Tikuli is the local term in Bihar used for Bindi, a colorful dot which married women wear on their forehead between the eyebrows. Bindi is usually worn by Indian women in bright red color. Bindi is used as a symbol of the third eye and hence worn where the sixth chakra is present. However, in present time, Tikuli is used as a source of women empowerment in the Indian state of Bihar. This art originates in Patna from more than 800 years. Being avid art lovers, the Mughals provided active patronage and appreciated the features of the art. Tikuli art is an unprecedented and stand-out piece of hand painting, more than 800 years old and has its source in Patna. It is one of the principle subjects for Nepali and Bhojpuri society tunes. In a large number of the Hindi writing books, it has been used as an image of cheerful married life, a character of a wedded woman.

Revival of Tikuli Art

Because of the efforts of two passionate artists Tikuli Art reemerged on the scene. Chitracharya Padmashree Upendra Marathi was a popular artist in 1954 who worked towards the revival of the dying art. He got inspiration from Japanese paintings and methods to portray the Tikuli art on hardboard. However, his efforts didn’t gain much popularity till he passed away. It was popular painter and artist Ashok Kumar Biswas who stepped in 1975 after him to take the art to a whole new level. Along with wife Shibani Biswas, Ashok worked hard to develop the art into a source of our livelihood. Eventually, because of his efforts the art gained so much popularity that in Asian Games of the year 1982, Tikuli art pieces were gifted to the best players by Smt. Indira Gandhi, then Prime Minister of India.

Decorative Wall Plates

Decorative Wall Plates


Making of Tikuli Art

Hardboard is used to make paintings by the artists. These hardboards are cut in various shapes like triangular, square, rectangular, and circular. Then, on the cut wooden piece, four-five enamel coats are applied. The wood is rubbed with sandpaper after every coat giving it a polished surface. Finally, design is made by paint after the final coat. It is further embellished with golden foil and jewels. Madhubani motifs are used in Tikuli art paintings to increase its variety and expand the details. It is a treat to see these two brilliant art forms in one frame for many art lovers. The art requires mild sunlight in order to dry or dry air at room temperature because of the use the enamel paint. For finished look, the art must be a dust free atmosphere. Favorable seasons are spring and summer while monsoon being highly unfavorable.

Smt. Indira Gandhi selected Tikuli art plates among other crafts.

Smt. Indira Gandhi selected Tikuli art plates among other crafts.


Unique feature of Tikuli art

Expensive: The etching gold foil technique on the glass with natural raw materials made the art production work quite costly at that time.

Rare: The special skills required for this art was present only the state of Bihar.

Detailed Work: Tikuli artist needs to do the detailing in smallest of a piece of the clothes.

The above-mentioned characteristics made Tikuli art a sole privilege offered to royal people. After the entrance of the British Raj over Mughal Empire, the art faced a change. Machine made Bindis took popularity over hand-made ones. Hence, thousands of Tikuli artists became jobless.

Mithila Painting

Mithila Painting


The most successful Tikuli art organizations of India are the following:

Bihar Mahila Udyog Sangh

The Tikuli or “Bindi” which has decorated the forehead of Hindu women has now found another incarnation as an art frame, on account of the artist, painter and specialist Shree Ashok Kumar Biswas. Biswas learned the art from Lal Babu Gupta who spent significant time in the art. His energy for restoring an old art of Bihar proved valuable for art lovers as well as for some poor families. With humble beginnings at Dehri On Sone in Rohtas region of Bihar, this man had an aptitude and an ability to match his fantasies. He may be known as the solitary crusader in the fight for the restoration of the diminishing Tikuli specialty and he has kept the fight going at Patna since 1974 with his wife Shibani.

Bihar Mahila Udyog Sangh

Tikuli Art done by Bihar Mahila Udyog Sangh




Upendra Maharathi Shilp Anusandhan Sansthan

Established in 1956, Upendra Maharathi Shilp Anusandhan Sansthan conducts research and training, product development activities and also tries to safeguard the state’s languishing crafts. The home of India’s some initial paintings, Bihar is tremendously rich in its arts and crafts. UMSAS organizes wide range of public programs, like workshops, seminars, fairs, exhibits, and special events.

