5 Famous Folk Art Forms of India

India is a treasure-chest of folk arts. Different styles of folk art have been passed down from ancient times and are today practised not only in India but also in other parts of the world. Each art form is unique but shares common roots of tradition and culture. Some have evolved over the years, adapting to modern and contemporary art forms; while others remain untouched.

Famous Folk Art Forms of India

Here is a list of a few of the many evergreen folk art forms of India.

Madhubani

Characterised by complex geometrical patterns, Madhubani paintings are practised in the Mithila region of Nepal and Bihar. One of its initial references is made in the Indian Epic, Ramayana where Sita’s father, King Janaka, gets Madhubani paintings created for Sita’s wedding. Initially, the paintings showed glimpses of life and nature. In recent times, contemporary artists have given this art a modern touch and taken it to a global stage.

Warli

Initiated by the Warli tribe of Maharashtra, Warli wall paintings are made using a set of basic geometric shapes like circle, square, and triangle. Warli art is centred around the elements of nature, which the community worships. Some of their paintings also depict their daily activities like agriculture, hunting, and celebrations. This is the simplest of all the folk arts as it is painted with only white colour on a red backdrop. These days Warli painting is also done on clothes, handbags, home decors, and more.

Pattachitra

Pattachitra, when translated from Sanskrit, means cloth (patta) painting (chitra). This art form originated in the village of Puri in Orissa and is highly popular in the Jagannath and Vaishnava cults. The craftsmen through these cloth-based scroll paintings narrate beliefs, ideologies, stories, and mythologies. This traditional folk art comprises of excellent play of colours and intricate details.

Pattachitra

Pattachitra

Tanjore

This unique art form from the Thanjavur city of Tamil Nadu is characterised by dense composition, vibrant colours, and distinct use of glittery gold foil, which lends the painting a stunning royal look. It also involves the use of semi-precious stones, pearls, and glass pieces. The paintings are made on a wooden plank and are intricately handmade. The paintings portray various mythological figures, along with saints. They show depictions of Krishna, the different avatars of Vishnu, and scenes from the Ramayana like Rama’s coronation. The main deity of each painting is always in the centre of the painting and is shown inside a palace or a temple structure.

Kalamkari

Originating from the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Kalamkari paintings are made using natural dyes and its process involves more than 20 steps. This folk art is divided into two styles – Srikalahasti style and the Machilipatnam style. In the Srikalahasti style of Kalamkari, craftsmen use a pen for freehand drawing and it is entirely hand worked. The Machilipatnam style uses a dyed block for painting. The painting usually depicts scenes from mythological classics like Ramayana, Mahabharata, etc. Today, Kalamkari style sarees are very popular.

Folk art and storytelling go hand in hand. In our latest edition- Legend and Lore – Regional folktales of India’ – read vibrant and exciting stories from different parts of India.

Legend and Lore – Cover

Our artists present you a beautiful amalgamation of folk arts and their individual styles. Here are some of the exclusive snippets of it. Have a look and let us know in the comments below if you’re as excited for its release as us?

What is the Ramayana? Who wrote the Ramayana?

Ramayana is an ancient Indian epic poem, written over 5000 years ago, which tells the story of Rama, Prince of Ayodhya, also believed to be the seventh incarnation of Vishnu. Ramayana was originally composed in Sanskrit by the great sage Valmiki.

Rama

Brave, handsome, talented, and wise, Rama was a devoted son and husband. He is considered to be the most perfect of all men and the ideal king – Maryada Purushottam. He was born to King Dasharatha, the King of Ayodhya and the first of his three wives, Kausalya. Rama was the eldest of four siblings and the favourite son of his father. In spite of being born to wealth and power, Rama felt deeply about the suffering and pain around him and spoke about it to his guru, Vasishtha. He was married to Sita, the daughter of Mother Earth who was found and adopted by King Janaka of Mithila.

valmiki

The great sage who originally composed Ramayana – Valmiki

Rama’s Story

The Ramayana talks about duty and honor, good and evil, love and loss, jealousy and destructive ambition. All these through different episodes of Rama’s life including his fourteen-year exile to the forest, Sita’s abduction by Ravana (the demon king of Lanka), Hanuman’s extreme devotion to Rama, the love and fierce loyalty of his younger brothers Lakshmana, Bharata, and Shatrughna , and the great war between the forces of good, as symbolised by Rama, and the forces of evil as symbolised by Ravana.

