What is Pichwai Art?

by Annie Saxena on Mar 06, 2023

What is Pichwai Art?

The Sanskrit words pich (behind) and wai are the source of the word pichwai (hanging). Pichwais, a complex painting style created in the 17th century at the Nathdwara temple in Rajasthan and devoted to Shrinathji, are often hanging behind the image of the god in local shrines. These intricately hand-painted pieces of art commemorate the various facets of Krishna, and the majority of them show temple rites like Shrinathji's ornamentation (shringaar) in accordance with the seasons or festivals of the Pushtimarg calendar, such as Janamashtami and Gopashtami.

The Chappan Bhog, a feast of 56 dishes, is a common representation of Krishna that can be found in Pichwais. The peacock, the lotus, and even his beloved cows are prominently and frequently shown as symbols of the Indian monsoon.

What is Pichwai Art?

The town of Nathdwara in the state of Rajasthan is where the traditional Indian art known as "pichwai" first appeared. It is a form of textile art distinguished by enormous, elaborate paintings on cloth, which are frequently used as backdrops for the statue of Lord Krishna in temples.

What makes Pichwai art distinctive are the following:

the following matters: Lord Krishna's life, particularly his youth and early years, are frequently portrayed in pichwai art. Intricate architectural details, richly drawn flora, and beautiful landscapes are frequent features in the paintings.

Technique: Pichwai art is produced utilizing a variety of techniques, including as block printing, needlework, and painting with natural dyes. Intricate features like gold or silver threadwork may be seen in the paintings, which are often done on material like cotton or silk.

Shades of red, blue, green, and gold are among the vivid, rich hues used in Pichwai art. The majority of the time, these hues come from organic materials like plants, flowers, and minerals.

Symbolism: Intricate references to Lord Krishna and Hindu mythology may be seen frequently in Pichwai artwork. For instance, the peacock, which represents Lord Krishna's love of nature and is a common subject in Pichwai art, is used.

Pichwai art is an ornate and highly detailed style of Indian art that is rich in symbolism and religious importance. It is treasured for its beauty and cultural significance in India, where it is still a very common style of art.

Where is Pichwai Art Famous?

The town of Nathdwara in the Indian state of Rajasthan is well known for its Pichwai artwork. Pichwai art is thought to have originated in Nathdwara, where it has been produced continuously for many years. The Nathdwara temple is known for its beautiful and extremely realistic Pichwai murals, which are typically utilized as backdrops for the image of Lord Krishna there.

Pichwai art is well-liked in various regions of Rajasthan and India in addition to Nathdwara. Since Pichwai art has become more well-known in recent years, many modern artists have started producing their own versions of it. Because of its precise workmanship, vivid colors, and cultural significance, Pichwai art is now valued in India and throughout the world.

How to Start Creating Pichwai Art?

The following methods can help you get started if you're interested in making Pichwai art:

Discover the meanings behind Pichwai art's history and symbols: You should be aware of the cultural and spiritual significance of Pichwai art before you start making it. Investigate the development of Pichwai art, as well as the symbolism and motifs that are frequently used in the works.

Materials selection In the past, Pichwai artists worked on fabrics like cotton or silk to make their works. Depending on the particular methods you intend to utilize, you'll also need paint brushes, natural dyes, and other supplies.

Describe your composition in a sketch: After selecting your supplies, describe the composition of your artwork. Think about the themes and symbolism you want to use, as well as the hues and finishing touches you want to employ.

A variety of techniques are used in Pichwai art, including block printing, needlework, and painting with natural dyes. To improve your technique, try any of these. Before merging these approaches in your final composition, practice each one separately.

Paint your picture: Create your Pichwai painting using the sketches you've made as a guide. To make sure you're including all the components you want to add and that the details are sharp and clear, be patient and take your time.

If you're unfamiliar with Pichwai art, think about enrolling in a workshop or class to pick the brain of an established artist. You can improve your skill and learn more about the art form as a result.

It takes perseverance, practice, and a willingness to study about the rich symbolism and history of Pichwai art in order to produce Pichwai art, but it can be a pleasant and meaningful experience.

What are the Different Types of Pichwai Art?

There are various Pichwai art forms, each with an own aesthetic and subject matter. The following are some of the popular forms of Pichwai art:

Shrinathji Pichwai Lord Shrinathji, a manifestation of Lord Krishna revered in the Nathdwara temple in Rajasthan, is the subject of this particular kind of Pichwai artwork. Lord Shrinathji is frequently depicted in elaborate Shrinathji Pichwais, often encircled by floral and geometric designs.

Gopies Pichwai: This genre of Pichwai art is devoted to the cowherd females, or gopies, of Lord Krishna, who are frequently pictured dancing around the divine figure. Bright hues and detailed detailing are frequent characteristics of gopies pichwais.

Haveli Pichwai: This Pichwai art style is made for the rich patrons' private residences. The vast size and minute features of Haveli Pichwais make them distinctive and frequently depict incidents from Lord Krishna's life.

The Annakut festival, which ushers in the Hindu new year, inspires the creation of this particular style of Pichwai artwork. A mountain of food offerings and images of Lord Krishna are frequent elements in Annakut Pichwais.