Upendra Maharathi Shilp Anusandhan Sansthan

Upendra Maharathi Shilp Anusandhan Sansthan


Patna-based Ashok Kumar Biswas has for all intents and purposes with no help reestablished this art. He has melded the tikuli art with another art type of Bihar, Madhubani, to make embellishing divider plates, napkins, place settings, inside decorations, plate, pen stands and other utility things. The hundreds of years old passing on Tikuli art shows the numerous appearances of our rich Indian culture including the acclaimed Madhubani Paintings of Bihar.

An old specialty of the Mughal times, tikuli art is really beautiful in the present times also. It is still the part of tribal adornments worn by the Santhal tribe of Bihar. The art of making tikuli is hinting at restoration — as an art and also a good business recommendation for poor groups of Bihar towns.

Content Research and Conceptualisation by Kaavya Lakshman and Content Written by Kaavya Lakshman and Saumya Sinha

Tikuli art is an unique art form from Bihar, which has a very rich and deep traditional history. The word ‘tikuli’ is the local term for ‘bindi’, which is usually a bright, colorful dot that women wear between their brows. Since olden times, the bindi was created as a symbolic mean to worship intellect and conserve the modesty of women. However, in today’s time, tikuli art serves as a source of empowerment for the women of Bihar.

A red bindi worn by married women signifies good marriage and virtue. It is an important symbol of Indian culture.

A red bindi worn by married women signifies good marriage and virtue. It is an important symbol of Indian culture.


Tikuli art originated in Patna over 800 years ago. It deals with beautifully designed paintings which are manufactured in the local streets of the city. With flourishing sales, Tikuli artform managed to influence traders from across the country to flock to Patna to buy tikuli art in bulk. The Mughals were active patrons of the art form and appreciated its many salient features.

This is a rare specialty of Bihar and no such work is found elsewhere. Since it is very intricate and detailed, it requires a special set of skills. Tikuli art is expensive too, as the value of the art is directly proportional to the refinement of the work. In the picture below, it can be easily seen that even though the figures are small-scaled, the artist has not compromised on the details.

intricate tikuli art

The intricate craftsmanship made tikuli art the sole privilege of the royalty.

With the decline of the Mughal Empire, and the coming of the British Raj, Tikuli art faced a severe blow. The British introduced industrialization, and so, indigenous goods came to be replaced by cheap machine-made goods. Thousands of Tikuli artists were left jobless as machine-made bindis came into the market, and Tikuli art was lost in the chaos.


Revival of this art form can solely be attributed to two artists.

In 1954, Chitracharya Padmashree Upendra Marathi, single handedly took the initiative to revive this dying art form. He got the idea to portray Tikuli art on glazed hardboard during his stay in Japan, where traditional motifs on colorful hardboard were being commercially sold.

Mr Ashok Kumar Biswas, Tikuli craftsman who almost single handedly revived the dying art form.

Artist, craftsman, and painter Shree Ashok Kumar Biswas took Tikuli art to a whole new level. He, along with his wife Shibani Biswas, not only revived the art but also developed it into a source of livelihood. Tikuli art now serves as an economic beneficiary for over 300 women in Bihar. The noble efforts of the Biswas and the workmanship of these women are nationally and internationally acclaimed. In 2012, he was selected to participate in the Bihar Divas Celebrations organized in Delhi and Jaipur. He was also assigned the task of explaining the subtle art of Tikuli to the visitors of the International Fair held in Seoul.


Making Tikuli art is a delicate and tedious process. To simplify it, I have divided it into three steps:

  1. Tikuli artists use hardboard to create paintings. The hardboard is cut into various shapes like circular, rectangular, triangular, or square.
  2. Four-five coats of enamel are applied thereafter on the cut wooden piece. After every coat the wood is rubbed with sandpaper thus giving it a polished surface.
  3. After the final coat of enamel is applied, the design is made with paint. It is also embellished with gold foil and jewels.

