fomous folk paintings of India | Indian art guide

Famous Folk Paintings of India that Every Indian Should Know | Indian Folk Art Guide

Art has been part of Indian culture for ages. North or South, East or West, every part of India has a distinct touch of art in their culture and tradition. Music, dance, paintings, and crafts—various forms of art—have poured life into shaping different traditions across the nation. 

One of the famous folk art forms that has always been in Indian culture is folk painting. Since the dawn of time, the intricate brush strokes and vibrant colours of famous folk paintings of India have depicted the narratives of several epics like the Ramayana, Mahabharata and the daily lives of tribals or villagers. 

There are different regions and different cultures, subcultures, and customs to narrate. But what are these folk art paintings? Where do they come from? What stories do they tell? 

We have listed some of the famous folk paintings of India. Continue reading and find out about the famous folk art of different Indian regions that has been passed down for generations. 

Kalamkari

The origin of Kalamkari takes you to the southern state of India, Andhra Pradesh. Kalamkari is a combination of two words: Kalam, which translates to pen, and Kari, which means craftsmanship in English, perfectly defining the beauty of hand painting involved in Kalamkari. 

Instead of paper, this famous folk painting of India uses textiles to paint beautiful depictions of mythologies through vibrant shades of colours. 

Kalamkari comes in two styles: Srikalahasti, a freehand style, and Machilipatnam, a block print technique. This folk painting uses organic paints from vegetable dyes and follows over 20 steps to prepare the painting. 

Madhubani Painting

Madhubani, or Mithila painting, is the famous folk art of Bihar. Practiced in different regions of India and Nepal, Madhubani painting got its name from the Madhubani district of Bihar. 

Madhubani painting was widely practiced by females of the Brahman and Kayastha castes, using different painting tools and natural pigments. 

In contrast to Kalamkari, which males passed down, the legacy of Madhubani has been carried for centuries by females. 

Earlier imprinted on walls and floors of huts, in modern days, Madhubani paintings can also be seen on paper and clothes. 

Pattachitra Painting

In the list of famous folk paintings of India, we now have Pattachitra paintings. The history of Pattachitra paintings has its roots in Odisha, West Bengal, and some parts of Bangladesh. 

Often depicting mythologies and folktales, Pattachitra, a form of scroll painting, is formed by two terms: Patta, which means cloth, and Chitra, which translates to picture. 

Pattachitra is not the sole art of just males or females; rather, every member of the family is involved in creating the paintings. While the female members take care of preparation, the males give the finishing touch to the art piece. 

Warli Painting

Warli Painting, another famous folk painting of India, originated from the beautiful Sahyadri Range of Maharashtra. Rather than mythologies, Warli painting is tribal art depicting the lives, festivals, and dances of the tribals. 

Warli paintings weren't just popular in ancient times, but they are still widely practiced in different parts of Maharashtra. Painted on caves and hut walls, Warli paintings pluck elements of nature to narrate stories. 

Geometric shapes and white pigments made from rice flour and water are unique components of Warli paintings. The Warli paintings are dedicated to capturing special moments like weddings or festivals. 

Gond Paintings

Gond painting's origin lies in the central state of India, Madhya Pradesh, where it is practiced by the indigenous Gond tribe. The Gond tribe has carried down this cultural legacy by passing down knowledge to the younger generation. 

Gond paintings can be seen on the walls and floors of the house, making the beauty of culture pop out. Papers, canvas, and pigments made from plants, leaves, and soil are widely used materials in Gond painting. 

The artists paint a blend of flora, fauna, mythology, folktales, and even modern-day things in Gond paintings using lines and geometric shapes. 

Back to blog