Lord Krishna and his surroundings are shown in great detail and realism in Navneet Priya Pichwai art, a particular subset of Pichwai. Intricate floral and geometric patterns, pictures of Lord Krishna's cows, and other animal representations are frequent features of Navneet Priya Pichwais.

Although each variety of Pichwai art has its own distinct subject matter and style, they are all united by their rich cultural importance, detailed details, and vivid colors.

What are the Materials Required to Create Pichwai Art?

Pichwai art is traditionally produced on cloth using natural dyes and a mix of printing, needlework, and painting methods. You may need the following supplies to begin making Pichwai art:

Fabric: Cotton or silk material is commonly used to produce pichwai art. Based on your preferences and the precise technique you intend to employ, you can choose the cloth.

Natural colours: Plant and mineral-based natural dyes have historically been used in Pichwai art. Indigo, madder, and pomegranate are a few examples of typical natural dyes used in Pichwai art.

Brushes: A range of brushes, including fine-pointed brushes for precise work and bigger brushes for larger areas, are required to create Pichwai art.

Materials for block printing: Block printing, which involves imprinting a design on fabric with a wooden block, is a common component of Pichwai art. The block itself, ink or paint, and a flat surface to work on are all required.

Materials for embroidery: Embroidery is a kind of Pichwai art that entails sewing patterns into fabric with a needle and thread. A hoop to hold the fabric taut, embroidery thread, and a needle are all required.

Paints: Pichwai artwork might also include painted accents. Depending on your desire, you can use natural or artificial paints.

Additional tools: You may also want additional instruments, such as scissors, a measuring tape, and a pencil for sketching out your design, depending on the precise techniques you intend to apply.

Remember that Pichwai art necessitates a variety of approaches, so you might not require all of these supplies for every item you produce. Beginning with the fundamentals will allow you to gradually expand your material library as you gain expertise in the medium.

Is Pichwai Art Difficult to Learn?

It can take some time and experience to become an expert at Pichwai art because it takes a combination of techniques, such as block printing, painting, and needlework. But anyone can learn the art form if they put their mind to it and are eager to learn.

If you're unfamiliar with Pichwai art, you might want to begin by studying some of the fundamental methods and progressively developing your talents. Think about enrolling in a class or workshop to learn from a seasoned artist or checking out online courses.

Pichwai art is a traditional art form with cultural and religious importance, therefore it's crucial to approach it with respect and be open to learning about its background and significance.

You may hone your abilities and produce lovely Pichwai artwork with patience, practice, and a dedication to study.

What is the Importance of Pichwai Art?

The town of Nathdwara in Rajasthan, India, is where the major traditional art style known as pichwai art first emerged. The life and deeds of Lord Krishna, who is adored in the Hindu religion, are depicted in it, giving it significant religious and cultural value.

One of the main reasons why Pichwai art is so significant is as follows:

Religion-related significance: In the devotion of Lord Krishna, pichwai art is primarily employed. Many episodes from his life are frequently depicted in the paintings, including his youth, his interactions with the gopis (cowherd girls), and his function as a protector and provider. As a result, Pichwai art has a deep spiritual meaning and plays a significant role in many Hindus' religious rituals.

Cultural heritage: Pichwai art is an ancient legacy that has been passed down through the hands of artists for countless years. It is a significant piece of Rajasthan's and all of India's cultural history. Many Pichwai artists continue to work with conventional methods and supplies, safeguarding the genre for upcoming generations.

Pichwai art is renowned for its fine detailing, vibrant colours, and lovely motifs. It is frequently on exhibit in galleries and museums because of how much people value its aesthetic appeal.

Ultimately, Pichwai art plays a significant role in India's religious and cultural legacy. It is a form of art that is highly regarded and treasured because it has spiritual importance, cultural significance, and aesthetic appeal.

Can You Learn Pichwai Art by Yourself?

You can certainly learn Pichwai art on your own. To get started, it may be good to attend a class or workshop, watch online tutorials, or use other resources since Pichwai art is a traditional art form with a variety of techniques and skills to acquire. This can help you build your talents and offer you a foundation in the methods and supplies used in Pichwai art.

It's crucial to practise frequently and have patience with yourself as you hone your skills when learning Pichwai art independently. Start with simple methods and progress to more intricate ones as you gain experience. To obtain a sense of the topics and style of Pichwai art, it is also beneficial to study the work of seasoned painters.

You might wish to get feedback from other artists or art instructors in addition to practising alone to help you develop your skill and style. You may master Pichwai art on your own with enough time, practise, and a commitment to study.


Pichhwai, which literally translates as "that which hangs from the back" from the Sanskrit words "Pichh" for "back" and "wais" for "hanging," are enormous devotional Hindu paintings of Krishna that are typically painted on fabric. They are mostly created to hang in Pushtimarg-style Hindu temples, particularly the Shrinathji Temple in Nathdwara, Rajasthan, which dates back to 1672. To represent his leelas, they are hanging behind Shrinathji, a localised version of Krishna who serves as the focal point of Pushtimarg devotion.

Another place connected to them was Aurangabad. Other than for aesthetic value, pichhwais are written to tell stories about Krishna to people who cannot read or write. Temples feature collections of various images that are updated in accordance with the schedule of holidays honouring the deity.