Folk Songs and Folk dances are the traditional way of amusement and entertainment of the people of Sirohi. With development of the civilization and education, in modern & sophisticated society today the folk songs and dances had now being considered as the tradition of the uncultured society. In the so called cultured society the songs and dances are performed only on the special occasions like birth of a child, marriage ceremony and these are also influenced by the films and other media. They are far away from the traditional songs which are full of melody and classical, in the sense that they are based on some ragas. Tribal and people residing in rural area are found of singing folk songs and performing the folk dances on the occasion of festivals, fair, marriages and religious occasions etc.
These folk songs and dances have variety of feeling included in them. They show affections of brother for the sister, Lover for his beloved etc. Sometimes these folk songs also express the feeling of sorrow and pains of these people. These folk songs and dances are means of expressing their feelings.
Some of the examples of the marriage folk songs are Mayra Song, Song sung for the bride/ bridegroom called songs of Bandana and song of Toran. In which Mayra song is sung when the brother arrives to his sisters house for attending his nephews marriage and it express the feelings of the sister for her brother.
On the occasion of mayra the brother brings costly gifts for his sister, brother in law, nephews etc. Toran Song is sung when the Bride arrives to bridegrooms house with barat procession and reach to the gate of the house of the bridegroom, this may be considered to be the first step of commencing the marriage ceremony.
On the fortnight of the marriage, special type of folk dances and folk songs are organized and these are called MARAT NACHNA. The males and females perform solo & group dances till late night. On these occasion there is also a fashion of performing SARKALI and GAVRI dance. The traditional drum and Thali are used as musical instruments. Gair dances are performed in the Month of FALGUN (which fall between February & March) and on holi festival. Tribal women perform VALAR dances wearing colorful costumes which presents attractive look
On the occasion of the DHAJERI GYARAS fair is organized in SARNESHWAR Temple. This fair is only for the RABBARI caste and people of other castes are not allowed to enter in the temple for that particular day. It is essential for Rabbaries to wear their traditional dresses's. The males and females sings and dances for the whole day and in the night the women sings and the men see dance of ORIYA. The ORIYA is a folk dancer from KHEDA caste and perform dances on these occasions
The Gacchi Ghodi dance is very attractive dance performed by the tribal people, in which a costume is weared by man and it looks as if the man is sitting on a horse. The photograph on the left hand side shows a Kacchi Ghodi dance. On the occassion of the Navratri Festival. GARBA dance is performed. On the occasion the men and women wears colorful costumes and dance in circle.
Fair & Festivals
Revadi Fair (Celebrated At Sirohi )
Sirohi is surrounded and influenced by three traditional culture, Marwar, Mewar and Gujarat. So, its festivals and fairs are colorful. In Pindwara and Aburoad Tehsil, fairs and festivals are organized at ancient temple sites and the tribal participates in the large in number with their tradition colorful dresses, ornaments and weapons. In such fairs the youth of tribal community selects their match while dancing with umbrella and colorful handkerchiefs. These fairs are know organized at Gopeshwar 2 km's away from Pindwara towards Udaipur, Markandeshwar, Ajari, Siyava (Aburoad) and Rishikesh near Aburoad. Other fair sites are Lotana, Rameshwar, Kedarnath, Amli, Valoriya, Vasanthgarh.
Tehsil wise famous fairs are as under
Gautam Ji - Chautila Hill - This fair is of meena community which is devoted to Gautam Rishi, a God of Meena community. The occassion is celebrated on 13 th April of every year. Seeing good oman, the meena dig a pit in the Sukhdi river and on the day Ganga appears and last till the fair is over.
Kambeshwar Mahadev - On Kanakolar hill (Sheoganj Tehsil). The fair is organized by people and dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is artistik with culture and heritage.
Vambeshwar Mahadev - Jadoli Veer (Sheoganj Tehsil)
Jagnath Fair - Organized at Sheoganj town.
Pabuji Fair - On the river bed of Jawai river mainly of Bhils.
Sarneshwar Fair - Near Sirohi.
Sheetla Mata Fair - Sirohi Town.
