Lord Shrinathji has graced the artisians of Nathdwara with various talents, namely - PERFUME MAKING, PAINTINGS, WOODEN CRAFT, SILVER CRAFT & POTTERY. A lot of local products are purchased by the temple itself and hundreds and thousands of vaishnavas (devotees) also purchase a lot of these items which has given rise to the economy of Nathdwara.
The small scale industries include..
PERFUME MAKING -
" attar" as it is locally known is a natural perfume made from the extracts of flowers, plants,
herbs and tree trunks. Available in various fragrances such as gulab, mogra, chameli, juhi,
kesar, chandan, kewda, sondha, khus, kasturi and many more. Different attars are offered to
Lord Shrinathji and Shri Sudarshanji depending upon the utsav (occasion) and season. Pilgrims
Nathdwara also buy a lot of attar for their beloved Lord........ Attar making is one of the important small scale industries of Nathdwara.
PICHHVAI (paintings) -
Nathdwara school of painting - a melting pot of almost all the schools of Rajasthan emerged with the
unique style and a distiction of its own. The artists painted to fulfill their dreams of pleasing Lord
The most popular form of art in Nathdwara is pichhvai making. (pichhvais are painted
cloth hangings). " Pichhvais" are often a group effort with sevaral upcoming - assistant artists
working under the supervision of a master artist. Pichhvais often emphasize the theme of a darshan,
they are usually inspired by the kirtans, the subject revolves around Lord Krishna's lilas.
time favourite pichhvais are those of Lord Shrinathji. Pichhvais are made in various ways, they are
hand painted, woven, made of brocade, studded with mirrors, pearls, semi precious stones.
The specific use of a painted pichhvai goes back as much as 1739 when H.H. Tilkayat Shri
Govardhaneshji offered Lord Shrinathji a painted
pichhvai on his 1st anniversary as Tilkayat. Most of
the pichhvais in the temple of Lord Shrinathji at
Nathdwara are frrom the 19th and 20th century. The pichhvais are preserved by the temple
authorities in a way in which they are not damaged or destroyed. Even the very old pichhvais which
may have been damaged are also treasured by the temple for their emotional values.
In the Almighty's temple a new pichhvai can be offered to the deity only after obtaining prior permission from H.H Tilkayat Maharaj of Nathdwara.
The artists about whom a great deal is known are those from the time of H.H Tilkayat Govardhanlalji ( 1862 - 1933 ) Sukhdev, one of the earliest artist to create exquisite paintings and pichhvais which are found even now. The painter whos name has become a legend in the world of art is Ghasiram Haridas Sharma ( 1868 - 1930) from Nathdwara. Pichhvais are found in almost all households and commercial premises of vaishnavas.
Inspite of the many changes that have taken place in Nathdwara these artists work in the same manner as they have done for generations together.
The artisians of Nathdwara indulge in a lot of wooden craft such as bangla kaam, hindoras, palnas, toys, furniture, etc........
a) bangla kam: Banglas are little portable bunglows in which the deity is placed during various utsavs. These banglas are made of wood and embedded with pearls, gold, silver, velvet, mirrors, khus, and also fresh flowers. The highly decorative nature of these exquisite banglas requires a high level of skill and aesthetic awareness, thus over the years artisians of Nathdwara have mastered in this field.
b) hindolas and palnas: These are swings in which the 'deity' is placed. palnas: palnas are small swings in which ' Shri Navnitpriyaji' is placed during 'Gval' (3rd darshan of the day). hindolas: these are long swings which are used in a particular month during the evening darshan.
Both the above are made of wood and embedded with silver, gold, pearls and velvet. The artisians of Nathdwara have mastered this craft.
c) wooden toys: Various kinds of wooden toys such as tops, shapes of animals, birds, musicians, musical instruments, sakhas and sakhis (Lord Krishna's friends) are made by craftsmen of Nathdwara.
d) furniture: Craftsmen of Nathdwara create different kinds of furniture used for the Lord which includes sihasans(throne), bed, stools, doors,
and also small temples which are beautiful engraved that enhance the ancient rajasthani craftsmanship. Traditionally the vaishnav families
perform daily seva at their homes which can be called the miniature of the 'Lord's' seva which is performed in Nathdwara thus each family
needs a small temple, wooden furniture, bunglas,hindolas,palnas,wooden toys for their 'Thakurji' (Lord). Most devotees who visit Nathdwara
purchase the above required items fron there. The above has helped to improve the economy of Nathdwara to a large extent since it gives work
to a lot of labour present there.
Nathdwara is very well known for its silverware and jewellry which is made in different forms such as utensils, toys, musical instruments, musicians, boxes, aartis, darpans(mirrors), doors and many more exquisite items.
These extraordinary pieces of art are not only limited to India but also have spread internationally because of which these artisians have gained international status. Also a very important industry in Nathdwara is that of the Minakari work on white metal. Minakari - different colours embellished on white metal are used to make varieties of gift articles and furniture.
On special utsavs (occassions) a lot of earthern pots are used to offer food to the Lord. The prasad which is distributed to the devotees namely: rabdi, kheer, curds, kadi etc. is done so in these earthern pots. Tea served in this 'Lord's' Town is served in earthern pots locally called 'kuliyas'.
A person having his tea in the most expensive tea set elsewhere also does not miss the opportunity to have the same in this Kulias