Bharatiya Lok Kala Mandal or Folklore Museum, Udaipur

An Introduction To The Museum and Its Collection

Bharatiya Lok Kala Mandal or Folklore Museum in Udaipur was founded in the year 1952 under the initiative of Shri Devi Lal Samar.

“The main purpose of establishment of this institution was to project the finer points of folk arts and folk culture; search for the artists in remote areas and give them recognition and establishment of a folk museum where objects and finds of the survey could be displayed for research and educational purpose.

models of different tribal communities     Gindad     Devnarayan ki Phad

Kavaad     Mataji Ka devra     Mataji ki Phad

Thus Bharatiya Lok Kala Mandal  folk museum is not merely a collection of folk art objects and their random-display  but an expression of those visionaries who had spent years in survey and research  for reaching far off places in hot , blazing sun and inclement weather” (An excerpt from the catalogue of the Bharatiya Lok Kala Mandal )

models of different tribalcommunities     Traditional puppets of Rajasthan     Traditional string puppets

Presently housed in a 2 storey building, the museum has successfully collected and displayed the following items and categories:

1. Traditional Rajasthani string Puppets.
2. Masks.
3. Musical instruments.
4. Old Photographs.
5. Local terracotta deities.
6. Models of various tribal communities.
7. Dioramas of various Rajasthani folk theatre forms.
8. Wood crafts such as block prints and shrines.
9.  Pichhvai.
10. Mehendi designs and Sanjhi craft work.
11. Turbans.
12. Kavaad, Shrines, Phad Painting and various Folk Deities.
13. Navas or Metallic pendants.

Regular puppet shows are also held in the museum at different time intervals. The museum  has a book and souvenir shop.

Dharmaraj or Devnarayan           Chappe           DSC_0260

Gomukha          view of the entrance and the building           Kala Gora

Wooden blocks or Chappe :

The wooden  blocks locally known as chappe are engraved in various geometrical and floral motifs. The blocks are used to imprint the various  designs on cotton and silk fabrics to be further used as skirts, lehengas, veil-cloth, salwars and saris etc and sometimes also for ceremonial occasions. The block printers are known as leelgar or chhimpas. In Rajasthan, the wooden blocks are mostly prepared by the highly skilled carpenters of the makdara community.

Puppets or Kathputli :

Rajasthan is famous as the birth place of Indian puppetry. It is a widely practiced art form in the region. The puppeteers travel from village to village to perform the play. One puppet troupe generally consists of 4-6 artists. Marwar is known as the hub of Rajasthani Kathputli. These acts are played around various themes and stories. The stories varies from mythology to folklores. “Sinhasanbattissi of Vikramaditya”, “Prithviraj Samyogita of Prithviraj Chauhan”, “Amarsingh Rathore of Nagaur” are some of the commonly played stories in Rajasthani puppet plays.

Gindad :

A community dance performed in the Sekhawati region of Rajasthan before the festival of colours, Holi. In this dance form a platform is raised from the ground, made of bamboo and wood where the musicians can sit and play their instruments.

Namadev ka toran:

Namadev, the rain god, worshipped by the tribals and locals of Rajasthan is considered to be the prime deity among all the folk deities of Rajasthan. However he is not represented in any form of image. He is personified in a wooden arch named as “Namadev Ka Toran“, to be installed at a particular place nearby the main road of the village. People worship him to let prosperity prevail over their village and for proper rainfall. Special celebration around the wooden shrine is performed during navaratri.

Naamdev Ki toran        Durga Mata         Mask from Himachal Pradesh

Folk deities

The folk deities play an important role among the life of the rural people of Rajasthan. For every auspicious occasion there is a tradition of taking vows and blessings from the local deity by the family members. Deities are installed at certain place in the villages where the villagers, at a particular time gather to worship and conduct prayers for fulfilling their wishes.

Musical Instruments

Various musical instruments classified according to its make and use has been displayed separately in one gallery. Musical instruments are an important and integral part of the Rajasthani folk music and dance. Some examples of musical instruments displayed here are:

String Instrument: Sarangi, Sindhi Sarangi, Rubab, Kamayacha, bhapang, Do Tara, Rawan Hattha, Jantar, Chautara, Tandura, Vichitra Veena.

Skin Instrument: Drum, Mandal, Chang, Dhuf, Khanjari, Deru, Manth, Nagara, Aarbitasha, Damru, Tabla.

Blow instrument: Pungi, Naagmungal, Cronch, Shahnai, Gomukha, Naagphani, Bankia, Singha, Nad, Satara, Flute, Morchanga

Mandal   Rawan Hattha

Some other instruments on display are Ghunghru, Khartal, Cymbols, Ramjhol, Chimta etc.