India is an ancient cultural country with the famous painting of India.

India had always been known as the land that portrayed cultural and traditional vibrancy through its conventional arts and crafts.

The 35 states and union territories sprawled across the country have their own distinct cultural and traditional identities and are displayed through various forms of art prevalent there.

Every region in India has its own style and pattern of art, which is known as folk art.

The folk and tribal arts of India are very ethnic and simple, yet colorful and vibrant enough to speak volumes about the country’s rich heritage.

Folk art in India apparently has great potential in the international market because of its traditional aesthetic sensibility and authenticity.

The rural folk paintings of India bear distinctive colorful designs, which are treated with religious and mystical motifs.

Folk art expresses cultural identity by conveying shared community values and aesthetics.

It encompasses a range of utilitarian and decorative media, including cloth, wood, paper, clay, metal and other items which are quite popular among foreign tourists because of their ethnic and traditional beauty.

Famous folk painting of India

Some of the most famous folk paintings of India are the Madhubani paintings of Bihar, Patachitra paintings from the state of Odisha, Phad Paintings of Rajasthan, Kalamkari of Andhra Pradesh, Pichhvai Paintings of Rajasthan, Warli Paintings of Maharashtra, Nirmal paintings of Andhra Pradesh, Aipan of Uttarakhand, Pithoro paintings of Gujarat, Gond and Mandana Paintings of Madhya Pradesh, Kalighat paintings of Calcutta and many more forms. Some of these tribal folk paintings are discussed below.

Hence, there is a unique fusion of folk art in art and culture.

Folk art is a mirror of the folk cultural traditions of any region or place.


Folk painting of India

Pass from generation to generation among the tribes and tribes of any region or place.  Let’s discuss this below.

1. Madhubani Painting

Madhubani Painting
Madhubani Painting







One famous folk painting of India is the Madhubani painting, also the Mithila painting.

It originates from the Mithila region in Bihar, India, and has a rich cultural and historical significance.

Madhubani painting is its vibrant colors and intricate designs.

It often depicts themes from mythology, nature, and daily life.

The paintings are by natural dyes and pigments, and the artists use a variety of techniques such as freehand drawing, dotting, and cross-hatching.

It is a prominent painting of the Mithilanchal regions like Darbhanga in Bihar, Madhubani, and Nepal and a Famous painting of India.

However, Jitwarpur village in the Madhubani district is the main center of this folk painting.

But In the early days, this painting developed into a rangoli,  later this art gradually descended into modern forms on clothes, walls, and paper. 

Firstly  Women of Mithila painted this painting.

Later men also started this painting.

Madhubani paintings are of two types – mural painting and aripan or alpana.

It is a custom to make it at three special places in the house.

For example, the place of worship, the Kohbar Room (in the room of the married), and on the house’s outer walls at weddings or any special celebration. 

However, The Gods and Goddesses depicted in Madhubani paintings are Maa Durga, Kali, Sita-Rama, Radha-Krishna, Shiva-Parvati, Gauri-Ganesha, and the ten avatars of Vishnu, etc.

Mahasundari Devi Madhubani is a famous artist of painting.

2. Pattachitra Art

‘Patta’ means ‘cloth’.

This is also a traditional painting of Odisha and a famous painting of India.

This painting depicts scenes related to the lives of Subhadra, Balarama, Lord Jagannath, Dashavatar, and Krishna.

Pattachitra is a traditional art form from the state of Odisha in eastern India.

The name “Pattachitra” is from two Sanskrit words “Patta” meaning cloth or canvas, and “Chitra” meaning picture or painting.

As the name suggests, Pattachitra involves painting on cloth or palm leaf.

Pattachitra paintings are known for their intricate details, vibrant colors, and elaborate compositions.

They often depict mythological stories, religious themes, folk tales, and cultural narratives.

The paintings typically feature divine figures like Lord Krishna, Lord Jagannath, Goddess Durga, and scenes from the Mahabharata and Ramayana epics.

More about Pattachitra

The process of creating Pattachitra involves several steps.

First, a cloth or palm leaf is prepared by coating it with a mixture of chalk and gum made from tamarind seeds.

Once the surface is ready, the artist outlines the design using a fine brush or a pencil-like tool called a “kalam.”

The outlines are then filled in with vibrant colors derived from natural sources, such as minerals, vegetables, and plants.

The artists also use gold and silver foils to add a touch of opulence and brilliance to the paintings.

Pattachitra artists are skilled craftsmen who have inherited this art form through generations.

