To say that HP has a rich tradition of painting would be an understatement. While museums and art galleries preserve the famous miniature paintings of the region, traditional ritual paintings can be seen in most village houses, on the floors and walls. Women draw magic diagrammatic designs called yantras on the thresholds on ceremonial occasions.
Floor paintings are white, done with rice paste, while wall paintings are colourful. The colours are from what the women use in their daily lives - red from kumkum (the liquid for bindi, the dot between the brows), yellow from turmeric powder, red ochre from golru (red clay), and so on.
In some places like Kangra, Mandi and Bilaspur, brilliant wall paintings are done in the torana griha (honeymoon room), where the newly married couple enjoy their first days of togetherness. This painting is known as kauhara or kamdeo. Temple walls, too, sometimes have bright motifs painted on them.
Raja Goverdhan Singh gave shelter to a numbers of painters of Delhi at his court. Towards the middle of the 18th century these scattered kingdoms of rajputs of Kangra witnessed the birth of a magnificient style of paintings. The budding miniature paintings blossomed forth in the small states of Nurpur, Kangra and Kullu, Chamba and ultimately at Sujanpurtira - the known home of Kangra paintings. The themes of these paintings were derived from the love poetry of Jayadeva and Keshava Das. The painters with their exquisite taste and superb style changed the very look of hill paintings and arts. Thousands of paintings related to love stories of Radha and Krishna were produced.
The wall paintings done by women on the occasion of fasts and festivals
describe the stories connected with the occasion.