Sohrai and Khovar: The artform that celebrates nature


Sohrai and Khovar painting is a mural art done primarily by tribal women, mainly in Jharkhand.

Traditionally used to adorn hut walls, it is now being done on paper and fabric and sold to customers.

Sohrai art is created at Sohrai or other harvest festivities.

Sparrows, peacocks, squirrels, and cows populate the landscapes of Sohrai and Khovar paintings.

This folk art, which is popular in Jharkhand's Hazaribagh district, is greatly influenced by forest life.


Khovar refers to the adornment of the marriage rooms, and Sohrai is the harvest festival for which paintings on the mud huts are made, restoring them after the rains, and thanking the various powers of nature.



The murals are created by Adivasi women utilizing natural and organic ingredients such as varying shades of clay and charcoal.

Previously, tribal women utilized this traditional craft to paint the walls of their homes with ''miswak (datuns).''


This ceremonial art is made on mud walls to honor and welcome the harvest and celebrate the cattle.

The ladies clean their homes and adorn their walls with Sohrai murals.

This unique art form that is painted on the mud walls is a matriarchal heritage passed down from mother to daughter.

These vivid and vibrant paintings are entirely created with natural colors blended in mud- Kali matti, Charak matti, Dudhi matti, Lal matti (Geru), and Pila matti.

Artists utilize datun or cloth swabs daubed in various earth colors to paint bulls, horses with riders, and wild animals on the walls.


The paintings have a very delicate procedure to make. First, a coating of white mud is applied to the wall.

The artists sketch on the layer with their fingertips while it is still wet.

Cow dung, which was once used to coat the house walls, is now utilized to add color.

Because of the previously applied contrasting white mud coat, the black outline is evident.

The artist generally makes the designs from their imagination and memory.

The artist's own experience and interaction with nature are the sources of most significant influence and inspiration for the paintings.


Each community and village's practice of Sohrai art is different.

The designs on the walls of Purninano, for example, are significantly different from those on the walls of Oriya village.

The bottom sections of the walls are adorned with narrow horizontal bands of flowers and geometric forms on the majority of the walls here.

Sohrai acquired the GI [geographical indication] designation on May 13, 2019.


Kohvar and Sohrai art seems to be fading away in the villages as bricks, cement, and plaster are replacing mud walls.

Furthermore, young women are hesitant to take on the arduous task of painting in addition to their education.

Another important cause is the increased migration to cities.

Displacement of agricultural villages due to mining operations and big thermal power projects causes a significant threat and risk to the survival of Jharkhand's rural people's age-old traditions.


Jharkhand's crafts, especially Sohrai painting, are an essential part of the state's cultural and tribal history in India.

These arts demonstrate a wide range of abilities.

However, the required advertising efforts are not matched with the quality of artistry needed. As a result, they have not received the national and international recognition that they deserve.

Sohrai paintings, which are sacred, secular, and essential in a woman's life, are among India's most fragile, frail, artistic, and endangered indigenous traditions.


It is primarily a skill practiced by married women after weddings and throughout harvest, and knowledge and experience are passed down to younger pupils.

As a result, it is imperative to preserve and promote the art form.

Young people should think of unique methods to combine art styles into their designs.

This would give the picture a modern spin and aid in the preservation of the magnificent work of art.


Author: Akash Rupam Ekka Editor: Rachita Biswas


sources: https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-5gJpfBHX3X4/XsXCFdHvfQI/AAAAAAAAC3Y/kG5k1DwUoQc-wwR41YMIaQVDB-GMH8p0ACLcBGAsYHQ/s1600/Sohrai%2Band%2BKohbar%2BArt.webp

https://www.jagranimages.com/images/newimg/28122019/28_12_2019-sohrai_19884108.jpg

https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/art/w7nrat/article24881450.ece/alternates/FREE_435/07frSohrai1jpg

https://webneel.com/daily/sites/default/files/images/daily/05-2020/13-sohrai-painting-hazaribagh-tribal-art-jharkhand.jpg

https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/art/t2lh5a/article24881452.ece/BINARY/07frSohrai5jpg

https://webneel.com/sites/default/files/images/blog/2020/sohrai-kohvar-painting-jharkhand-tribal-art.jpg

https://indroyc.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/khovar4.jpg

https://miro.medium.com/max/1400/1*Su__-3C4vosj8NoIult2Ow.jpeg




90 views0 comments