Sustainable Wanderlust
Preserve unique cultures and special places
Spotlight: Khardung La pass, where the land and sky meet and the road that bridges the two.

Spotlight: Rajasthani Miniature Art – A dying tradition?

Rajasthan Miniature Art on a village house's wall

Welcoming the bride - a miniature art mural in rural Rajasthan

Rajasthan is India’s princely desert state. Better known for its magnificent city kingdoms of Jaipur, Jodhpur and Udaipur and their lavish forts and palaces; Rajasthan is also home to a unique group of artisans. Miniature art painters. For centuries they have been creating artwork on canvas, parchment, stone and mud walls. Artwork that is a game of meticulousness, patience and perseverance. Each painting can take months, and some of them even years to finish.

Sadly with the economic boom and the rise of glitzy malls, these artisans are getting squeezed out. Some are selling out and creating fast, low quality paintings that can be sold for a high premium at tourist driven shops. Others are abandoning the art altogether in favor of internet cafes and the like.

Sustainable Shopping Tip

Next time you travel to Rajasthan, skip the malls or the shops your mass-market tour operator takes you to. Instead wander the local streets. Examine the art with a magnifying lens, you’ll see a clear difference from one painting to the next. Ask the artist to show you their lowest-quality pieces first, then progressively ask for better quality. Finally ask them to show you their best work, that’s not on display. By buying directly from the artists, you’ll encourage them to keep producing work of quality and preserve a centuries old tradition.

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