Thursday, January 28, 2021
Jammu and Kashmir


Arts in Jammu Province


The art products, specially the celebrated miniatures of Basohli (132 Km from Jammu, now a dilapidated township) have a pride of place in the great art museums of the world. The Amar Mahal Palace and the Dogra Art Gallery in Jammu, house collections of these exquisite paintings in the state. An extraordinary terseness of the compositions, depicted with intense feeling and the utmost economy of line are the distinguishing features of the Basohli Qalam paintings. Another unique characteristic feature is their  strong local flavour, typified by the brave romantic hero courting the frail but beautiful lady.

At the folk level, the typical art of the Jammu area can be seen on the walls of baulis or the constructions around a spring, usually in the vicinity of a temple. As in different parts of India, the walls are usually ornamented with sculptures or engravings of gods and goddesses. The naga provides a common motif for their ornamentations. Enduring specimens of Bauli art, noted for their excellence are to be found at Billavar, Sukrala, Sudh Mahadev and Udhampur. Wall paintings in the huts of villagers surprise the onlooker with the degree of artistry attained by the folk. 


Dance, music and songs of the Jammu division also reflect the life of the folk, like the march of seasons, sowing and harvesting of crops, births, marriages and deaths. Kudd is the popular dance of the upland dwellers. Usually performed at night after the sowing or other agricultural operations are over, Kudd starts with a slow rhythm, the dancers (wearing churidar and pyjamas or long robes falling to the knees) dance round and round a fire in an open space. To the lively accompaniment of musicians playing on the flute, drum and narasinha, the tempo of the dance rises to a crescendo until the dancers, uttering loud cries are quite tired.

Another typical folk dance of the rural people of Jammu region, inhabiting the areas between the uplands and the plains is Phummian (the word meaning 'blooming', in Dogri). The gaily attired dancers open and close their fingers to symbolise the flowers in bloom.

  Bhangra, the vigorous folk dance associated more with the Punjab, is quite popular among the people of the plains in the Jammu district. High-spirited revelry, the dancers leaping in the air, performing acrobatic feats, distinguish this virile dance, which has become a feature of marriage processions.

Particularly popular during the Lori festival in Jammu is the folk dance called Dandaras. An effigy made of bamboos and coloured paper, resembling a peacock, is carried by each group of dancers, who dance around it with gusto. Each one carries a short stick and dancer hits the sticks carried by the other group. The skilled dancer is the one who can hit the sticks of others, himself gyrating in different postures


As for Dogri-Pahari music, it has a long and rich tradition. Songs welcoming different seasons are accompanied with the virile Bhangra and other dances. The musicality of Dogras appears at its best in the singing of different forms of folk songs. The wind instruments used are nagaja (or galjoja), turturi, kail, narsinha and nafeeri. The stringed musical instruments are king, chakara and iktara. Among the drums, besides the dholki, nagar and duff are popular.