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One of the strongest features of the rich and varied culture of the state of Punjab is also its work of art that includes frescoes and mural paintings. Basically, these are the paintings created always on settled places like gateways, ceilings, walls etc. The people of Punjab are popular for their jovial and celebratory culture, hence, one must expect a whole dash of colors in every sphere of their life which includes their festivals, costumes, living style and even their rich craftworks. The people of Punjab are also extremely careful in decorating their walls and spaces. Frescoes and Mural Paintings remain to be the benchmark craft styles across the state. Almost every small village and town of the state boasts of their huge gateways that proclaim the beautiful paintings showcasing the bravery of the people, the teachings of their gurus, sports of Punjab and scene that describe the battlefield. The older cities of the state like Patiala, Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Kapurthala, Faridkot and Hoshiarpur all have huge and marvelous historical building that boast of their rich and hefty collections of frescoes and mural paintings that dates back to the golden era of the state.

Punjab Specialty - Mudwall Paintings

The culture that boasts of having paintings on the mud walls isn’t very recent. On the contrary, this prehistoric tradition dates back to the oldest of times when the early men painted the walls with magical colors which they so believed that these paintings are blessed and will ward of several evil spirits that may harm and inhabit their houses. A large number of houses also display the desires of the painters that exhibit their wishes of plenty. Mud wall paintings are also called as “Chowk-Poorana” by the people of Punjab. One must also point out that despite its name as Chowk-Poorana, the rustic people of Punjab, particularly women always drew these paintings on the walls made of woods and not on their thresholds. The Punjabi villages are full of mud walls that assume a new color and meaning during the festivals such as the "Navaratra Poorna" which is celebrated on the last day of the Navratras, on Karva-Chauth where majority of north Indian wives fast rigorously for the well being of their husbands. These festivals also include the Hoi or Ahoi and the huge festival of Diwali. Visiting these places during festivities is set to leave the viewers awe struck by the delicately designed and poised arts and designs which adorn the mud walls which is aimed at invoking the grace and blessing of goddess Lakshmi and welcomes to shower her wealth and rich prosperity in their households. The farmer’s women usually make such paintings. Such high is their creative and artistic value that one may not be able to stop themselves from grading this as genuine art. The tradition of paintings is not bound by formal training or education. Women in Punjab learnt this art from their mothers and even other women in the village. This art in the villages of Punjab is the basis of a creative life which varies from one person to another or often from one household to another. These painting are often the only way possible for them to decorate their otherwise mundane and dull lifestyle. The creative excellence of these paintings and their simple approach is such that it would make the bests of artists reconsider their definition of fine arts. The people of Punjab have also created a unique way of storing food items which they create with a mixture of paper and other products.

Another important work in the creativities of Punjab is their strong culture of metalwork.  The common routine of the Punjabi people is the real birth giver to the possibilities and the techniques of metal work. The people of Amritsar are particularly famous for their works of metals such as dying, casting etc.  Metal and the utensils carved out of them are used in the traditional Indian kitchen across the nation.

One of the striking products of this art are the imperial doors of metals and several Kalashas that adorn the places of worships,  several huge structures of animals and tiger along with the charger of Durga are some of the most creative work done by the metal experts of Punjab. The people who indulged in such work of metal during the early days of this art in the city of Amritsar were known as Chiteras. One must also point out at this instance that the very word 'Chitera' translates to a painter.

Painting in Different Cities of Punjab

Paintings in Amritsar

A handsome amount of best painting of Punjab can be experienced at the holy site of Harmandir Sahib, Tower of Baba Atal Rai, Ranjit Singh Museum and the Akhara Bala Nand, all of which resided in the ancient city of Amritsar. The holy site of Golden Temple or the Harmandir Sahib boast of as many as 300 striking works of art that are decorated in forms of stone carvings and magical works of mirror. In the celebrated museum of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, there are several metal work and huge sets of art that adorns the wall. Baba Atal Rai Tower boasts of a huge array of wall painting, metal work and works on stone.

Paintings in Patiala

Qila Mubarak Androon in the blistering city of Patiala is known across the world for their wealthy collection of paintings and artworks. The great and appreciated artists of Rajasthan and Kangra have been the major contributors of this. All of these paintings exhibit the basic stories of the religious texts like Mahabharata, Ramayana etc. Several epics of the love stories of the tradition Punjabi culture are kept alive in these paintings. The Sheesh Mahal too exhibits a majestic collection of paintings. Also, in this collection is a very rare painting that shows the first Guru of the Sikhs Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, which is flanked by his first disciples. Sikhs and their royalty have also been kept alive in these paintings.

Other Paintings

The renowned temples in the city of Gurdaspur which were commissioned by Maharaja Ranjit Singh hold the best of frescoes that belong to the 19th century AD. Bairagas’ Thakar Dwara in the city of Hoshiarpur is filled with frescoes and mural paintings of socialist themes. Kapurthala’s famous Shekuhpua temple, commissioned by Diwan Saudagar Mal, also has a petite chamber surrounded by a wide trail that contains diversity of mural and fresco paintings. Several Gurudwaras in the place also boast of such beautiful work of arts.

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