of Married women? But the way it is executed in dancing movement is something is captured the imagination of many artists. Even dancers also execute this movement with grace. Thus sculptors also put their expertise. Somtimes it is putting eye liner, or putting flower in hair plaits? or decorating head forehead etc. all such movements take shapes in various forms of arts.588c25ae9ce74cd0bc515f921e0d121a7ec453af8b975a1c12f355e1d7b9b0d67c2ca0db002594e468555a5735772632sit69.1_copy (1)C5T4l8mWEAA_aU8Cy5-AkGXcAAew5bCXiWoqgUQAALF8a

Film Pakeezah, MeenaKumari ji
Sunaina Hazari Lala, Kathak


#Museum #InternationalMuseumDay

Bronze siva.pngMuseums have now become multi utility spaces? Museum now hold Talks, Debates, Movies, Documentary screening, Study tours, Walk through History, Researches, Cataloging, Publications, Archaeological important material, Anthropological research, Exhibitions, much more. I think list is still not complete?  So vast is the scope of museums now a days in world? As National Museum started a course for students, i am sure other museums must be doing same.

Earlier when museums were thought it was just as an art gallery for exhibiting, preserving few historical things, mostly excavated or collected paintings, sculptures etc.

Only few people used to visit such places, exhibiting Egyptian mummy, animal specimens.

I had visited few: Lucknow Zoo, there was a small structure housing few Egyptian mummy and few of old vintage portraits. Then i saw Salar Jung Museum on my visit to Hyderabad in 1977 when my father took us on LTC. It is one of the largest museums in the world. largest one-man collection of antiques in the world.  one cannot completely see and be satisfied by one day visit. One clock was famous there, at hour clock rang bell. A horse parade sort of thing happens in clock, with lot of other mysterious things. So everyone inside the museum kept an eye on their clock so that at the decided time they rush to see the clock.

Another striking Big sculpture i saw in white marble, in front it had a woman and at back side of a man. To show this huge mirrors were kept behind that statue.

I saw Mysore palace also it had a beautifull gallery of paintings of Raja Ravi Verma  (Ravan Jatau yudh and Lady with the lamp) and few other artifacts. In Mumbai I saw the Prince of Wales Museum (now it is renamed as chatrapati shivaji museum https://www.csmvs.in )  there i saw a gallery named as museum of natural history? most striking was the King Cobra, i shivered while standing in front of it. It’s hood stood upto few feet above and seemed that it will just strike. So i shifted little bit from its front. Then there was Jehangir Art Gallery on same road, i think? Aquarium of Mumbai was also an attraction.

Actually that day I walked from Gateway of India to masjid bander(?) I don’t know for how long i walked. On the way I saw Prince of Wales Museum, Jehangir Art Gallery, VT Station on my right side. I passed by it, but i could not notice that there is a big railway station inside that building? on the way there was National Gallery of Modern Art? (i thought only one NGMA existed in India, as one is in New Delhi, near India Gate? i did one Art appreciation course at NGMA New Delhi in 1994-95. Then later in life I visited  National Museum at New Delhi it is a life time opportunity to see this museum. It houses treasures of our Indian Heritage. I also got chance to visit Bhopal. I took a trip to see the Shiv Temple at Bhojpal? later i visited Indira Gandhi rashtriya manav sangrahalaya  इन्दिरा गांधी राष्ट्रीय मानव संग्रहालय . This is an open air museum housing types of houses, other things used by tribal community. spread over a large portion of land, one really needs strength to walk around.. In Bhopal Bharat Bhawan is also there i saw many paintings of renowned painters. Works of Mrinalini MUKHERJI ji. I have had heard names of BB Karanth? Vibha Mishra?

While studying i could know about few other places such as a library at #Rampur Raza library started by Nawabs of Rampur. Famous for music traditions, i heard, it had lots of manuscripts of musical importance. Then there was one Khuda Bux library of Patna?

