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Pichhwais – Decorative Temple Hangings behind the idol of Krishna at Nathdwara

Pichhwai or Pichwai is a decorative cloth hanging hung behind the idol of Shrinathji (Lord Krishna) at Nathdwara in Rajasthan and other shrines of the Pushti Marga. Pichhwais are changed depending on the festival or occasion and a different painting is placed behind the idol. This traditional art is no longer limited to the devotional circle and nowadays Pichhwai wall hangings and Pichhwai pillows are used in living rooms.

In the strict spiritual sense, the painting is a highly enthusiastic expression of love for Lord Krishna and plays an important role in the festivals of the Vallabhacharya sect. During the darshan of Shirnathji, the Pichhwais behind the idol evoke a specific mood.

The favorite theme in these paintings is the immortal Radha Krishna scenes from Vrindavan along with gopis.

Other important themes include royal processions on elephants, courts scenes, horse rides and camel rides.

The paintings are noted for its intricate detailing of jewelry, clothing, hairdressing and border designs.

Pichhwais is typically painted on cloth and this traditional art can be found at Nathdwara, Kota, Kishangarh and Jaipur in Rajasthan, Surat in Gujarat and in Deccan.