There are many painting traditions all over the country, associated with different region. The town of Nirmal town located amidst the dense forests in Northern part of Telangana, is renowned for its exclusive painting tradition. These paintings were influenced by the Indian Schools of Art like Kangra, Ajanta as well as Mughal miniatures. The evolution of the Nirmal art and craft is also traced back to the old era of Kakatiya dynasty.
The community of craftsmen based in Nirmal are also called as ‘Naqash’. Most of these paintings feature traditional art scenes related to the Hindu epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata and other aspects, inspired by nature, birds and animals etc. According to the legend, the Nizam of Hyderabad was impressed by the grand welcome he received once during his visit to Nirmal. The artisans decorated the venue and the seat of the Nizam in a very grand manner with an intricately designed banana bud which was believed to have been suspended over the Nizam’s seat and when this was unfurled, a cascade of golden petals showered on him. The Nizam then started patronizing the artisans, recognizing their unique skills and artwork.
The Moghul miniatures are also crafted on soft white wood, called Puniki and they are eventually painted. The colors used in Nirmal paintings are mostly the familiar gold color. These are produced naturally from the extracts of herbs, vegetable dye, gum, and minerals etc. Nirmal craftsmen also create lacquered furniture, boxes, bowls, large screens, trays, toys, and pictures, which are painted with finesse and attention to detail.
In this process, initially lacquering of the wood surface is done followed by painting according to the precise design. The conventional designs are painted in bright and flat colors and the touch up is done with gold and it is finally varnished. The golden color found in this work is actually extracted from herbal extracts. The Nirmal painting of Mughal miniatures is highly attractive. With aging, they acquire a special muted glow that is considered impeccable.
Nirmal has become synonymous with exquisite painting tradition all over the world and it is a matter of pride for Telangana. The paintings are gifted as souvenirs by admirers of art and art collectors.