They follow traditional techniques and styles, using delicate brushwork, intricate patterns, and meticulous detailing.

The paintings often have a narrative quality, with multiple scenes or panels depicting different parts of a story.

Pattachitra is not just limited to paintings on cloth or palm leaf.

The art form has expanded to include other mediums like murals, masks, and even decorative objects.

Pattachitra continues to thrive as a living tradition, with artists preserving its essence and exploring new expressions within the art form.

The intricate craftsmanship, cultural significance, and aesthetic beauty of Pattachitra have made it a renowned art form both in India and internationally.

It serves as a visual representation of the rich cultural heritage of Odisha and contributes to the diverse folk art traditions of India.

3. Pithora Painting

It is a traditional painting of the Rathwas of Gujarati and the people of the Bhil tribe.

It is more than ritual.

Pithora painting is a traditional folk art form that originated in the state of Gujarat, India.

It is primarily practiced by the Rathwa tribe, who are known for their vibrant and intricate artwork.

Pithora paintings are associated with ritualistic and ceremonial purposes. They are traditionally created on the walls of houses, particularly in the worship area or village gathering places. These paintings are made to invoke blessings, prosperity, and protection for the community.

The central theme of Pithora paintings revolves around the worship of Pithora Dev, a deity who is believed to bring rain, fertility, and good fortune. The paintings depict various elements such as horses, deities, human figures, birds, animals, and nature motifs. The use of vibrant colors, bold lines, and intricate detailing is characteristic of Pithora art.

More about Pithora art

The process of creating Pithora paintings involves a collaborative effort within the community. The main artist, called the “mukhiya,” sketches the outline of the painting, while other members of the community fill in the colors and details. The paintings are made using natural pigments, such as colored soil, charcoal, and plant extracts. Brushes made from animal hair are typically used for painting.

Pithora paintings often depict scenes from folklore, mythology, and everyday village life. The compositions are dynamic and visually striking, with elements arranged in a harmonious and balanced manner. These paintings are believed to have a spiritual significance and are created during specific festivals or rituals.

In recent years, Pithora paintings have gained recognition beyond Gujarat, and artists have started creating them on canvas and paper for a wider audience. This has helped in preserving and promoting this unique folk art form.

Pithora painting is not just a visual art form but also an integral part of the cultural heritage of the Rathwa tribe. It reflects their beliefs, rituals, and way of life, making it a significant contribution to the folk art traditions of India

4. Kalamkari Painting

‘Kalamkari’ literally means pictures made with a pen. It is a type of handicraft.

In which print with colored blocks on fabric.

Using penmanship is for both art and fabric.

This art is in Machilipatnam and Krishna district in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India.

5. Kalighat Painting

This painting origin in the Kalighat temple in Kolkata in the 19th century.

You see the characters of Hindu deities and traditional kimvadantis.

In ancient times, the painters of this art used to depict various gods and goddesses through this art by singing to the people in pat paintings.

 painters depict scenes based on the Ramayana, Mahabharata, and other kimvadantis in long papers and sing and explain the illustration.

Buddha’s various postures and hand signs and their meanings

6. Floor painting 

 The ancient cultural tradition and folk art of India. Different states have different names.

It is with dry and natural colors on auspicious occasions like festivals, fasts, puja, festive marriages, etc.

7. Warli’s painting

Another famous folk painting style from India is the Warli painting.

Warli art is native to the Warli tribe in Maharashtra and Gujarat.

These paintings are done on mud walls and are created using basic geometric shapes like circles, triangles, and squares.

The figures in Warli’s paintings are usually stick-like human figures engaged in activities like dancing, farming, and celebrating festivals.

The name of this painting belongs to a small tribal class living in the tribal state of Maharashtra and a famous painting of India.

On the floors and walls of tribal houses, Worli paintings draw.

Places of worship such as Gond and Kol.

Trees, birds, males, and females together make a Worli picture perfection. Tribal women draw this painting.

The content of these paintings is predominantly religious.

Made using simple and local objects such as rice Lehi and gum of local vegetables.

Different color backgrounds through geometric shapes such as square, triangular and circular. goes.

The daily life of animals, birds, and people is also a partial form of the content of pictures.

Unlike other tribal art types, the Worli painting does not promote religious images and thus presents a more secular form.

8. Thangka painting

The painting is based on the life of Lord Buddha.

This painting is an exemplary example of Indian, Nepali, and Tibetan culture.

It Shows Tibetan religion, culture, and philosophical values.

9. Tanjore painting

Tanjore’s painting has a very rich heritage.