One of the dream place that i wish to visit is Saraswathi Mahal of Tanjore. it is said to house big treasure and truly named as Saraswati, in name of Goddess of learning. On looking at the treasure in National museum Nwd Delhi I could guess about the treasure, the saraswati mahal could be having. So beautifull Tanjore paintings were there in Delhi.

On Doordarshan, i got to know about Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum. He talked about how he collected many specimens of historical importance, most important was Mastani Mahal, That was built by Pehswa Baji Rao for Mastani ji. Kelkar museum has the portion of that mastani mahal.

I also read somewhere that when Prince Albert had to visit India then in Jaipur a building was named as Albert hall jaipur

Till recently i did not know existence of this nice website http://museumsofindia.gov.in/ listing museums of India. Instead i used to look wiki link on museums  to know about museums of India.  Now due to internet of things? I can see whole world?  The National Gallery of Victoria  , Cleveland museum. Met Museum, now Google Arts & Culture is there.

following are some of the Gems of Sculpture, Art Architecture etc from India. just scroll down. See and appreciate great Art of India, and largely kept preserved due to Museums, Gallery and pvt collections. Many of such diamonds of our Art had been looted outside of India.

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Bull at Indus Valley civilization

I had written earlier about this dancing girl statue of Indus Valley Civilization click on link to read?

Dancing girl of Indus Valley civilization @NMDelhi
BUDDH Gandhara style
Ganga? at @NMNewDelhi

Chola Dynasty saw the highest standard of metal works, using the lost wax technique.

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Below: Parvati, 10th century, Metropolitan museum of Art, NYC


Both pictures below looked similar? thus kept together










Chola period (880-1279), early 11th century, Rockefeller 3rd Collection of Asian Art, Asia Society


Natraj, the supreme Art of chola dynasty


Not only Metal craft but Indian Art had high standards of Sculptures in Stone.

Many temples and caves carving are not available since they have been destroyed

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Above: Female Tree Deity or called as Shalbhanjika, c. 973 Rajasthan, Sikar, Harshagiri, 10th century cleveland museum of Art   I name it as Apsara.




Queen Sembiyan Mahadevi as the Goddess Parvati Chola dynasty, 10th century India Freer Gallery of Art, Washington DC

Queen Sembiyan Mahadevi as the Goddess Parvati Chola dynasty, 10th century India Freer Gallery of Art, Washington DC

I cannot say if there is any other icon similar to or near to this statue in Metal (Bronze?) anywhere else in world. so perfectly modeled in that century.










लगाई आऊँ नैनों में कजरा puting eyeliner?  Khajuraho

There is no parallel to the sculpture of Hoyasala? created in temples,  Karnatak? (below)

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one side India had highest standards of statue/Sculpture art, other side there was Paintings

Bani Thani of KishanGarh
Lord Shiv, chola bronze
बजे पायल निगोड़ी





CholaBronze 1
Devi, Chola Bronze


Chola and Pallava bronze statues (9th to 13th century AD). Bronze Gallery, Pantheon Complex. Chennai




efe592b6884f5e67c8a9d6d2dad1e379images (1) see incredible minute detailing that too in metal works, these were created by using Lost Wax method. Imagine how difficult it would have been.



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deogarh UP dasavtar

The top part of this band is cut-off with the fitting of Ganga mounted on makara on proper left.

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below is Chola Bronze, sculpture of Goddess Parvati. Similar is of Bhoodevi at LACMA


Krishna killing Kaliya serpent, Bronze, may be from Sundaraperumalkoil
Ganesh, 8th century

Many places have become open art gallery or museum. As more and more excavations are done more treasure is unearth? but few places-monuments that were unrecognised earlier are now have become famous. Deogarh, Bhitargaon Temple, Stupa, few caves, Ajanta Ellora, Elephanta, Badami caves etc. they house treasure of our arts.

Vishnu Lying on Cosmic Waters, Gupta Period, Vishnu Temple, Deogarh c.530 CE.


