Rajput Paintings that gained popularity in Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir during the 17th to 19th century came to be known as Pahari paintings.
It literally means paintings of the hill states (alternately known as ‘Pahari Art’ or Mountain Art). This style of painting was deeply rooted in the feelings and experiences of the people of the hilly terrains and had its moorings in the poetry, music and religious beliefs of the people of those regions. The themes in these miniatures mostly revolve around the boyhood pranks of Lord Krishna and his cowherd companions, his amorous moments with Radha, the pageant of the seasons and the peculiar modes of music in those regions. The principal theme would always be the love between man and woman as symbolized by Lord Krishna and Radha – the former as lover and the latter as his beloved.
Rama going into battle
Pahari Paintings can be considered as the ancient Storyboard – the mother of all storyboards – as these paintings which invariably focus on a particular scene drawn from an event in Puranas, present it as if it is a frame for a modern day movie scene. Basohli and Kulu influenced by Chaurapanchasika style of paintings and Guler and Kangra known for their cooler shades and refinement come under the main categories of Pahari Paintings.