An Ancient Art Tradition Flourishes In The Forests Of Jharkhand

The Piatkar Scroll Paintings made by tribal artists of the Amadubi Rural Tourism Village are a wonder to behold
A Piatkar painting on the walls of a hut
A Piatkar painting on the walls of a hutCopyright: Kirti Alok from welcometojamshedpur.in

Jharkhand is rich with cultural traditions and customs that deserve more recognition. The state consists of 32 scheduled tribes and their diverse cultures and lifestyles are worth learning from when visiting the state.

One can see this diversity in the art of Jharkhand. The state's artists are showcasing and evolving their artwork through paintings, sculptures and crafts, giving form to their heritage and relationship with the land.

Entering the Amadubi Rural Tourism Village
Entering the Amadubi Rural Tourism VillageCopyright: Jharkhand government

Visitors hoping to appreciate and learn about these myriad art forms should consider visiting the Amadubi Rural Tourism Village. Situated at a distance of 65km from Jamshedpur, the village has birthed generations of artists whose Piatkar Scroll Paintings are one of the oldest forms of tribal art in India.

Around 54 chitrakar families live in the area and they paint scenes from epics, mythology and village life on scrolls fashioned from tree leaves and bark. Tourists can visit the artists' homes and even buy the paintings as souvenirs. The Piatkar paintings are also depicted on the walls of the chitrakar's huts.

A Piatkar Scroll Painting
A Piatkar Scroll PaintingSource: https://www.popbaani.com/

In order to boost tourism the Amadubi Rural Tourism Village also has lodging facilities with pleasant and moderately priced ethnic cottages. This allows guest to live among the indigenous inhabitants and observe their lifestyle and craft. The cottages at Amadubi villages are vast and there is plenty of open space and greenery.

The serene beauty of the saal, mahua, piyal, shisham, gamhar and shimal trees is punctuated with blooming palash, krishnachura, radhachura and kash flowers. The setting is lovely at night when there's a full moon and walking down a small watercourse is a romantic experience. The village is blessed with the rhythm of instruments such as the mander, nagara, singa and ghanta. This sweet music is heard in almost all seasons as the Santhal and Munda people, who also live in the village, love dancing and singing.

A detail from a Piatkar Scroll Painting
A detail from a Piatkar Scroll PaintingSource: https://www.popbaani.com/

The village's natural beauty never fades and contains fascinating ethnic customs and traditions. With the approach of the festive season, the place vibrates with performances that bring all tribes together in a colourful collage of dances, rituals and religious ceremonies. All festivals are celebrated joyfully whether it's Sarhul (Baha), Tusu (Makar), Gomha, Karma, Sohrai or Chaitraparv. Most festivals mark the celebration of an agricultural occasion and are accompanied by dances.

The Piatkar Scroll Paintings depicted on cloth or paper, and framed in bamboo, dokra or teak wood will make beautiful additions to one's house. The kurtas, kurtis, cushion covers, Tussar Silk scarves, shawls and crafts by the Dhokra tribe are all worth buying, wearing and sharing.

A Santhal tribeswoman sewing
A Santhal tribeswoman sewingFlickr: ravipratap27

Getting There

The nearest Airport is Ranchi's Birsa Munda Airport 180km away. Dhalbhumgarh Railway Station is 7km from the village and located on the Mumbai-Howrah line. Local interstate buses from West Bengal, Bihar and Odisha are available on a regular basis and will drop you off at Dhalbhumgarh.

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