What is Sanjhi Art?

by Annie Saxena on Mar 16, 2023

What is Sanjhi Art?

Sanjhi art is a distinctive craft that consists of beautiful paper-cut designs and detailed pictorial themes. This art form was created in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, and it peaked in Vrindavan. Deeply entrenched in traditional culture, this art style gained popularity because to the Vaishnava temples in the 15th and 16th centuries. Brahmin priests have historically employed this art style to create rangolis in temples devoted to Lord Krishna.

Sanjhi art holds a particular place in mythology. It is said that Radha painted her walls with Sanjhi Art in order to catch Lord Krishna's eye. She painted the walls with colored stones, metal foils, and flowers. Using scissors fashioned specifically for Sanjhi motifs, stencils are created on paper. The artist who will be drawing the painting then places these stencils on water or flat surfaces as desired. The stencils are then covered with dry paint before being carefully peeled. Bullock carts, peacocks, cows, horses, trees, butterflies, etc. are a few typical Sanjhi motifs.

What is Sanjhi Art?

Traditional Indian art known as "Sanjhi art" has its roots in the state of Uttar Pradesh. The Braj region of India, which encompasses Mathura, Vrindavan, and the surrounding territories, is the primary location for the practice of this paper-cutting technique.

Cutting elaborate patterns and designs into paper using a pair of scissors is the art of Sanjhi. Usually made of black or white paper, the designs are made by slicing away pieces of the paper to reveal the design. The patterns frequently feature scenes from Hindu mythology, such as Lord Krishna's childhood activities.

Traditional practitioners of Sanjhi art are women, who utilize it to adorn their houses and temples for festivals and other festive occasions. Using a range of instruments, such as scissors, stencils, and paper punches, the drawings are frequently constructed on the ground or on a specific platform.

Sanjhi art is used as a form of meditation and devotion in addition to decoration, with practitioners frequently constructing intricate designs as an act of worship or as an offering to the gods.

A few artists in India still practice Sanjhi art today, and it is now recognized as a distinctive and lovely art form. Also, it has been modified for use in contemporary creations like paper lanterns and greeting cards.

How to Create Sanjhi Art?

Sanjhi art is made by carefully cutting elaborate patterns and designs into paper with scissors or a craft knife. To create Sanjhi art, follow this general instruction:

Black or white paper is the material.

Craft knives or shears



Drawing paper (optional)

Choose a pattern or design you want to use in your Sanjhi art as your guide. Traditional Sanjhi designs can serve as inspiration, or you can come up with something entirely own.

On the paper, use a pencil to sketch the design. To transfer the pattern to the paper, you might find using tracing paper to be useful.

To properly cut out the design, gently trim away the paper pieces that are not a part of it using scissors or a craft knife. With elaborate designs in particular, be careful to cut out the design as precisely as you can.

If any visible pencil marks remain after you have completed cutting out the design, use an eraser to get rid of them.

To produce a striking contrast, spread out a piece of white paper over a coloured area. Nevertheless, if you're using dark paper, you might put a light source behind it to illuminate the pattern.

Sanjhi art is a labor-intensive, complicated art form that calls for a lot of talent and patience. Don't give up if your initial tries are not flawless; it may take some practice to come up with a design that you are happy with. You can make stunning and complex Sanjhi art designs with perseverance and experience.

Which Paper is Used for Sanjhi Art?

Handmade paper in either black or white is typically used to produce Sanjhi art. Usually, the paper is thin and delicate, with a smooth texture that makes it simple to cut elaborate drawings. Depending on how complicated the pattern is being made, different types of paper may be utilized; more intricate designs may require thinner paper.

Some Sanjhi artists today might also work with other kinds of paper, like decorative papers or cardstock that is readily accessible in stores. For traditional Sanjhi art, however, handmade paper is recommended since it enhances the aesthetic value of the work and helps the regional artisans who make it.

It's crucial to use high-quality paper that can be cut with scissors or a craft knife when choosing paper for Sanjhi art. Moreover, the paper must be sufficiently firm to support the pattern without easily tearing or folding.

What is the Origin of Sanjhi Art?

The Braj region of India, which includes Mathura, Vrindavan, and the surrounding territories, is thought to be the place where Sanjhi art first appeared. The artistic style is closely linked to the veneration of Lord Krishna, who is thought to have spent his formative years in this area.

Legend has it that Sati Devi, a follower of Lord Krishna, was the author of Sanjhi art. In order to decorate her home and temple for festivals and other special events, she would cut beautiful paper decorations. As time went on, other local women started to learn the craft from her, and the tradition spread throughout the area.

The festival of Radha Ashtami, which honors the birth of Radha, a cherished friend of Lord Krishna, is closely associated with Sanjhi art. Devotees paint intricate Sanjhi patterns on the floors of their homes and temples during this festival, frequently depicting themes from Hindu mythology.

Sanjhi art is still done today in India by a small number of artists and is regarded as a distinctive and lovely art form. It is honored at numerous art fairs and cultural occasions across India as it has come to be recognized as a significant component of that nation's cultural history.

What are the Different Forms of Sanjhi Art?

