Kishangarh tourism showcases the foremost school of miniature paintings of India that got a spurt of excellence under Nihal Chand - painter in court. Tourism in Kishangarh provides with a comprehensive guide to the world renowned, Bani Thani style of paintings also knows as the Mona Lisa of Rajasthan India.

India - Rajasthan - Kishangarh

Kishangarh Town

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.

¤ 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 Jodhpur’s 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 Thani’s eyes were what drew Samant Singh to her, and so did her singing. Seeing Bani Thani singing in his court each day helped the king’s 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 Vinci’s 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 Rathore’s 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 Kishan Singh.

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