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Rang Malhaar/ Welcoming The Monsoon In Jaipur

People familiar with the Indian classical music must have heard Raag Malhaar. Malhaar is a raag or raga as some call it in Indian classical music. As per legends, Malhaar has power to attract rain showers. This inspired a few painters & artists in Jaipur to start “Rang Malhaar” some 9 years ago switching “Raag” with “Rang” . The word Rang stands for colour.

Every year, these artist congregate in the month of July for a painting camp and paint together with the belief that they too can attract rains like Indian classical music singers singing Megh Malhaar. Unlike, many countries where rain is considered as a nuisance, in India rain is equal to rejuvenation. Rain provides a respite from the long and hot summer months. It is a major source of irrigation for the millions of Indian farmers. The entire weather cycle depends on the seasonal rain called Monsoon. Have you heard of an award-winning movie Monsoon Wedding by Mira Nair?

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Jaipur in Monsoon

I visited Rang Malhaar on a Sunday afternoon. This was the first time I had the opportunity to do so. Last year the artists painted bicycles, this year they chose the traditional lanterns or lamps. Artists in Rang Malhaar paint on everyday objects rather than a canvas. Why lamps? Because there is a strong connection of color with the light.

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Lanterns at Raag Malhaar
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To be painted…

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The venue of the art camp was Anand Bihari Ji Temple, a heritage temple in Chandni Chowk, Jaipur City Palace. The temple façade was under renovation and scaffolding adorned its exteriors. I have never written about this temple but I have write-ups on other temples of Chandni Chowk – Pratapeshwar Temple and Brijnidhi Temple.

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An old picture of Anand Bihari Ji temple, which I shot a few years ago.

The office area was converted into a make-shift art camp. Not cent percent sure but probably a government department related to astronomy functions here. Even though space was limited but it didn’t hamper the creativity of artists.

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Painters at Anand Bihari Ji Temple, Jaipur

 

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Some of the artists were painting in the open space on a terrace.

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I interacted with a few artists. I was told that this art camp is a brainchild of Mr. Vidhyasagar Upadhaya, a well-known and recognized artist in Jaipur. In the current edition, this art camp was simultaneously held in all major cities of the state. The event is completely self-funded and there is no commercial interest. One can only be impressed with this information.

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The artist who were busy painting in the open had to run for cover. I did not attend their final exhibition which took place the next day but I was impressed with the concept of an art camp.

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Using thread work on a lantern
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Tricolor lantern! Dedicated to the Indian Flag.
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The face! Lantern work by Gouri Shankar Soni

 

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I’m not sure whether it is a coincidence or the power of Rang Malhar, it startd raining within a few minutes.

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Rain and Anand Bihari Temple

 

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Chandni Chowk, Jaipur

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Seeing so many artists congregating irrespective of their levels or age is inspiring; I’m glad I chose to visit Rang Malhaar. We hardly get to see the lantern these days. I have only seen them in the modern café where they are used as a lampshade and never for its utility. It is true that what loses its use only relegates to the history and so shall lantern. In current times, CFL and incandescent lamps have lost relevance and LED is a way forward. Have you ever seen or attended such art camps? What do you think about them?

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86 thoughts on “Rang Malhaar/ Welcoming The Monsoon In Jaipur

    1. Thanks, Sunita! Yes, the entire landscape changes with the arrival of monsoon. The forest around Jaipur is monsoon forest. I have highlighted this in my previous post too.

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    1. You are right Cheryl that Jaipur art scene is vibrant. To be honest, I don’t visit or attend all art events. I attend less than 10% of such events. Most such events are well covered in local dailies. Do you love art, Cheryl?

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  1. The lamps remind me my childhood in kolkata. Most of the days there would be load shutting and these lamps were handy.. There were many days when I had to use this lamp to do my homework.. It was surprising me when i saw the use of this lamp in Singapore by the Chinese. They lit this lamp on a wake to show that there has been a death in the neighbour. Light plays different roles in people’s life .. Wonderful picture😃

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    1. So this post rekindled your childhood memories? I’m happy it struck a chord! well, the world is changing. Quite fast! Just imagine how important it was some 30-50 years ago, and now? I guess I missed what you described having seen in Singapore during mine visit. Thanks for this information. Thanks for appreciating and stopping by! 🙂

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