India // Bihar and Jharkhand //

Madhubani paintings

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Jitwarpur, a village on the outskirts of the small town of Madhubani, in northern Bihar, is home to a vibrant tradition of folk art. Madhubani paintings by local women were originally decorations for the outside of village huts. The illustrations of mythological themes – including images of local deities as well as Hindu gods and goddesses – the paintings were eventually transferred onto handmade paper, often using bright primary colours to fill the strong black line drawings. Fabrics printed with Madhubani designs have become very chic; these days they tend to be professionally made elsewhere, and are sold in the expensive boutiques of India’s major cities, although you can still pick them up cheaply in Madhubani itself.

Buses connect Patna to Madhubani (5hr 30min), where there are some basic hotels; rickshaws can take you on to Jitwarpur.

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