Monday, January 05, 2009

If Ganesha could speak..

...he will perhaps tell the story of Umreth. In regions throughout India, it's considered auspicious to have a Ganesha at the entrance of your house. Here in Umreth, he is carved right on the door frame. These are some of the doors where I found very intricately carved Ganesha along with beautiful, perhaps Arabic inspired design.

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Sunday, January 04, 2009

Fading art

Umreth is one of those places that has a rich cultural history. It used to be very famous for a particular type of wall paintings. By which I mean, paintings ON the outside walls.

The paintings are colorful. I don't know the type of colors they used, but my guess is some earth-based colors. The use of what is called Khadi seems prominent in these. The doors and windows surroundings are adorned with the characters I know nothing about.

The subject of these paintings seems to be rooted in mythology or perhaps popular kings. Why were they painted ? What is their significance ? The questions I don't know the answers to. I was told that artists in Umreth specialized in this type of wall art, and were renowned in the state of Gujarat for it.

Sadly, this special art form no longer seems to be practiced, or valued for that matter. The colors are fading, the details unrecognizable, and the walls themselves coming apart. Perhaps there are still some of those renowned artists left somewhere to pass it on to the next generation.

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