The Kota-Bundi style paintings that grace the walls of Kota railway station is a reminder of Rajasthan’s royal past. The state government has recently given a facelift to several rail stations in the state by painting the walls and cleaning the surroundings, Kota being one of them. However, this declining form of art does not have many takers any longer and only a handful of artistes have been trying to conserve this particular school of painting.
The fascinating range of paintings that was once used to deck up the walls of forts, palaces and heritage buildings also depicts the life and times of erstwhile Rajput rulers. From Shikar (hunting) to courtroom activities, royal processions and musical jamboree, the elaborate paintings on the station and waiting room walls have been a talking point for many tourists who have visited the city.
One of the few remaining artistes of the Kota-Bundi style of paintings, Mohammad Lukman (54), along with his team, has been working since February last to decorate the station walls. “The Kota administration has facilitated the entire project and it will take us a couple of months more to finish the painting. So far, we have completed around 20 pieces of artwork on the station walls,” Lukman said.
Lukman’s family has been practising and promoting the genre for the last five generations. Asked about the uniqueness of Kota-Bundi paintings, he said that the form dates back to 16th century and has its own style of depicting events. “Some of the shikar paintings have earned accolades across the globe. The human figures in the paintings have spherical eyes, pointed and lean nose. Also, we use organic colors to give it a distinct feel.”
Narayan Singh, another painter from Sawai Madhopur, has been helping Lukman with the project. Together, they have made around two dozen paintings of wildlife and birds at the platform no 4 of the station.
The member of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), Firoz Ahmad, said that Kota-Bundi style is a dying art with only a few good artistes left to practice the traditional form. The Kota station project will boost their morale and also give them a chance to promote it.
Anju Tale (46), a passenger who was waiting for her train at the station, said: “These paintings reflect the heritage of Rajasthan. It creates a perfect royal ambience for the tourists as soon as they de-board the train,”
Additional district magistrate (administration) of Kota, Sunita Daga, said around Rs 20 has been allotted to complete the project.