Distance : 27km from Ajmer
Kishangarh a small sleepy little town
located 27 Km from Ajmer, was once the capital of a princely state
ruled by the Rathores.Major Circuits
¤ Kishangarh - Foremost school of Miniature Paintings
It nurtured one of the finest schools of miniature paintings in the
18th century. The Bani Thani style of miniature painting in Kishangarh
went through a spurt of excellence under Nihal Chand - painter in
court of Raja Sawant Singh.
Founded in 1597 by Kishan Singh, the maharaja of Jodhpurs son,
this rather small and sleepy town on National Highway 8 is famous for
its miniature paintings. Originally a tiny Rathore fiefdom flanked by
the powerful kingdoms of Marwar, Amber and Mewar (Udaipur), Kishangarh
was a loyal part of first the Mughal and later the British empires. In
the 18th century, the Bani Thani style of miniature painting in
Kishangarh went through a spurt of excellence under Nihal Chand, a
painter in the court of Raja Sawant Singh.
¤ The Bani Thani Style of Painting
The Bani Thani style of painting got its name from a story with a
twist of romance it it. In the Kishangarh court during the 18th
century there ruled a poet-king called Raja Samant Singh (1699-1764)
who had eyes only for Bani Thani, a court singer and poet. Bani Thanis
eyes were what drew Samant Singh to her, and so did her singing.
Seeing Bani Thani singing in his court each day helped the kings
heart grow fonder. Now Samant Singh wrote poetry under the name of
Nagari Das, and since Bani Thani was a poet in her own right too, love
was not far behind.
¤ Romance Prevailed in Paintings
The romance was much talked about, and Samant Singh was fortunate to
have an artist by the name of Nihal Chand in his court who
immortalised their love in a miniature painting to start with.
Eventually Samnat Singh gave up his throne to retire to the forests of
Vrindavan with his beloved, and Nihal Chand painted away in his unique
style, immortalising the lovers.
¤ Paintings Portraits the Radha and Krishna Divine Lover
The Bani Thani style essentially deals with Radha and Krishna with
the royal lovers as models. This school of painting depicts Radha and
Krishna as divine lovers, a form which emphasises on subtlety and not
exaggeration. Radha and Krishna are often portrayed in courtly
surroundings with a massive backdrop as compared to the figures
themselves. The divine pair are mostly shown with long noses, large
wavy eyes and rangy chins, a style which may have seemed a little
offbeat even for those times.
¤ Bani Thani- The Mona Lisa of Rajasthan
Leonardo da Vincis Mona Lisa was already a big name the world
over, and the people of Kishangarh picked up this name and began
calling Bani Thani the `Mona Lisa of Rajasthan!
¤ Excursion From Kishangarh
25km away from Kishangarh is Roopangarh. Worth visiting is Roop Singh
Rathores fort aka Roopangarh fort on the banks of Lake Gandalan
which forms an almost perfect reflection of the edifice. The fort
contains a number of fine miniature paintings of deities and religious
epics, and it was through these paintings that the region became
famous during early 18th century. The main entrance to the fort is
through a pointed arched gateway painted with elephants and guards.
Parts of the fort have now been converted into a hotel by the maharaja
and maharani of Kishangarh. Tours of the fort are pretty interesting
as is the common folklore attached to it. Also check out Phool Mahal
palace which has also been turned into a hotel by the present maharaja