All thanx to our Museums And Art Galleries.

All must visit such places any where or near you live, to know about our glorious past.

Matrika (Mother Goddess) Mid-6th century.  Gray schist,  Metropolitan Museum of Art


Celestial Beauty (Surusandri) 11th century Marble,  Metropolitan Museum of Art


#SarangDev; #SangeetRatnakar; Span of #IndianClassicalMusic;

Sarang Dev wrote Sangeet Ratnakar. Sarang Dev compiled knowledge known (or available) prior to him such as Nāţyaśāstra, Dattilam, Bŗhaddēśī, Sarasvatī-hŗdayālańkāra-hāra and ideas of Abhinavagupta on Nāţyaśāstra. He wrote about ancient scholars such as Bharata, Matanga, Dattila and Narada paying homage.


Strange is that how in that age where mode of communication were supposed to be none as compared to present times. He managed to study works of Abhinavagupta who lived in Kashmir? SarangDev though belonged to family of Kashmiri Brahmins but still while living in Devagiri he studied Abhinavgupta. This shows how big was our knowledge base and was scattered across the geographical boundaries from Plateau of Pamir to Kanyakumari or Kucth or Patliputra in Magadh.

SarangDev(1175–1247) (शार्ङ्गदेव) was working in court of Singhana I of Devagiri of Yadaya dynasty(13th century). Amazing thing is that he was working as an Accountant, but he perused his passion Music!!

If these yadavas were claimed to be from Kannad background, Kannada language was used in their courts but along with Sanskrit and Marathi then the works of SarangDev in Sanskrit might have got appreciation of rulers also. As He was on payroll of yadava kings and if he wrote something that does not suited to the ruler, how can we imagine that work (Sangeet Ratnakar) could still survived? Thus this work on Sangeet Ratnakar might have got sanction of Ruler Singhana II. Incidenlty the Yadava rulers were also said to have built Jain Cave temples at Ellora?

There is another treatise on Indian Classical Music written in the times of Yadava dynasty of Devagiri, by Haripaladeva, the Sangeetasudhakara. First time this bifurcated Indian classical music as Hindustani Music and Carnatic Music.

Sangeet Ratnakar classifies sangeet into two kinds: Marga-sangita and Desi-sangīita. Marga refers to the classical techniques taught by Bharata in Natya Shastra. Desi Sangita refers to regional improvisations that may not follow the classical rules and structure for the music and performance arts. Many of our elder musicians who were hard core classical musicians followed Marga Sangeet.

but if regional traditions is to be belived then question comes as if the Maand singing as was prevalent in Rajasthan would be called classical or Deshi Sangeet? Maand Kokila Allah Jilai Bai of Bikaner sang most famous Maand Kesariya Balam, Padharo Mhare Desh

According to Sarngadeva’s verses 27-30 of the section 1.1, song is everywhere, in the cry of a baby, in the beats of nature, in the pulse of life, in every human act of DharmaArthaKama and Moksha.

The sections 3 through 8 of the first chapter describe nada(sound), svara(tone), Sruti (microinterval) gramas(primary scales), murcchanas(derivativescales), Varna (Color), Jati(Mode), Alankara (Embellishment), giti (Singing styles), meters and other musical concepts.

what you think? #Sculpture from Kashmir


just see this image. Is it really from Kashmir?
its not just beautifull sculpture but it is proof of hard work, high standards of Art, metal art? prevalent in our India centuries ago. During the time of invaders lots of arts, knowledge have been lost. Many arts have become extinct.

[tag art, sculpture, kashmir, metal work]

Splendour of India #Bithoor #Kanpur 

Bithoor, Kanpur Uttar Pradesh

When I saw this beautiful gate I was speechless. Stood there just admiring this magnificent majestic artistic creation. I forgot that it was noon time in month of April and anyone can imagine the heat, temperature during summer times in Kanpur. It is Nice example of Indian Architecture. How much time, patience, hard work might have gone into building this? I forgot hot scorching sun over my head.  I was just standing and watching this building.