Tikuli art also uses Madhubani motifs in its paintings. It exemplifies the art and it is always a wonderful feeling to see two exceptionally brilliant art forms together in one frame.

Beautiful juxtaposition of Tikuli and Madhubani art.

Spring and summer season are the most suitable for making this art as the craft requires dry air at room temperature due to usage of enamel paints. Squirrel or sable hair is used to make the brushes and the size range varies from 0.0-20.


Tikuli art as a product is more popular as export, rather than as something of cultural significance. The aim of the products is to showcase Indian culture to the rest of the world. The themes mostly revolve around festivals of Bihar, Indian wedding scenes, and Krishna Leela.

Tikuli art sold as a wall hanging.


Costers and wall hangings with beautiful Tikuli art on them are hugely popular exports.

If you love stories then read along. Let us take you to the vivid world of scroll paintings! Here you will find paintings that would have you falling in love with the art that tells you the story as much as the story itself. Welcome to the world of Cheriyal Art!


 Cheriyal scroll painting depicting Indian Myth

               Cheriyal scroll painting depicting Indian Myth


 Types of Cheriyal art scrolls depicting different types of stories.

   Types of Cheriyal art scrolls depicting different types of stories.

Originated from the village of Cheriyal, 85 km from Warangal district of Telangana, Cheriyal scroll painting is a version of Nakashi art rich in Indian mythology motifs. Painted in a narrative format like that of a comic strip, Cheriyal art depicts stories from the Puranas and Epics. While they bear some resemblance to Madhubani paintings, they are intensely infused with local flavour that creates the uniqueness in Cheriyal art of storytelling.

Each Cheriyal Scroll painting is drawn on a khadi cloth opening with a piece of Lord Ganesha, followed by Goddess Saraswati. It’s way adopted by the artists to pay respect to the deities and seeking their blessings.

The technique of cheriyal scroll painting would tell you about the sophistication level as firstly they begin with applying a paste of tamarind seed along with tree gum and white clay. After applying three coats of this paste and allowing it to dry for a day or two, the scroll is finally ready for the further procedures. Now the artist draws the outline using a squirrel haired brush. Next is the turn for the predetermined colouring system. The red colour fills the background and blue and yellow colours are used for Gods and Goddesses respectively. While brown and darker shades are used for demons and pink skin tones are used for depicting humans.

Earlier natural dyes were used which were obtained from grounded sea shells, turmeric, vegetables etc. While today natural dyes are largely replaced by organic watercolors which are mixed with tree gum before applying on the scrolls. These paints are said to last over 300 years provided they don’t come in contact with water.

 D.Vaikuntham working on Cheriyal Art

        D.Vaikuntham working on Cheriyal Art

Today D.Vaikuntham’s family is only to practice the cheriyal art form, they have continued the Cheriyal tradition since the 15th century. They are the true masters of art form in this era. Apart from making the scroll paintings, the art has got a modified version of making masks in the same colour pattern and same themes of depicting the Indian mythologies as well. Due to the trouble of fitting in the modern world, the artists are forced to modify the art form.

The modified version of Cheriyal art as a mask

    The modified version of Cheriyal art as a                                                mask

Adapting the modern global changes is a major challenge for ancient art forms. It makes it difficult for them to breathe in with so many alternatives and replacements around but Cheriyal Art continues to survive. Ergo, an ancient tradition has been preserved with passion and zeal overflowing to keep it alive today and for coming generation!

Everyone remembers playing a game of Ludo or Snakes & Ladders be it on a hot summer day or a cool winter evening. These board games that form such a beloved part of our childhood actually take their origins much far behind in history. One such game is Chowka Bhara.

In former princely states like Tripura, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharastra, Tamil Nadu , Kerala and Punjab, Chowka Bhara was a favorite past time. The game uses easily available articles like sea shells, broken bangles and tamarind seeds, broken bangle bits and coins. The players seek cialisfrance24.com to move them across a 5 by 5 square drawn on the board to reach an inner space called “home”. It is played in a squares format on the floor.