It is the local art form of the city of Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu.

The pattern of art flourished in Thanjavur, the capital of the Chola dynasty, and has since gained such a name as Tanjore painting.

 Tanjore’s painting is essentially religious and spiritual.

The art is famous for its artistic depiction of mythological characters and subjects.

For example, the Brihadeeswarar temple has many paintings of Chola murals and Tanjore paintings in the form of hero paintings.

Even the Maratha palace is an ideal place to see these paintings.

Features of Tanjore painting

They are famous for their rich colors, external richness, and narrow works of art.

Tanjore paintings with precious stones, pieces of glass, and gold.

To incorporate the 3D effect, painters use limestone.

The paintings use canvas made of wood and cloth.

Tanjore’s painting comes in three finishes: Classic, Stamped, and Extraordinary.

Use high-quality 22-carat gold foil.

The pillars, dresses, arches, and throne of the Tanjore paintings are with gold leaves and gems of various colors.

Next, colors are on the sketch.

Use Dark brown for the outline.

Red background color but sometimes green is also used.

Earlier artists used natural colors made from vegetable dyes.

Departments of old Tanjore paintings were limited to pictures of divine figures.

But nowadays modern artists explore new dimensions.

They also begin depicting the presiding deities of famous temples.

Types of Tanjore Painting

Thanjavur temples can be divided according to dynasties.

For example, murals came into prominence under the Chola rule.

As time paved the way for the rise of the Nayak dynasty, the limelight came into the hero paintings.

These paintings carried forward the aesthetic tradition of Vijayanagara art.

The Tanjore paintings once again modified themselves under Maratha’s rule.

However, The Marathas continued the heroine tradition of patronage.

There are several stages involved in making a Tanjore painting.

The first floor contains a depiction of the initial sketch of the image.

The base is made of a fabric, which is affixed to a wooden board.

10. Mugal painting

Mughal period paintings included events, paintings and court life scenes, hunting scenes, and examples of wildlife and fighting.

The theme of the Mughal painting

Mughal painting has a great variety, including portraits, scenes, court-life events, paintings depicting lovers in intimate places, etc.

It often revolves around themes such as battles, mythological stories, hunting scenes, wildlife, and royal life.

These paintings have also become an important medium for narrating long stories of Mughal emperors, mythology, etc.

Development of Mughal painting

However, Aurangzeb did not care much for the growth and development of Mughal paintings.

Nevertheless, Mughal paintings in India continued with some assistance from other patrons.

Gradually, due to less support, a decline began during Mughal paintings in India.

During the reign of Muhammad Shah, there was a small resurgence in Mughal paintings.

However, with the coming of Shah Alam II to power, the Mughal art form was already extinct and another form of painting began to develop in the form of Rajput paintings.

Today, miniature Mughal paintings by some artists in Rajasthan, mainly in Jaipur.

Although many miniatures have good copies of their origins, various artists have developed modern works, sometimes using classic methods, with excellent artistic effects.

11. Rajput painting

Rajput painting, also known as Rajasthani painting.

Developed and flourished in the royal courts of Rajputana in India.

Each Rajputana kingdom developed a distinct style but with some general characteristics.

The Rajput paintings depict many themes and epic events such as the Ramayana.

The placing of miniatures in manuscripts or single sheets in albums was a favorite medium of Rajput painting.

but many illustrations were made on the walls of palaces, the inner chambers of the forts, and the Havelis, particularly the construction of Shekhawati’s Havelis, forts, and palaces of Shekhawat.

Colors were extracted from certain minerals, plant sources, shells of conch shells, and even derived by processing precious stones.

Gold and silver were used.

The preparation of the desired colors was a long process, sometimes taking 2 weeks.

The brushes used were very good.

12. Gond painting

Gond painting is a form of painting of folk and tribal art and a famous painting of India.

While Gond paintings are believed to be mainly from Madhya Pradesh, it is also quite common in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, and Odisha.

Art has become so potent that the Indian government has stepped in to preserve their art for generations to enjoy.

Gond art is a tribal art form developed by the Gond tribe of central India.

The art is basically based on the hills, rivers, and forests in which the Gonds reside.

It is done in honor of festivals.

Moreover, this originated from an attempt to record folk and tribal stories, which were sung by poets and singers.

The Gonds traditionally painted on the mud walls of their houses.

Jungarh Singh Shyam was the first one to use paper and canvas.

His talent was soon recognized, and his work was displayed throughout the country.