Many intricate carvings are very beautiful.

Gate carving #bithoor #kanpur

See this detail of carving on gate.

Details on gate. Ganesh and two palaks
Goddess Ganga or a deity on Alligator with a pot in hand

I presume this is Goddess Ganga on top of gate. As Aligator मगर वाहन is prominently present there. In one hand deity is holding a pot may be it is Ganga jal गंगाजल or Amrit अमृत. But on second look the statue doesnt look like a goddess? is it Vishnu? or Kuber? but since it is riding on an Aligator?

Over time such beautiful buildings are crumbling, partly due to neglect, ignorance, lack of resources either financial or commitment. In era of commercialization where even family relations or bonds are neglected how can we presume that our rich tradition of art can be given priority?

As tempo reaches near the river bank it halted just few metres before Pathar ghat in Bithoor, Some problem in engine was noticed by driver. We were disembarke. Just as I turned to my left there stood this magnificent remainent of a beautiful building.  It’s obvious with intricate design on whole of building that it was work of passion dedication but now a picture of neglect. I don’t think this will be there in coming time. I don’t know how to save it. But I just clicked it to save it’s sight in my camera.

 It has the famous symbol of two fish, much prevalent in Awadh area. This is considered auspicious. But I thought whether such symbol could have been made on a religious building such as Temple. Or it was an official building? It could have been a residential building also. I will certainly try to know on my next trip to Bithoor, Kanpur. It was made from the smaller bricks. Such bricks and still smaller than this were prevalent in that time. Often called as गिट्टी ईंट Gitti. The plaster was applied on outer surface. It was so good that seeing it can’t be guessed whether inside are these Gitti bricks. I had heard the masala mix had urad dal, methi-fenugreek in it so as to make it binding. I dont know why that brick was called as lakhauri?

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Below is a burj kind of thing, standing over there i could see large span of River Ganga (Ganges), it’s bank, people dipping in water, people performing pooja-whole bank of river was full of people. So much devotion-faith people had for River Mother Goddess Ganga. Inspite of scorching hot temperature people gathered on the river bank.

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Pathar ghat Bithoor

This point when i stood there, i could imagine dancing on this chatri

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This building in white colour is a resting place for pilgrims, visiting Bithoor. built by a talukedar-raja Tikait Rai, as written-mentioned on this board. Tikait rai pond is also i heard in Lucknow near to it one of my uncle lives. In those times patrons-rulers etc used to build such places for pilgrims by act of this they tried to earn -Punya पुन्य   as concept of पाप & पुन्य was prevalent. Now days term CSR is making round-Corporate Social Responsibility-as it is called.


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3224722_fort--bithoorThis is seen when you walk through the Memorial built at Bithoor, This is said to be the portion of the Palace of Peshwa. He was referred as Maharaja in Bithoor and surrounding villages. This nice piece of Palace is just going to ruin.

20170426_100457Bank of River Ganga whom we address mother Ganga offers a place where hordes of people gather and perform many rituals. Aged old tradition are followed by people. They come from far off places to perform rituals. This is photo when I went with a family to perform the ritual Mundan, Hair removing for the first time of a child. Such occasions offer many opportunities of livelihood, employment generation to the locals and as well as people from various adjoining places. They come here in hope of earning something while people gather to perform religious social rituals at such bank of rivers. This is Bithoor.


Shiv Temple at Pathar Ghat, Bithoor, Kanpur on bank of river Ganga
PatharGhat at Bithoor, Kanpur
A building near the Pathar Ghat, Bithoor, Kanpur
Gate craving at the dharmasala built by  Raja Tikait Rai at Bithoor, Kanpur for pilgrims
Gate of dharamsala Sarai built by Raj Tikait Rai of Lucknow- Awadh at Bithoor, Kanpur
Rani Laxmi Bai of Jhansi