The many varieties of Sanjhi art that have developed over time each have their own distinctive style and method. Sanjhi art takes several forms, some of which are as follows:

Paper-cut Using scissors or a craft knife, elaborate motifs are cut out of paper in Sanjhi, the most popular type of Sanjhi art.

Rangoli Sanjhi is a type of Sanjhi art in which patterns are made on the ground or on a tray using colorful powders. Usually, the patterns are either geometric or floral in nature.

Clay Sanjhi: In this type of Sanjhi art, clay is used to create elaborate motifs. The designs are often hand-molded, and brightly colored paint is frequently used.

Leaf Sanjhi: In this type of Sanjhi art, designs are carved out of leaves. Intricate patterns and decorations are created by meticulously cutting and arranging the leaves.

Sanjhi art that uses glass to make designs is known as "glass Sanjhi" and is a relatively recent style. In order to produce a dramatic impression, the designs are frequently lighted after being etched onto the glass with a specific tool.

Each type of Sanjhi art demands a certain set of abilities and processes, and the finished product is a singular and stunning work of art.

What is the Importance of the Sanjhi Art?

A significant form of art in India with artistic, cultural, and religious significance is Sanjhi art. The significance of Sanjhi art can be seen in the following ways:

Sanjhi art is a significant component of the Braj culture of India and is strongly related to that area of the country. The artistic style has come to represent the region's creative legacy since it is frequently utilized to decorate homes and temples during festivals and other special events.

Sanjhi art has a strong religious connotation because many of the designs it produces depict scenes from Hindu mythology. This art style is closely associated with the adoration of Lord Krishna and Radha. Devotees express their devotion and establish a connection with the almighty by making Sanjhi designs.

Sanjhi art is a highly skilled art form that needs a lot of patience, accuracy, and aesthetic skill. It is significant from an artistic perspective. This art form is very amazing, and the elaborate designs it produces are a display for the artists' talent and imagination.

Economic importance: The Braj region of India's Sanjhi art region employs a large number of craftspeople. The art form aids in the preservation of age-old traditions by encouraging these craftspeople to continue using their talents and methods.

Overall, Sanjhi art is a vital component of India's cultural and artistic legacy, and the people who create and appreciate it place a high value on it.

Is Sanjhi Art Easy to Understand?

Since that Sanjhi art is focused on straightforward geometric shapes and patterns, it can be rather simple to interpret. However, mastering the ability of making elaborate Sanjhi designs takes a lot of effort and talent, and it can take years to become adept.

It is necessary to know that the designs are made by cutting out shapes from a sheet of paper or another media in order to comprehend the fundamentals of Sanjhi art. The broader design is then created by arranging these forms in a symmetrical arrangement. Hindu deities are frequently portrayed in the designs, along with geometric patterns and floral themes.

Sanjhi art's fundamental ideas are simple to comprehend, yet the art itself can be rather complex. Artists need a good eye for detail, steady hands, and a thorough understanding of the medium they are working with to produce elaborate patterns. They must also be able to work fast and effectively because it can take hours or even days to create just one Sanjhi design.

Ultimately, Sanjhi art is a highly sophisticated art form that takes a lot of talent and devotion to master, despite the fact that it may be simple to understand on a basic level.

What Make Sanjhi Art Different from Other Art forms?

Sanjhi art is a special kind of art that sets itself apart from other types of art in a number of ways, including:

Medium: Paper that has been meticulously cut into elaborate patterns and designs is often used to produce Sanjhi art. This distinguishes it from other types of art that make use of clay, paint, or other materials.

Technique: The Sanjhi art technique entails using a sharp knife or pair of scissors to cut out complicated forms and decorations. After that, a larger design is created by arranging the designs in a symmetrical arrangement. This method is very different from other types of art that can entail painting, sculpture, or drawing and calls for a great level of ability and accuracy.

Traditional origins: Sanjhi art is deeply rooted in the adoration of Lord Krishna and Radha and has its origins in the Braj area of India. It differs from other types of art because of the profound cultural and theological importance this provides it.

Sanjhi art is a temporary art form that is often produced for a particular event or celebration because of its transient character. The patterns are frequently made with colored powders or flowers on the floor or on a plate, and they aren't meant to last. Sanjhi art differs from other art forms that are meant to be shown or conserved throughout time because of this.

In general, Sanjhi art is a distinct and one-of-a-kind art form that distinguishes itself from other art forms by its medium, technique, traditional roots, and temporal nature.


Sanjhi art is a type of stencilling that originated in Mathura, the city where Krishna was born. It is regarded as one of the best forms of spiritual expression because of the underlying spiritual meanings that go beyond immediate visual appeal. When Sanjhi designs were used to decorate the walls and floors of temples in the 16th and 17th centuries, the art flourished. The word "Sanjhi" is derived from the Hindi word "Sandhya," which refers to the time of day when the art form is most frequently performed. Krishna's Leela is prominently included in the artwork, which depicts Indian mythological stories in a variety of ways.

With specially constructed scissors, stencils are cut out of paper (usually handmade) to produce a Sanjhi design. These stencils are put where the rangoli has to be drawn—on flat surfaces or in water. Afterwards, dry colors are scattered onto the top.