Pichwai is a tradional style of painting from Rajasthan and usually depicts Lord Krishna and related stories. The paintings are made on the cloth and are used as a backdrop to the idol in the temple. They show various moods of Krishna and are executed in the miniature style.
Other themes are also portrayed, such as the map of the Nathdwara, temple, cows (as symbols of Lord Krishna) among others and not very often, are also created on paper. The stunning art form is a 400-year-old art, one which was created depicting the beautiful life of Lord Krishna.
This unique word Pichwai comes from the Sanskrit words, ‘pitch’ meaning back and ‘wais’ meaning hanging. It therefore means traditional paintings are hanging behind the idol of Shrinathji.
The wall art is created by depicting the story of Shrinathji, another form of Lord Krishna holding the hill Govardhan. The story contains a beautiful history which represents the power of one of the most significant incarnations of Lord Vishnu. When Lord Indra, showcased his control over the inhabitants of Vrindavan, with steady rains and thunderstorms, Lord Krishna lifted the hill named Govardhan on his little finger and the people of Vrindavan took refuge under the mountain. With this Indira realized failure to disturb the people and his ego was broken. Since then people are worshipping the Govardhan hill.
The contemporary paintings are used to embellish the walls of the temples located in Nathdwara district, specialising as a backdrop for the temples of Shrinathji. The making of a traditional painting takes a considerable amount of time, ranging from a couple of weeks to months. Great artists first sketch this conventional art on hand-spun starched cloth, and then the beautiful image is created, painted and printed in brilliant colours or woven with hand blocks. The classic styles are generally made with natural colours and even natural brushes. The base is mostly red woven with yellow or any bright
coloured embroidery. The focus is mainly on using intense and bright colours such as red, yellow, green, black along with a border beautified with a goat, dabka work or Swaro executed in the miniature stylevski. The most beautiful ones are mainly filled with pure gold.