Art forms in Haryana

Art forms in Haryana

Sculpture  of Art forms in Haryana Rock and stone were the most common subjects for the development of art, right from the Maurya period to Harshavardhana to the Mughals and the British. Gods formed the basis of sculpture all over India, including Haryana. Sculptures in Art forms in Haryana were concentrated around central and northern parts and were basically religious in content.  Art forms in Haryana

Besides rock and stone, sandstone was widely used, be it green, buff, gray or black However, the Mughals put a stop to carving idols and images out of rock as this was against the very basis of Islam. They went a step further, destroying temples and any such figure, which crossed their path.

Main Themes  of sculpture of Art forms in Haryana

The various incarnations of Lord Vishnu along with other Hindu gods and goddesses provided the inspiration to sculptors to carve out beautiful images. Besides characters from Hindu mythology, Jain images from the Pratihara period (9th century) have also been found, all made of sandstone. The Buddha also surfaces once in a while, like in Rohtak where he was found seated cross-legged on a lotus pedestal and made entirely of gray stone.   A figure of Vishnu found in Kurukshetra is a remarkable piece of art, showing the four- armed god, gracefully reclining on the coils of Anantnag, the many-headed snake. This stone figure was probably made in the 10th century AD. Besides the images of Hindu gods and goddesses, Jain images from the Pratihara period (9th century) have also been found.


Haryana was always a rendezvous for various tribes, invaders, races, cultures and faiths, going right back to BC 2500, and it witpaintingsnessed the merging of numerous styles of painting.  While references to paintings are to be found of the Aryan period, art actually flourished during the reign of the Guptas (5th century BC to 6th century AD). However, these are mostly concentrtated in southern India, and nothing close to such magnificent art is to be found in Art forms in Haryana.  Discoveries of earthen ware and designs painted on them in black and white in Siswal district in Haryana are the first impressions of art in this state.  Mitathal and Banwali districts have also revealed that art did exist here, but definitely on a much smaller scale than that of the Deccan and southern India. The drawings are mainly in horizontal and vertical lines, with a little more creativity allotted to floral art. During Harsha’s reign art and painting received special attention for some time as the king himself was a painter of sorts.  After Harsha’s death, painting flourished for a while under the Rajputs, but the establishment of the Delhi Sultanate put an end to this.

The Sultans had no love for art – they were busy fighting wars and battles and never did patronise painters. The Mughal empire was different, and art reached its zenith during this time. Jahangir was a patron of art, and during his reign the influence of the Persian painting style was happily married to the Indian style.  However, all that was happening in Delhi, and Haryana was conveniently left out in the cold. There were rich jagirdars who liked paintings, and they engaged artisans and painters to do up their houses; celings, walls, the works.  Temples were another area where the painter got to work, decorating everything within reach with landscapes, dances, hunting expeditions, wrestling bouts, birds, bees, and love scenes. Come the 18th century, and the Rewaris made sure that painters got enough work, albeit under a Rajput style.  The god Krishna was a big hit in the villages – walls, doors, windows all bore his likeness with the Mughal and Kangra styles merging with the Rajput style.  The walls of the palace of Maharaja Tej Singh in Mirpur in Gurgaon is adorned with paintings, following the Rajput pattern. The patterns on the walls express scenes from the Ramayana. The Matru Mad ki Paio in Gurgaon features mythological paintings, but these are slowly fading away.  The Asthal Bohar paintings are also in the Rajput style, and their influence can be seen even in the Shiva temples in Panchkula and Pinjore, Venumadhava temple in Kaul, the temples in Kaithal and Pabnama, the Kapil temple in Kilayat and the Sarsainth temple in Sirsa. The Rang Mahal in Pinjore is also decorated with wall paintings, an originality straight from the hands of Mughal painters. The samadhas of Lala Balk Ram and Lala Jamuna Das in Jagadhari in Ambala are famous for their walls paintings from Hindu mythology. The entrances to both are flanked by heavily painted dwarapalas.

The Rajiwala temple near the samadhas also boasts of religious themes in its paintings. Its walls, cells and verandah have been subjected to the Jain style, while the Qila Mubarak, a two-storeyed Mughal structure is embellished with images of birds and flowers.  Kurukshetra’s Bhadri Kali temple has religious themes and frescos running throughout its structure, with a broad frieze bordering the lower end. The second storey is covered with murals, as is the haveli (house) of Rani Chand Kaur in Pehowa, the temple of Shri Ram Radha in Pehowa and the temple of Baba Shrawan Nath. In fact, you’ll find similar paintings in temples and holy Hindu places throughout Haryana.  The Persian style infused with script also gains prominence, especially with murals in which the Persian script is freely used. Elaborate detail forms the central theme within which verses from the Koran are written in various flowing styles, following the calligraphy method.  Mughal paintings also seeped into Hindu temples, especially in Kaithal, Kalayat and Rohtak. Here too, the subject matter is lifted right out of mythology and carry moral and spiritual messages.  In Rohtak paintings have been found which are now in possession of the Manuscripts Department of Kurukshetra University. Liberal use of blue, pink, green, orange and red enhance the beauty of these paintings which are of the Lord Vishnu and his incarnations.

Embrodiery &Weaving

Art forms in Haryana is quite famous for its woven work, be it shawls, dhurries, robes or lungis.  The Haryana shawl, an offshoot of the shawl from Kashmir, is a work of art in itself. Known as phulkari, it is a spectacular piece of clothing, full of magnificent colours and intricate embroidery. Worn with with a tight-fitting choli (blouse) and ghagra (long skirt), it forms the basic winter wear for the women of Haryana.  A deviation from the phulkari is the bagh (garden). In this case, the entire cloth is covered with embroidery inasmuch that the base cloth is hardly seen.

Visual Art forms in Haryana

Haryana being an agricultural state, women also work with men in the fields; hence crafts have not evolved into art forms and remain rooted to their original usage. Nevertheless, the arts and crafts never cease to fascinate the true art connoisseurs.  Art and craft of Haryana mainly covers the range of pottery, embroidery and weaving. Colourful Phulkari dupatta of Haryana is famous in India and abroad. Art and craft of Haryana also include sculpture and murals both of Persian and Mughal style. Woven furniture, artistic sheet metal work, wooden bead making, zari & tilla jutti (leather footwear), lace work, bone carving, wood carving are some of the artistic craft that Haryana is known for.  Panipat in Haryana is famous for its handloom tradition, especially rugs and upholstery fabric that is the reason why it is known as a major textile town in India.  Haryana is famous for two types of woven furniture Mudhas (round stools) and chairs made of sarkanda (a reed) from Farookh Nagar and pidhis from Soniepat which are essentially wooden stools with seat woven in cotton threads or sutli.  One of the interesting items made at Jhijjar is pitcher made from clay. Interestingly, the clay gives a sweet taste to the water stored in the pitcher.

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