Do You Know About this Beautiful Art at our Railway Station?

At a distance of around 50 km from Udaipur, near the religious town of Nathdwara rests a village named Molela. Molela, also known as ‘potters village’ is quite popular for its unique art form called Molela Terracotta. A settlement of around 40 families belonging to a pottery background lives there. And almost every potter residing in the village has excelled the art of creating Molela terracotta.

Source: India Rail Info

What is Terracotta?

Terracotta is a ceramic material which is used in construction as well as decorative arts since ancient times in many of the cultures all around the world. The word terracotta can be translated as ‘Baked earth’ in English. It is formed from the natural clay which is why it has the characteristic reddish-brown color.

Source: studiopottery

The Potters of the Molela makes multiple kinds of terracotta which include devotional plaques, large panels, temple bells, domestic ware, etc. and out of all that, the hollow votive plaques is the most famous artistry. The art form generally depicts rural village scenes and charming visual narratives and culture of their everyday life.

The inherent charm of these terracotta sculptures attract a plethora of buyers from different places but the demands for these plaques tend to be seasonal. Vessels and statues of the lord are required during the time of harvest or festive seasons. So, to sustain themselves during the lean months, the artisans turn themselves into farmers.


The process of making Terracotta

The process of making a terracotta can be divided into 3 steps:

  • Clay Preparation – the clay used to prepare the sculptures is sourced from local ponds and drains. There two types of clay – Nada, and Alu. Both the clays are mixed with each other along with 20% dried and sifted donkey dung. The clay is then wedged and kneaded by the feet and the hands respectively. This clay is then laid flat on the ground and evened out using water and wooden tools. This then works as the base surface of the sculpture.
Source: DSource
  • Crafting – The wet clay is then cut into the desired shape using a stencil and measuring scale. Incarnations of Durga, Dashavatars, Shrinathji, Gauri nritya, scenes from Ramayana, and everyday village life is the most popular depiction in terracotta. Parts of these forms such as limbs, face, and body are made by the basic techniques such as squeezing, pinching and coiling. These parts are then attached to the wet clay to create a firm shape. Once, the figures get a firm shape, ornaments, eyes and other details are added to the sculpture.
Source: DSource


  • Firing – The dried sculptures are then stacked in a circular opening meant for firing. This is the most convenient form of firing the sculptures. This kiln is constructed with bricks. The sculptures are loaded in the kiln on cow dung cakes and is sealed with a few layers of pottery shards. The temperature of the kiln is around 600-700 centigrade and the products are fired for a period of 4 to 6 hours.
Source: DSource

People of Molela

‘Murtikala’ is the art form which has been passed from generation to generation, getting evolved with generation. Amongst numerous artisans in the village, one of the pioneers of this art form is Mohanlal Chaturbuj Kumhar who has been practicing and teaching the art to his family members and other people of the village from around a decade. His sons, Dinesh and Rajendra has been actively involved in this craft work.

Source: DSource

For the same, Mohanlal Ji has been awarded several national and international awards. In 2012, he was awarded by the prestigious Padmshree award by the former president of India Ms. Pratibha Patil. Moreover, Mohanlal Ji founded an institution named ‘Mohan Terracotta Art Research & Development Centre’ to teach the people of the world, the unique art of Molela Terracotta. 

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Bet You Didn’t Know This is What Udaipur is Famous For!!

If you think the answer is lakes, then my friend you guessed it wrong. Most of the people in the city believe that Udaipur is famous for its beautiful lakes, but there is an art that is exclusive to the city and has the maximum number of artists of the same. By maximum number I literally mean quite a huge number, you can find these artists in every alley of the old city. And not just confined to the old city, many art galleries showcase a variety which is located outside a set circumference.

Well, Udaipur-the City of Lakes is famous for its Miniature Art, not only in India but also overseas.

Miniature Art
Source: Pinterest

Know what Miniature Art is and How it’s Made

Each creation takes from a couple of days to weeks to design depending on the detailing and size of artwork. The paintings are made with true stone colors. The powder is mixed with water and gum. To check if the color mix is ready to be used for art, it needs to be touched with a finger to see if it doesn’t stick back which confirms that the color is mixed well. It can then be used for painting on silk cloth or canvas. Black colors are derived from soot which is obtained from vessels put over chulhas fireplace used for cooking in villages. Gum doesn’t mix very quickly with these stone colors hence some laborious mixing is needed to develop them into colors apt for painting.

The making

The making of a miniature painting involves some critical steps:

  • Sketching

Done in reddish-brown ink, on paper.

  • Tracing

Once the sketch is done, the design is drawn on the main paper or canvas.

  • Coloring

After coloring and shading, the outlines of the object, as delineated in the initial sketch, are reconfirmed by a darker tone and the figures are given a well-finished form.

  • Stippling

Stippling is the process of softly stroking or shading by using small dots with a very fine brush.

History Of the Miniature Art

Miniature Art
Source: Webneel

The most excellent examples of painting belong to the first half of the 16th century, represented by a group of miniatures generally named as the “Kulhadar Group.” This group includes illustrations of the ‘Chaurapanchasika’ – “Fifty Verses of the Thief by Bilhan, the Gita Govinda, and the Bhagavata Purana and Ragamala. The style of these miniatures is marked by the use of brilliant contrasting colors, dynamic and angular drawing, and transparent drapery.

The miniature painting art form is famed across the world, but in the Asian subcontinent art, historians consider Rajasthan to be one of its cultural centers. Historians believe the Mughals to be the importers of miniature painting to India from Persia. Humayun’s team of Persian artists established the foundation of miniature art painting, while Akbar gave them patronage and had them train Indian artists to create art representing the royal Mughal life.

Featuring an Eminent Artist of Miniature

miniature art
Suchitra Soni

Suchitra Soni is one prominent artist in Udaipur, who has been painting for more than a decade, says that the art is mostly liked by foreigners and people who are new to this art form. She adds that this art-form requires intensive efforts and dedication as it is an intricate form of art. The art also involves using of 24 karat gold water and color that adds value to the painting.  She works under the name ‘Artistaan’ (formerly Winning Spirit) and values her art a lot. She has exhibited her work at various national and international galleries as well.

We visited her place, and undeniably it was a home of an artist. She also deals with Canvas making and several other forms of painting. The whole room, where she works, was filled with the aroma of colors and we could spot so many types of brushes and other drawing material. She also told us about the various forms of Miniature Art and how on the different variety of paper and ivory sheet or silk cloth the paintings are made. The brushes used are also very distinct from the usual ones and have very fine points or tips.

Upon querying about the time consumed to make an average size Miniature Art, she told us that it takes around 2-3 weeks to do the detailing while it may take a month or so to make a painting that requires intricate work.

Her conviction in her art is immense, and she runs classes of the same to teach the new generation about this ancient form of art.

Watch some of her art below:

Miniature Art
Her First Miniature Art


Miniature Art


Miniature Art
Fine Art- Miniature Art


Miniature Art
Radha Krishna Miniature Art


Miniature Art
Kangra Miniature Art


Miniature Art
Mughal Miniature Art


Miniature Art
A painting in Process


Miniature Art
A Painting in Process