ramayana kandas

Kandas of Ramayana

The composition of the Ramayana

The Ramayana is considered to be the first poem or Adi Kavya. The original version of Ramayana composed by Valmiki consists of nearly 24,000 verses, divided into seven Kandas (volumes) with 500 sargas (chapters). The seven Kandas include Bala Kanda, Ayodhya Kanda, Aranya Kanda, Kishkindha Kanda, Sundara Kanda, Yuddha Kanda, and Uttara Kanda. Since then there have been multiple translations and versions of it. However, the most popular versions are Valmiki’s Ramayana, Tulsidas’ Ramcharitamanas and the Kamba Ramayanam.

Mapui Kawlim: NOT your average neighborhood girl

WingStar The Super Hero

super hero girls

Mapui Kawlim led a fairly regular life; she was a 13 year old from Aizwa, Mizoram.  She hates Maths, loves a good hot fudge sundae and enjoys having sleepovers with her best friends, Fiona and Zobia. Not just that, Mapui also loves and adores her parents and shares an adorable relationship with them.

But, things took a turn when her father, Tashi Kawlim, an inventor, gave her some gizmos and a superhero suit.

The teenager Mapui thehn turns into the superhero WingStar.  Mapui’s mother, Khyati Kawlim, is a martial arts teacher and equips Mapui with physical skills that she can fall back upon when her suit isn’t with her.

So now, other than having to do her homework and making it on time for her first period in school, Mapui also fights robbers, brings down corrupt ministers and protects her family and friends from all evil. Read more

Chandragupta Maurya Story

chandragupta maurya stories

Chandragupta maurya tamil

Chandragupta Maurya

Chandragupta Maurya was the founder of the Mauryan empire. Born around 340 BCE, Chandragupta was the youngest of the Mauryas, who ruled from their capital in Pataliputra. Even as a child, he was an exceptional hunter and rider. During this time, most of northern India was part of the Magadha Empire, ruled by the Nandas. Southern India was divided into many independent territories.

What brought the Indian subcontinent under a single unified kingdom was Chandragupta Maurya’s reign, which lasted from 322 BCE to 298 BCE. The Mauryan dynasty would go on to have notable emperors, including Chandragupta’s son Bindusara and grandson, Emperor Ashoka. Read more

A Peek Into ACK’s Upcoming Title – Valmiki’s Ramayana

Valmiki Ramayana

Indian mythology has two of the grandest epics ever written – the Valmiki Ramayana and Vyasa’s Mahabharata. Both epics tell the story of human emotions, of love and loyalty, of courage and fortitude.

The Ramayana, which was written almost 5000 years ago, is not just a story. It is a treasure trove of information. We get to know stories not just about Hindu gods, but about the lives of the people in those times, about customs and traditions, and about their beliefs.

When Sugriva sends his vanara army to search for Sita he describes the four directions they have to take. Here is a peak into some of the places he sends them to.

(This page is from Amar Chitra Katha’s Valmiki’s Ramayana – the all-new 960-page special edition that is soon to be released.)

Comic Book Online

Stories Of Myths And Legends By Anant Pai

Amar Chitra Katha - Anant Pai

Uncle Pai

Myths and Legends Story

Over fifty years ago, a young man was out walking when he stopped to watch a quiz show being played on a television set in a shop. When asked about who the Greek god of the seas was, the students immediately answered ‘Poseidon’. But when the quiz master asked the participants who Rama’s mother was, there was complete silence. Shocked that the children didn’t know stories from their own country, the young man decided that he was going to bring about a change. Read more

Five Unknown Facts about Tipu Sultan

Tipu sultan History

Tipu Sultan Story

Tipu Sultan, the 18th century ruler of Mysore, is a well known figure in Indian history. His resistance to the British forces was exceptional in its strength and intensity, his unusual administrative style is cited even today and the Tipu Sultan palace attracts tourists from around the world. Read more

A Cool Way to Gift!

 

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Gift Ideas For Book Lovers

As much as you regret admitting it, choosing gifts for your near and dear ones proves to be quite a challenging task, doesn’t it? You can never be sure of what they might really like, let alone love. Read more

The BIG Box

“Boxes, boxes everywhere,
Sometimes tiny, sometimes large,
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But always packed,
With emotions plenty,
Memories abound,
And surprises galore!”

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