Fig: A Chowka Board

Fig:A custom made board




The four player game Each player have four pawns (coins, bangle bits etc) starting at different positions at the four crossed squares at the outermost ring. The rules of game

Chowka Bhara Board-(http://bp1.blogger.com/5D2Wzovowzc/SB2_kwbnjXI/AAAAAAAAAAU/LXU2kY3WVQo/s400/chaukabara-5×5.jpg )

How the game works: 

  1. The board is always kept in the center during the game.
  2. Each player has a different starting point and initially keeps all his coins there (marked by X on his side).
  3. Each player takes turn to throw all four cowrie shells on the floor and moves one of his coins according to the number as indicated by the shells.
  4. Movement of coins is in anti-clockwise direction in outer squares and then in clockwise direction in inner squares as shown by the arrow in the diagram.
  5. If a player’s coin lands on a square occupied by opponent’s coin. The opponent’s coin is cut and the player gets an extra turn to play.
  6. The cut coin returns to its starting home square and has to go round all over again.
  7. The crossed squares (home squares) though, are safe places and no coins present here can be cut.
  8. When a coin reaches the square left of its home square, it further moves up into the inner squares in clockwise direction. Each coin finishes its race when it manages to get into the innermost crossed square.
  9. The first player to get all his coins into the innermost square wins the game.

Extra Turn:

  • Whenever a chowka or a bhara (four or eight) is got during a throw of cowrie shells, the player gets a bonus turn to throw the cowries.
  • When a player cuts opponent’s coin, he gets an extra turn to play.
  • During an extra turn, either the same coin or some other coin can be played.

This ‘Game of Chance’ finds relevance in mythology Mahabharata. Evidently,in two or four player format this game involves an element of chance by the roll of special dice and an element of strategy .

The Chowka Bhara board game is still played to improve the counting skills of the children . As important aspect of personality development, it was used to teach kids war tactics and strategies as well as eye-to-hand coordination in earlier time.

Want to try this game now? Check out the ‘ Store’ section to buy Chowka Bhara at Nazariya.

Happy Shopping!


Content Research by Saif Ansari and Written by Seemab Alam

The sound of moving water, be it the waves of a sea hitting the shore or the gentle flow of a river, has always enthralled the best of us. To commemorate the essence of life, Nazariya brings you Jalatarangam, a percussion instrument that is tuned not with strings but with water!

Jalatarangam, The Instrument

Jalatarangam, The Instrument

Jalatarangam is an Indian melodic percussion instrument that involves numerous ceramic or metal bowls filled with different levels of water aligned in unique patterns. When the edges of the bowl are stroked, they produce water waves that produce a sound so melodious that one would never really want it to come to a halt.

The emergence of Jalatarangam is found in Vātsyāyana’s Kamasutra as playing on musical glasses filled with water. However today this instrument has tumbled into anonymity despite its historical prominence. Being the most traditional Indian classical music, some scholars think that in the ancient period these were in routine practice around the eastern border of India.

The medieval musical treatise of Sangeet Parijaat have accomplished this instrument under Ghan-Vadya i.e. an Idiophpnic instrument in which sound is produced by striking a surface, also called concussion idiophones. The Sangeet Saar (manuscript on classical Indian music & dance) considered one with 22 cups to be complete Jalatarangam and one with 15 cups to be of mediocre status. The cups are of varying sizes were made of either bronze or porcelain.

Jaltarang, The Instrument

                       The bowls used in Jalatarangam

Today only china bowls are preferred by artists, numbering around 16 in normal use. The number of cups depends on the melody being played, in order to play this instrument the cups are arranged in a half circle in front of the player who can reach them all easily. Water is poured into the cups and pitch is changed by adjusting the volume of water in the cup. The player then softly hits the cups with a wooden stick on the border to get the sound. However playing this instrument is not at all easy, it requires a lot of skill to produce music leading to trance. Sangeet Saar also mentions that if the player can rotate the water through a quick touch of the stick, nuances and finer variations of the note can be achieved.

Poets of the Krishna cult have mentioned the wonders of Jalatarangam in their literature work. Many contemporary players of Carnatic music do attempt to produce Gamak (can be defined as a fast meend or spanning 2-3 notes normally delivered with deliberate force and vigour and repeated in an oscillatory manner) often in the face off sounds going skewed lacking required control. George Harrison played the Jalatarangam on the title track of his 1982 album Gone Troppo. In India, Seethalakshmi Doraiswamy, Shashikala Dani and Nemani Somayajulu are accomplished Jaltarang players. Also one of the major Jalatarangam pro is artist Kottayam TS Ajith Kumar hailing from Kerala. His appealing passion towards this instrument led to his creativity of incorporating both melody and laya (the tempo or speed of a piece), thus opening to a new style of playing the instrument. Today he performs in concerts worldwide and promoting the music Jalatarangam which has fallen into concealment today with the emergence of the extensive variety of music.

TS Ajith Kumar

                      Kottayam TS Ajith Kumar performing in a show

As being one of a unique type of music and the most soothing one as well, Jalatarangam should be highlighted and promoted so that it can take a comeback from its obscurity and can once again leave its audience with ecstasy. As of how appealing is the idea of water waves with proper techniques when laid together releases sound that is so alluring!


Content Research and Written By: Saif Ansari

The painting is an exquisite work of an Indian art. Extremely fine hand made art on old stamp paper with embossed bead work found mainly in Rajasthan. Rajasthan’s role in the expansion of Indian art has been very significant. One of the most innovative & significant example of Rajasthan art treasures is the world of miniature painting includes mainly Painting on old stamp papers.


Lord Krishna with Radha & Gopis

Source: http://craftoptions.com/images1/paintings/Painting%20Aug2010/oldstamppaper%20miniatures/radhakrishdancing2.jpg          

A traditional style painting isn’t merely about size, but also the level of detail in the painting. It’s the detail that differentiates an Old Stamp Paper Painting from others. If you look at it through a magnifying glass, you’ll see extremely fine brush marks with every detail scaled down & finely finished. The painting depicts maximum possible details that bring out a feeling of earthly charm & pleasure. It is indeed an art to cherish & a collector’s delights.

There are some important considerations in determining the fundamentals of art as surface design is not the only basic quality of an artwork. In order to promote visual & verbal literacy, art terms like appropriation, content, metaphor, mood, narrative, subject, symbol & theme. The spirit of Rajasthan gives an epitome of history & legends colored by courage & romance, finds an expressions in different paintings.

Rajasthan is the Land of wonderful legends of romance & bravery. India’s region in the northwest corner of the sub-continent is of amazing beauty packed with art, history & culture that goes back to several centuries. These Rajasthan Paintings were founded at Udaipur in 1996. They are placed in Udaipur known as city of lakes; here one can see a wide range of high quality paintings from well-known Rajasthan.


Rajput Art of Living

Source: http://www.artnindia.com/wp-content/uploads/imported/Rajasthan-Rajput-Miniature-Painting-Old-Court-Stamp-Paper-Indian-Folk-Ethnic-Art-190614258625.jpg

As Hindu-Rulers of Rajputana carry on close political & social links to the Mughal court, one can examine strong Mughal influence paintings here; Influenced by the surroundings, paintings have their own unique style; court assemblies & animals such as Camel, Elephants of their army, hills & valleys, religious festivals, processions & scenes from their own life & from the life of Lord Krishna – a widely devoted Hindu God in India. Painting on Old Stamp paper is different in size & material from others. Papers were mainly handmade & of hard texture from typically used papers for paintings. The colours were made from minerals & vegetables, valuable stones as well as pure silver & gold. The mixing & preparing of colour was an elaborate process. It took two weeks sometimes months, to get the desired results. The brushes have to be very fine & are therefore prepared by the artists themselves. To get high-quality results, the brush is even today made from hairs of the squirrels, tail-carefully cut without harming the little animal.

rajasthan-rajput-miniature-painting-old-court-stamp-paper-indian-folk-ethnic-art-190614258625                            Folk Art, King with his Army                            

Source: https://natsybydesign.com/image/cache/data/Sep13/mughal_miniature/kishangarh-painting-on-old-stamp-paper-826-310×310.JPG

The traditional Painting started falling after the first half of the 18th century & by the end of the century it lost almost most of its strength & attraction. However in the Pahari region the art of painting uphold its quality till the end of the first quarter of the 19th century. The traditional styles of Indian painting finally died out in the second half of the 19th century under conflict of the Western colours & method of painting.

You can buy more such paintings online on our website: www.nazariya.in

This article was originally created for, and published on www.gounesco.com, a UNESCO supported umbrella of initiatives that makes heritage fun.
By Sayana Dutta

Jute, the 'golden fibre' being cultivated. Photo credit: brieencounter.wordpress

Jute, the ‘golden fibre’, being cultivated. Photo credit: brieencounter.wordpress

In the 1800s, large sheds along both the banks of the of Hooghly River in and around Kolkata and Howrah with rumbling sounds of heavy machines mixing with the soft mellifluous flow of the river producing yarns from raw jute was a common sight.

A steady workforce was employed to work on separating, sorting and preparing jute yarns in various jute factories and mills supporting a bustling population of the city and dealing with extensively cultivated ‘pat’ plant in Bengal, from where raw jute would be extracted.

Bundled jute being left to soak in water.

Bundled jute being left to soak in water. Photo credit: Screengrab

After cotton, jute was the next cheap fabric material readily produced exclusively in the Indian sub-continent and was on the verge of an industrial revolution as the country catered to export demands mainly for the purpose of making sacks and cordage.

But the same mills now stand in deafening silence.

Wrong decisions taken decades ago actually crumbled the foundation of this once-strong and promising industry. The then communist government refused to supply sacks to nations that were engaged in World Wars, citing wars as imperialistic.

Thus, a golden opportunity was lost.

A jute processing plant in Kolkata. Photo credit: jute-india.com

A jute processing plant in Kolkata. Photo credit: jute-india.com

Entrepreneurs state that the situation was made worse by the growing demands and various trade unions with wrong expectations. The murder of the CEO of Northbrook Jute Mill H K Maheshwari in Hooghly in 2014 put thousands of permanent and temporary workers out of a livelihood

The insecurity among the owners and entrepreneurs is apparent. Other than assurance, little has been provided to the enthusiasts by the governments, and attempts to resuscitate this industry have so far remained dormant.

Fortunately now, a handful of non-governmental organisations have taken the onus upon themselves to find new avenues to generate livelihoods for different sections of the society, and to exhibit what all can be done with the fiber.

Attractive jute products on display at an exhibition. Photo credit: bestjuteproducts.wordpress

Attractive jute products on display at an exhibition. Photo credit: bestjuteproducts.wordpress

One such group is Freeset bags that works with impoverished women from the red light areas for a new way to support themselves and their families. They have experimented with carry bags that are chic-looking and stylish, as this fabric can be dyed, bent and styled as per a designer’s wish.

There are some other boutiques that have derived the art of making handloom material for sarees, table cloths, curtains and carpets or upholstery giving them a distinct look. Just the way plastic had replaced jute, now with more awareness regarding the preservation of environment, a slow reverse phenomena is being observed since jute is a highly bio-degradable and eco-friendly material.

With the smaller groups showing interest, the government is gradually in the process of realizing the importance of reviving this industry.

A government advertisement promoting jute as the 'gift of the earth'. Photo credit: jute.com

A government advertisement promoting jute as the ‘gift of the earth’. Photo credit: jute.com

The National Jute Policy was launched in 2005 after the Government of India realized the importance of the fiber. Bengal is the primary producer of the fabric;  whereas states such as Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Tripura, Assam, Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have mill facilities for the production across the country.

With the revival of industry, not only shall we pave ways to provide employment to our youth at different levels but also make ways for a cleaner and greener way of living allowing the nurturing of art in the form of handicrafts as well as utilitarian items.