Kalkaji Fair - Sirohi Town.
Jageshwar Fair - Sirohi Tehsil.
Godi Parshavnath Fair - At Mohabat Nagar.b
Mirpur Parshavnath Fair - At Mirpur.
Vaidyanath Fair - At Falvadi village.
Brahma ji Fair - At kalandri.
Varada Hanuman Fair - At Varada Village.
Liladhari Mahadev Fair - At Mandar
Jiravala Parshavnath Fair - At Jiraval
Karrodidwaj Fair - At Karrodidwaj village
Jageshwar Mahadev Fair - At Dantrai Hill, in Dantrai village
Paintings of Sirohi - An Independent Existence
Till three decades ago, Sirohi paintings were considered to be a sub-school of Marwar. Exact provenance was not known. Around fifties, the business of antique, including the search for paintings had started. It so happened that a burnisher brought one complete set of Ragamala from Basantgarh. Other burnishes named Nawab & Jagirdar who were already involved in the business, brought this set first to Ramgopal Vijayvergiya, a very famous contemporary painter of Bengal tradition, who use to buy paintings in bulk and in fact started this business in Jaipur. The set could not be sold to Vijayvergiya due to price they asked for. Meanwhile they got the entire set copied by some local artist of Jaipur.
The original one were acquired by Kr. Karan Singh of Nawaigarh. Earlier, these paintings were considered to be that of Basantgarh. This theory was later amended by Kr. Sangram Singh who de cleared that these belonged to Sirohi. Burnisher Bhanvarya who brought the original set from Basantgarh also brought 15 pages of Kalpasutra. The whereabouts of these leafs is not known. They could have added more to our knowledge of this kalam.
As for format, Sirohi paintings are available in mostly two sizes. One, manuscript paintings, very small in size, finding space between calligraphy or the text. Some pages are purely independent too, bearing the text on the reverse or even without text. These pages are usually rectangular and its general layout. Manuscript paintings are usually on a single page, having a little border to the left and right with folio number and their information's. Other paintings are executed on paste-board, like school of Rajasthan paintings. Paste-board or Vasali of Sirohi paintings is usually of three papers of about 8" x 10" in size. Since we do not find much of other courtly or mundane subjects, depicted in this school, our main concern will revolve around Ragamala paintings. Some drawings and pounces are available in the collection of Dr. Sohan Lal Patni of Sirohi, who had done scholarly study of Sirohi's Art & Culture, including history. These drawings reveal both the aspects i.e. folk and refine way of execution with other subjects like nakiya, war scene, goddess Sarswati, Laila Majnu and Krishna theames.
Colors of Sirohi paintings are bright and pure, Skill full used with undertones and sub-tones to enhance the glow and contrast of colors. Pure white against pure black is a Marwar idiom. Use of scarlet, red, yellow and blue with pure sheds of brown like radish brown, Turkish brown etc. and bright and subdued greens, all are managed so well that the effect gives a sober look to the paintings and viewers will feel astonished with absolutely original and new concept. Sirohi painters exploited the power of line and co lour for braking the form, and cutting the sharpness of bright colors. Harmonious and different colors live together like a well maintained garden where thrones and flowers live and furnish together, pleasing the viewers with spontaneous contrast. Each space and form is first enhanced by deep shadows and later curbed with light or dark lines on deep and light part equally.
This line treatment is obvious in border which is always scarlet. Painting is divided with a border, a strong white thick line bearing two black lines on inner and outer side. Border towards paintings is deepened with crimson, covering half of the border with a vanishing tone in the Centre. Sometimes, corners are controlled angularly and sometimes in a simple treatment of brush turning at the right angle. The dark tone is curbed with white thin line of white co lour which creates an extra pleasing effect. This type of treatment of line can be seen in the whole composition, controlling figures and forms, architecture, flora and fauna equally. Use of blue in its various tones is peculiar in Sirohi. Broad flat masses of different colors give a pleasure of painting, more balancing narrative ness in the composing.
