Rooftop – Where India Inspires Creativity

Learn Indian art online

kota miniature


Etymology:  Having originated from the state of Kota, these miniatures were aptly named after their place of origin. 

Origin: Kota miniature or ‘Kota Kalam’, as known locally, stems from the district of Kota which is a city based along the river Chambal in the state of Rajasthan.

Location: Kota, once under the rule of Bundi’s princely state, is now a province of its own. It also is one of the many regions enveloped in the State of Rajasthan.

Relevance: The Bundi, Kota, Jhalawar, and other regional styles can be categorised as the Hadoti styles. Hadavati or Haduati is a part of the western Indian state of Rajasthan and the Hada Rajput kingdom, which formerly included Bundi and Kota.


Significance: The most distinctive feature of Kota Miniatures is the depiction of greenery, shrubbery, and fauna. Starting in the 1660s under the rule of Jagat Singh (1658–1683), Kota established its own artistic school after separating from Bundi. Previously, differentiating between Bundi and Kota paintings was challenging, as Kota artists drew inspiration from Bundi paintings.

Culture and Societies: The artists of Kota extensively illustrated the Hindu epics and the ‘Barahmasa’ which translates to twelve months, and talks about the pain of separation and the romanticism of seasons changing, enjoyed by men and women. As Kota artists excelled in depicting hunting scenes, the passion for the chase evolved into a social ritual in which even courtly women participated.

Religious significance: Additionally, Kota has served as a prominent hub for religious activities related to the Pushti Margiya sect. Lord Krishna has been depicted in numerous ways within the Kota style. And themes such as Bal Leela, cow grazing, and Makhan Leela are primarily featured.

Understanding the Art

Kota miniature
Image source:

Style: This art form features a contemporary style that draws inspiration from European miniature painting. The sharp detailing of the human characters contrasts with the soft and lush depiction of their clothing. The human characters have distinctive features, including sharp and elongated noses, slender and pointed brows, oval or almost round faces, and almond-shaped eyes.

Central motifs: The depiction of lush trees, mountain ranges, animals, and sparse architecture held a lot of significance in these paintings. The themes resonating with these motifs often revolved around stories of hunting, which was popular alongside other religious themes.

new outlook

In an effort to foster discussion and raise awareness about this endangered art form, INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage) organised an exhibition in 2021. This event provided a platform for Kota Kalam artists to showcase and promote their paintings.

Kota Miniature painting blog