Indian folk Art -Cheriyal Painting

Backyard Tourism– In this blog, I have shared some ‘Keynotes on Cheriyal Paintings of Telangana‘ as well as pictures of my first attempt of making one.

The past few months have been surreal and it is still hard to believe that these ‘social distancing days’ have changed the course of our lives. No doubt, I have missed travel, but I have also loved being at home. Only if we could do away with the stress of loved ones getting sick or people losing jobs or travel coming to halt, I would want more of this slow life. On the overwhelming days, I have been grateful to my hobbies for keeping me creative and focused. If you have followed my work, you would know that I have made more than 140 illustrations during last six months. I have found unexpected solace in art. And now, after writing a book which has a wholesome dose of my art work, I am also working on a new theme called- Traveling with art, where I learn about Indian ethnic art by making one myself. As part of this, I will be sharing some key features of Cheriyal Scroll Paintings from Telangana, today. I read about it and attempted the style with pencil colors and colored pens.

I have been using all this extra time in hand in learning several traditional art forms of India. This one from Telangana really caught my interest as I am located in Vijayawada these days and I am placed very close to it. Next time, whenever I will visit Hyderabad, I will definitely include Cheriyal in my itinerary. Despite having a Geographical Indication (GI) tag, the art and the artists have their own struggles. Let us find out how much do we know about Cheriyal paintings.

Cheriyal paintings were used to tell stories. This one captures an important aspect of the current times. The lady is making Rangoli outside her house and spreading the message to stay home.

Unique Features of Cheriyal Scroll Paintings!

  • It hails from a small town Cheriyal, which is 90 kilometres away from Hyderabad in the state of Telangana in India.
  • This painting style is named after the place from where it originates. Colloquially, it is also called Cheriyal Nakashi.
  • This is an art form where artists paint scrolls for storytelling. These painted stories were also accompanied by songs and dances.
  • It is believed that it has been in practice since 12th century. The paintings from the experienced artists capture Indian mythology of Krishna Leela, Ramayana to local festivals like Bonalu, Sammaka Saraka and Sankranti.
  • These scrolls are made on khadi cloth. They are coated with natural stuff like tamarind seed paste, rice starch, chalk powder and tirumani (tree) gum.
  • All natural colors were used made from indigo, sea shells, tamarind seeds and coloured stones.
  • Originally, it was used by artists to take their stories and ballads from one village to another. It made for a perfect visual aid to spread the teachings. There were stories from Hindu mythology.
  • Not many colors are used. The USP of scroll paintings are the use of bright red backgrounds and the palette consists of bright colors like blue, green, yellow, black and white.
  • In 1976, the state government identified cheriyal art as a handicraft and in 2008, it was given its due with a GI (Geographical Indication) status.
  • The floral borders are typical of the single episodes or panels. In the olden days, these scrolls did not thrive in isolation. They had more than 50 panels and each one took the story forward. Now they have become like single paintings and adorn walls as home-decor.
  • Times have changed. Artists are adapting to new ways to enhance its popularity. Some of them have adapted the style of Cheriyal paintings to masks, mobile covers, key chains, tissue boxes, paper weights and more.
  • Cheriyal paintings are the artistic pride and heritage of Telangana.

Covid Art -Cheriyal Painting
My first attempt of making a Cheriyal painting.

If you are curious about Indian folk art and interested in knowing more about it, do read about WARLI ART, GOND ART, PHAD ART, KALAMKARI and more.

Written by

Manjulika Pramod

An engineer who loves to be called a blogger more!
Traveler, short-story writer, voracious reader, foodie is the better me!
Reading, eating, traveling, exploring, observing and blogging are the beautiful highs of my life.