Sirohi style of painting is inclined more towards folk. I includes Marwar and Mewar influences along with Mugal fashion which was rather mixed in Rajasthani culture. After deciding the provenience, the style became so distinct to viewers that a particular painting can be easily ascribed to this school due to her strong character and style, co lour and format and above all limited subjects. It might be a case of study that why only Ragamala Painting were executed and why other courtly and mundane subjects were not painted. The only possible reason seems to be that there must not have been atelier type of work place. Only some painters trained to paint Kalpasutra must have tried this subject on the basis of some source of drawings or a set. This style is their own version.
Architectural setting is quite distinctive in this schools of painting. It seems that the, painters obtained a set formula but could not follow them fully. So some confusion can obviously be seen in the placing of the various forms. Very obvious confusion can obviously be seen in the placing of the various forms. Very obvious confusion can be seen in the drawing of the eaves, balconies and small niches. But on the other hand, this spontaneous mistake help us recognize the style. The wall paintings available in the Sirohi palace and temples have a variety of subjects. But those on paper do not. Jain paintings form a big lot of Sirohi paintings. During the 11th century, many towns and villages became dislocated, people moved towards Gujarat. They took with them their cultural heritage including the manuscripts which merged there. This caused confusion to the scholars and Sirohi paintings were considered to be from Gujarat.
Early paintings of Sirohi are related to Jain religion. Amongst them, Darshan Chobeesia, Kalikacharya, Kalpasutra, Sangrahani sutra and Upadeshamala Devi Mahatmya etc are the painted manuscripts. The Kalpasutra resembles the earlier central Indian Gujarat style. This manuscript is also savachashma, in which the other eye is also painted in full size, going out of the drawing of the face and thus giving a peculiar look. Predominantly red and blue colors are used in flat masses as was the trend of those days.
Sangrahani Sutra is a Jain story. In this religion it is be lived tat there are seven seas in which salt, honey etc can be counted. There are many rivers too. There is an imaginative geographical map of the universe which is calculated according to the old scale of Yojana.
Kalikacharya Katha is related to the sage kalak. His sister was very beautiful King Gardabhilya of Ujjain fell in love and took her to his palace. Sage kalak planned to defeat hi and to set her sister free. He invited the king of Sakas for the purpose. Saka king fought with Gardabhilya but could not succeed easily. Later it came to known that Gardabhilya had mystic power. During the war that mystic power used to cry harshly sounding like a donkey. Due to this cry, the opposite army could not handle their weapons and fainted. Kalak recited some antidotes. This resulted in neutralizing the Gardabhilya's mystic power and he was defeated. Thus, kalak managed to rescue his sister. Saka's came from Seeston which was probably situated towards Iran. These kings were known as Kshatriyas. Sakas use to call themselves Sahis, which may be a version of Shahi. These days Saha, Sahu etc. are different versions of Sahi, according to Ramgopal Vijayvergiya.
Normally wall paintings are considered inferior in quality and craftsmenship as compared to the paintings executed on paper. But if we compare Sirohi mural with miniature paintings, we find that some of the wall paintings executed are meticulously executed well. It may lead us to believe that there must have been one class of painters who painted on walls and paper simultaneously.
Maharaj Akhairaj got the fort and palace constructed and decorated it with murals. We mainly find subjects like Krishna Lila, Indra Sabha and Shiv Lila etc. in the palace. Shiv Lila and Indra Sabha paintings of the palace have influenced the paintings in Durgeshwar Mahadev Temple. Unfortunately the Durgeshwar murals have vanished. Some photographic documents have been maintained by Dr. Sohan Lal Patni. Some hermitages of ascetics devoted to Sharneshwarji temple contained wall paintings but now every such record has vanished due to continuous white washing.
Technically there is not much variation in the execution of Murals, manuscripts and miniature paintings of Sirohi, as compared to other school of Rajasthani paintings. Creative men tried to use the colors available in the nature and also searched for the new colors from various sources.
Surprisingly, in whatever stock of the paintings on wall and paper is available, we could not find mention of the name of the artist. Only one drawing having a small inscription at its back, gives us one name. We cannot understand how only one could dare to write his name.