The blues and the greens of the Chitra Shala – a heaven of minature paintings in Bundi

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What’s this?

Here is just a tiny portion of one of the many gorgeously beautiful frescoes on the walls of the Chitra Shala (picture gallery), a room in Ummed Bhavan. The Ummed Bhvan is an 18th century palace built by Rao Ummed Singh, who ruled the South Rajasthani city of Bundi from 1749 to 1804. 

Just as an aside, it was this palace that Rudyard Kipling (who wrote some of his book ‘Kim’ in Bundi) was referring to when he said “such a palace as men build for themselves in uneasy dreams – the work of goblins rather than of men”!

Bundi is the home of the Rajasthani miniature painting that flourished between the late 16th and 19th centuries, and where Mughal painting influenced the typical Rajasthani painting style. The frescoes in the Chitra Shala were probably painted between the late 1700s and the early 1800s.

Imagine walking into a room and being surrounded by hundreds of images like this one – painted in vibrant blues and greens (I hear they were made from crushed precious stones)! The paintings here (I’d say that the portion in my photograph here is more-or-less life-size) are absolutely exquisite and I’ve come back to see them several times. The detail is incredible – in this section alone we can see a camel, 2 peacocks and 3 other birds, several different types of trees and flowers, an entranceway and glimpses of 2 women. There’s so much to look at! Depicted in the frescoes are scenes of daily life, including warfare and love stories and everything in-between. The handsome God Krishna is a favourite feature, and the story of him as a mischievous teenager stealing the clothes of a group of young women bathing in a river is shown on the walls of this very special place.   

Where’s this?

Ummed Bhavan Palace (Bundi Palace), Bundi, Rajasthan

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