Rooftop – Where India Inspires Creativity

Learn Indian art online

mandana painting


Etymology: The word ‘Mandana’ is derived from the word ‘mandan’  which means decoration in Gujjar Bhakha, the local language of the Meena community. Hence, Mandana means ‘to draw’.

Origin: This is one of the oldest forms of tribal art and is practised in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh by the Meena community. 

Location: Since the Meena community are the predominant settlers in Rajasthan, they make up about 56.34% of the overall population. This is the reason that they inhabit more of Rajasthan than Madhya Pradesh. They are spread out in the districts of Jaipur, Alwar, Bharatpur, Sawai Madhopur, Tonk, Hadoti, and Jhalawar. 

Relevance: The Meenas believe that Mandana paintings protect their homes from evil, illnesses, and bad luck. 



Significance: The core beliefs of drawing Mandana art on the walls and floors is to welcome divinity into the house and keep away the evil forces.

Culture and Societies: These paintings are exclusively painted by women, and are made on auspicious occasions of festivals and marriages. This transgenerational art form is exclusively woman-centric.

Religious significance: Since a larger part of the Meena community resided in Rajasthan, their beliefs, socio-cultural practices, and motifs were greatly influenced by Hindu culture and their deities.

Understanding the Art

Style: These paintings have motifs ranging from deities to floral themes, and from nature-related motifs to anthropomorphic characters. Mandana paintings are well-centred and balanced pieces that are perfectly symmetrical and are drawn free-hand using plotting points. 

Central motifs: Lord Ganesha, women doing daily chores, birds and animals such as peacocks and tigers, and floral motifs are some of the popular motifs. Apart from religious and natural elements, the Meena women also indulge in creating geometric, geomorphic, zoomorphic, and anthropomorphic designs as well.

(Mandana art, Mandana Painting in India, 24/02/11, Indigenous Jesus: Mandana Painting in India)

new outlook

Mandana paintings are on the decline for various factors, most of them revolving around the shift from tribal to contemporary lifestyles. The main reason is that these were drawn on mud houses with clay but since most houses nowadays are made of cement and clay is becoming unavailable, it seems difficult to revive this traditional art form.

mandana painting