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Paintings on Friendship in Traditional Indian Art 

paintings on friendship

With Friendship Day coming around the corner, there’s some nostalgia in store for all of us. Soon Google’s Discover page will start popping up with Friendship Day quotes and paintings on friendship. And you’ll see kids and teenagers exchanging colourful friendship bands and posting pictures of their friends on social media. And while all of this is certainly a heartwarming way to retain and treasure the bond for a lifelong, we’ve uncovered something equally exciting in the realm of Indian art forms. 

Ever heard of immortalizing friendship through art? Well, now that’s something a ton of traditional Indian art forms have been doing for centuries. Read on to explore how Indian art forms have beautifully portrayed the bond of friendship between popular mythological characters in their distinct styles.

Friendship Beyond Years: Krishna and Sudama Paintings on Friendship

A handmade gift from a friend is treasured far more than a store-bought one; because things made with love and devotion are often priceless. And this is exactly what this tale recalls!

According to Hindu mythology, Krishna and Sudama were childhood friends who grew up together in the same village. Despite their stark contrast in social status, they maintained an unshaken bond. 

One day, Sudama, driven by extreme poverty, decided to visit Krishna to seek help. Instead of asking for riches, Sudama brought a humble gift of beaten rice for his friend. Overwhelmed by Sudama’s pure love and devotion, Krishna welcomed him with open arms and treated him like royalty. 

Their friendship transcended material wealth, demonstrating that true friendship lies in the heart and is devoid of worldly expectations. The tale of Krishna and Sudama continues to inspire people, emphasizing that genuine friendship is a treasure that lasts beyond time and circumstance. 

In the paintings on the friendship of Krishna and Sudama, the contrasting lives of the two friends are often depicted, with Krishna living in opulence as the prince of Dwaraka, while Sudama struggles with poverty and hardships. Despite their vastly different circumstances, their friendship remains steadfast and unwavering. It is one of the most painted depictions of friendship one comes across in Hindu mythology. 

Phad Painting of Krishna and Sudama (Image source: )
Madhubani Painting of Krishna and Sudama (Image source:
Orissa Pattachitra Painting of Krishna and Sudama (Image Source: )
Pichwai Painting of Krishna and Sudama (Image Source: Etsy)

Standing By Each Other: Ram and Sugriva Paintings on Friendship

Sometimes our truest friends are those who are our polar opposites — they may appear to be completely different on the surface, but they understand us the way nobody else can! Oftentimes, in friendships, it’s the little things we do for each other that matter the most, and this friendship from the Ramayana is the best example of it!

Ram and Sugriva’s friendship epitomizes unwavering loyalty, trust, and camaraderie. As per the great Indian epic, the Ramayana, Ram, the valiant prince of Ayodhya, and Sugriva, the brave king of the Vanaras, form an unbreakable bond that transcends species and societal barriers. 

When fate brings them together, Sugriva faces tremendous challenges and is in dire need of a true friend. Ram selflessly offers his unwavering support, promising to help Sugriva reclaim his kingdom and wife from his treacherous brother Vali. Throughout their journey, Ram showcases compassion and understanding, while Sugriva proves his undying loyalty. Together, they face countless trials and triumph over evil forces. 

These paintings on friendship symbolise the strength that emerges when two souls unite for a common cause, inspiring generations to cherish and value the beauty of genuine camaraderie. Done in the miniature art form, the paintings capture the initial meeting between Rama and Sugriva.

paintings on friendship
Miniature Painting of Ram and Sugriva’s meeting (Image source: Lacma)
paintings on friendship
Miniature Painting of Ram and Sugriva’s meeting (Image source: Pinterest)

Saving the Day: Draupadi and Krishna Paintings on Friendship

We all have that one friend who appears out of nowhere and saves us from falling in trouble– whether that means covering up for you in front of your parents or lending you their clothes to help prevent a fashion disaster! Well, this mythological friendship is also quite similar to that.

The friendship between Draupadi and Krishna shines as a beacon of unwavering support, compassion, and trust. According to the Mahabharata, Draupadi, the fiery and virtuous queen of the Pandavas, finds in Krishna, the divine and wise incarnation of Lord Vishnu, a true confidant and ally. Krishna stands by Draupadi’s side during her most challenging moments, rescuing her from humiliation when Duryodhana’s younger brother tries to disrobe her in a gathering.

He guides and counsels her through difficult decisions, providing unwavering strength and solace in times of distress. Draupadi, in turn, wholeheartedly trusts and adores Krishna, seeking his wisdom and seeking refuge in his divine presence. Their extraordinary friendship embodies the essence of unconditional love and mutual respect, leaving an everlasting lesson of the profound bond that can be formed between mortal and divine beings.

In the Madhubani paintings on friendship below, we see Krishna coming to Draupadi’s aid during her vastraharana and Krishna eating from the akshaya patra – a vessel that would give Draupadi and her family unlimited food every day.

Madhubani Painting of Draupadi and Krishna – Akshaya Patra (Image source: Facebook)
Madhubani Painting of Draupadi and Krishna – Vastraharan (Image Source:

Finding a Mentor in a Friend: Arjun and Krishna 

The friendship between Arjuna and Krishna stands as an extraordinary example of unwavering companionship and guidance. Arjuna, the skilled and valiant archer among the Pandavas, finds in Krishna not only a dear friend but also a trusted charioteer and advisor. This is why portrayals of their friendship are often against the backdrop of a chariot. Indeed, nothing clears your mind like a drive with a dear friend! 

Throughout the epic, Krishna provides invaluable counsel and moral support to Arjuna, particularly on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, where the prince is plagued by doubt and moral dilemmas. Krishna’s divine teachings offer Arjuna insight and clarity, empowering him to fulfil his destiny and duty as a warrior. Their bond symbolizes the sanctity of true friendship, where the mortal finds strength in the divine, and together, they embark on a journey of righteousness and enlightenment.

In these paintings on friendship, we see Lord Krishna as Arjuna’s charioteer, imparting divine wisdom to him, capturing the pivotal moment before the Kurukshetra War begins. With a calm and compassionate demeanour, Lord Krishna is seen guiding Arjuna to fulfil his duty as a warrior and embrace his responsibilities fearlessly. 

Madhubani Painting of Arjun and Krishna (Image source:
Batik Painting of Arjun and Krishna (Image source:
Orissa Pattachitra Painting of Arjun and Krishna (Image source:
Tanjore Painting of Arjun and Krishna (Image source:


We bet you didn’t expect traditional Indian art to be all about appreciating the beauty of platonic relationships! Now that you’ve had a fair glimpse, why not spend your friendship day learning an authentic Indian art form with your friend? 

On the Rooftop app, you can choose from a wide variety of workshops on Indian art forms like Gond, Pichwai, Bhil, Phad, Manjusha and many more. And if you’re looking to spend more time creating art with your friends, we suggest you take a Rooftop Maestro Course together! 

This is one sure-shot way of making your Friendship Day a memorable one by creating lasting memories and experiences that go beyond the artworks themselves. And who knows, one of y’all might just discover your artistic prowess and immortalize your bond through masterpieces in revered Indian art forms for years to come!

Download the Rooftop App from GooglePlay or AppStore and enroll in our maestro courses!

Discover us on Instagram @rooftop_app for all things on traditional Indian art.

By Naomi Fargose

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