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Mural Paintings And Frescoes

Punjab mural paintings and frescos are known for their brilliant designs and excellent finish. There are numerous types of mural paintings seen at famous tourist places in villages and cities of Punjab. These murals and frescos often have images of animals, village scenes, and highlight the events from lives of famous personalities. Traditionally, Punjabis have had a taste for beauty and art probably because of Punjab is blessed by an abundance of natural beauty and also because of it is primarily an agrarian society.

Punjabi murals were first seen during the Mughal rule. However, the history of mural paintings can be traced to the first century AD. The murals seen in Ajanta and Ellora caves are proof of the fact that they were in existence for a long time in Indian culture. As they gained in popularity, the Kings and rulers of those times began using them for decorating palaces and forts.

In Punjab, the art form of mural paintings got more prominence during the reign of Akbar. Even Sultans of North India gave lot of encouragement to this form of painting despite the Islamic religion being averse to depicting of human beings through paintings. There are evidences of murals and frescoes in Mughal palaces with that distinct Punjabi touch which points towards encouragement of the art during Mughal rule.

Examples of Murals and Frescoes from the Mughal Period

Some of the oldest murals created during Mughal rule depict scenes and lifestyle of the rulers of those times. The paintings show parties, scenes from the Harem and also of some members of the royal family. One of the famous frescoes of those times depicts the Rangmahal in all its colorful glory. The Rangmahal was built by Shah Jahan in the year 1630. Another famous painting is one on the tomb of Pirbandi Nakshawala. The Hindu temple at Sat Sai in Gurgaon built during Mughal reign also has stunningly beautiful and sharply designed colorful flowers.

The fresco form of mural art painting was done when the paint was still wet. The most famous works involving fresco designs is still alive and fresh in the Tarn Taran Durbar Sahib. It was also seen in Baba Atal Rai Shrine in Amritsar. The life story of the first Guru of Sikhs, Guru Nanak Dev has been captured using frescos on the walls and ceiling of first floor of the shrine.

How Were Murals and Fresco Paintings Created

A sketch was first drawn on a thick paper with charcoal or pencil. The portion of the wall to be painted was then dampened with water and covered with pora or lime plaster. A thick layer of doga made of burnt and wet marble was then applied over the plaster. When the Doga was still wet, the intended design was transferred on it through perforation process which involved sprinkling of charcoal dust over the design. Once the design was copied on the wet plaster, carefully chosen colors were filled into the by using a small wooden shovel called nehta. All the shades were prepared using natural materials. More coatings were given on the wet colors for a perfect finish.

Types of Mural Paintings

Mural paintings have different shapes and patterns. They can be seen in panel style in which designs and created within square or rectangular panels. The corners are usually highlighted with brilliant contrasting colors for a more spectacular effect. Repetitive style is another form of painting and generally used on columns and cornice surfaces. Flower designs are used in a repetitive pattern to cover large surface areas. The Spread Style consists of star shaped designs combined with floral patterns and is usually seen on ceilings.

Some of the Best Frescos and Mural Painting Works in Punjab

Visitors to Punjab can enjoy some of the best representations of this form of art in the Qila Androon museum situated in Patiala. They are the creations of renowned artists from Kangra and Rajasthan. The paintings depict stories from the Hindu epic of Ramayana and Mahabharata and other popular chapters of Indian history. The Sheesh Mahal here also has some of the best depictions of mural paintings and frescos. They show scenes from the poetry of great writers of Punjab such as Surdas, Keshav Das and others. The flowery designs are typical of the work from the reign of Emperor Jahangir.

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