13. Mysore Painting

Mysore painting continues to be highly regarded and sought after by art collectors and enthusiasts. It represents the rich cultural heritage of Karnataka and showcases the artistic skills and craftsmanship of the Mysore region.  

14. Phad Painting

15. Kerala mural painting 

16. Aippan Painting

Aepan’ or Aipan or Alpana is an art that has a special place in all Kumaoni homes.

The word “Aepan’ is a derivative of ‘Arpan’.

A common word for it is “Likhai” (writing), although it is a pattern made with the fingers.

Aepan is also a ritual design for Pujas, festivals, and ceremonies connected with birth, janeu (the sacred thread ceremony), marriage, and death.

In Aipan the walls, papers, and pieces of cloth are with drawings of various geometric and other figures belonging to gods, goddesses, and objects of nature.

Pichhauras or dupattas are also decorated in this manner.

At the time of Harela, there was a tradition of making clay idols (Dikaras).

The raw material used is a simple ochre (Geru) color and rice paste.

It is mostly women who paint the designs on the floors and walls of their homes using the last three fingers of the right hand.

Once the ochre base is ready the artist draws the pattern free hand.

Chowkies are made with mango wood and painted with special designs for each occasion.

Pattas and tapas are directly on the walls or on paper and cloth.

17. Nirmal paintings 

Nirmal Paintings are in the Nirmal town which lies in the Adilabad District of AP, The Nirmal Art is acknowledged all across the state.

The community of craftsmen “Nakash” lives here.

They are engaged in Nirmal arts, in which pictures from legendary Hindu epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata are painted.

These craftsmen utilize indigenous colors that are made from herbs, gums, and minerals. Nowadays the gold found in these paintings is extracted from herbal juices.

18. Pichwai painting

Pichwai painting is an art form that has its roots in Rajasthan and more precisely in Nathwara. It means ‘at the back’ so these paintings are basically used as decorative curtains/backdrops in Shrinathji temples and Krishna temples in Rajasthan. These cloth hangings are considered very sacred and devotees offer these cloth hangings in temples and take them back home as souvenirs as well. These paintings are known to have more details and are more polished and pure than Phad paintings which are another form of paintings in Rajasthan but are very similar to Pichvai.

19. Mandana Paintings 

The art of creating designs on the floor during the festive occasion is the tradition of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh and the art is known as Mandana paintings. It consists of geometrical designs originating from eastern Rajasthan, particularly in Bundi and Jhalawar areas. In this, the ground is prepared with cow dung mixed with rati, a local clay, and red ochre. Lime and chalk powder are used for making the motifs. The architectural motifs in Mandana art are made by first plotting the points. A set of three points are plotted to make an equilateral triangle. There are smaller motifs used in the paintings.

20. Pithora painting

Pithora is a highly ritualistic painting done on the walls by several tribes such as the Rathwas and Bhilalas who live in central Gujarat,  in a  village of  Vadodara called Tejgadh.

The Pithora is a folk art form originating from an ancient ritualistic tradition of mural paintings initiated within tribal beliefs and customs.

The Rathwa, Bhil, and Nayak Adivasi communities revere this art form though it is always members of the Rathwa community who are the traditional painters and storytellers as Pithora Dev is their principal deity presiding over every aspect of their existence.

These paintings have significance in their lives and executing the Pithora paintings in their homes brings peace, prosperity, and happiness.

What is even more interesting is that there is never an attempt to imitate nature.

A horse or a bull, which might be a vision of a God, impresses him with only one central quality.

This central quality is also upon and given a form.



These are just a few examples of the diverse and rich folk painting traditions in India. Each region has its unique styles, techniques, and themes, reflecting the cultural diversity and artistic heritage of the country.

India is marked by its rich traditional heritage of Tribal/Folk Arts and Culture.

The folk paintings have a rich heritage.

Without folk paintings, there is no identity of culture in human life as well as occasion will be incomplete.

Folk paintings give aesthetical feelings and remind us about native life through their colorful line drawings.

Further commercialization of these tribal paintings creates a new source of non-agricultural income as these have achieved eminence in the national and international art market.

Demands of Indian art

Due to the growing demands of the crafts internationally, different organizations encourage artists to produce their traditional paintings on handmade paper for commercial sale.

Office of Development Commissioner (Handicrafts) Ministry of Textile. The government of India and other agencies are also working and supporting genuine craft artists directly by arranging various exhibitions, skill-oriented pieces of training, organizing and inviting artists to market events, and providing incentives and awards to artists for their work.

Read more about

Folk Painting of Chhattisgarh

Source of article

You might also enjoy:

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *