Srinagar Art & Culture



Participate, discuss and share your thoughts, ideas, suggestions and concerns about Srinagar on Srinagar Discussion Forum instantly and directly with other members.


Mola Ram & Garhwal Paintings

Mola Ram Tomar

Kehardas accompanied by his father Shyamdas arrived at Srinagar when Suleman Shikoh decided to take refuge in Garhwal and he preferred his court painter Shyamdas joined him. Mughal Prince Shikoh left Garhwal Himalayas after nineteen months but the Court Painter Shyamdas could not resist the enviorns and splendour of Great Himalayas and the father-son duo stayed back at Srinagar making the place their permanent home.

Goldsmith by ancestral profession, Shyamdas was a Court Painter in Mughal Kingdom with some Mughal touch developed in his paintings and was also a knowledgeable person in Farsi language. Shyamdas's creativity appealed the Srinagar King and the King appointed him in his own court on a respectable post. The King also gifted hamlets and estates of 60 villages to be looked after as a Chiefton so that revenue from these estates can create a regular income for him and his family. In return, Shyamdas put his all creative efforts and dedication to help the king and the kingdom in vital areas including training the king in learning Farsi language.

Over a period of time, decades and generations passed. Shyamdas son Kehardas had his son Hiralal and Hiralal's son was Mangat Ram. This Hiralal - Mangat Ram father-son duo, once again was an another artistic era Srinagar couldn't afford to lose. The duo beautified the space and personna of Srinagar Garhwal.

The chronology should continue. But this time it had to be a different and distinct. Birth of Mola Ram at Mangat Ram - Rami Devi family in 1743 marked a signature on Garhwal History on its artistic accounts.

A Painting of Mola Ram
Mola Ram has carved a niche for himself in the history of Uttarakhand for his contribution to Art and Painting. In fact, he laid the foundation for the 'Garhwal School of Painting'. Mola Ram was born in the year 1743 near Srinagar in district Pauri Garhwal. He was also a poet, philosopher and a statesman. Mola Ram worked during the rules of Maharaja Pradeep Shah, Maharaja Lalit Shah, Jaikrit Singh and Maharaja Pradyuman Shah from 1777 to 1804. He continued to work for the development of art and literature during the period of Gorkhas rule (1803-15) and the British rule. Mola Ram died in Srinagar at in 1833.

The paintings of Mola Ram are preserved at various places. A rich collection is housed at HNB Garhwal Univeristy Museum, Srinagar, some are in the Boston Museum of art in the USA and even many of his paintings are under personal possession. Some of them can be seen in 'Bharat Kala Bhawan, Banaras', 'Kastur Bhai Lal Bhai Sagrahaalaya, Ahmedabad' and few in the art galleries of Calcutta, Allahabad, Lucknow and Delhi.

A Painting depicting Ancient Srinagar by Jwala Ram
And a tributary 'Garhwal Painting' in form of a fascinating book with his various paintings printed inside, has been written by Barrister Mukandi Lal in 1968 which is considered to be revival of 'Garhwal School of Painting' bringing the glory of Mola Ram and Garhwal Paintings back to the world. Jwalaram, Tejram, Brijnath were some of the great masters of this school of art, all descendents of Mola Ram family.

Garhwal Painting
A Book by Barrister Mukandi Lal

Title: Garhwal Painting
Author: Mukandi Lal
Publisher: Publications Division - Government of India
Place Published: New Delhi
First Edition: 1968
Revised Edition: 1982

A fascinating and admirable 110 Pages, Hardback book with 12 page introduction, 31 color plates and 47 Black and White Paintings and Sketches, demonstrating the beauty, importance and history of the Garhwal School.

Like the Mughal, the Rajasthani and the Kangra schools of painting, the Garhwal school too has its own peculiar characteristics. In this book, Mukandi Lal has given the historical background, motifs and themes of this school of painting. He has also written notes on individual colour plates. Apart from the paintings on mythological theme, avatars and nayikas, twelve paintings illustrating the marriage of Rukmini with Shri krishna have also been included in this book.

Barrister Mukandi Lal as Writer

Mukandi Lal, writer and art critic was born in Garhwal and educated at Allahabad, Calcutta and Christ Church, Oxford. He was an Advocate in the Allahabad High Court and served as a Judge of the High Court in Tehri-Garhwal State.

His interest in Indian culture, particularly in Indian Painting, dates back to his youth when he came under the influence of Ananda Coomaraswamy and Abanindrantath Tagore. Author of several books, his work was awarded prize by the Hindi Akademi, Lucknow.

»» Ancient Srinagar Photo Gallery

Interesting & More...

»» Srinagar Art & Culture
»» Garhwal Paintings
»» Srinagar Antiquity & History
»» Srinagar History Timeline
»» History & Archaelogical Survey
»» Garhwal University Museum