The coming of painters from the Mughal court in the second
quarter of the 18th century led to a complete transformation of the
existing Basholi style of paintings and the birth of
Guler-Kangra style of paintings. This late Pahari style of paintings
first appeared in Guler and then in Kangra. Raja
Goverdhan Singh (1744-1773 AD) of Guler was an early patron of this art form.
The Kangra paintings reached their maturity during the reign of Maharaja Sansar
Chand (1775-1823 AD). These paintings
are marked by their liquid grace and delicacy.
Fattu, Parkhu and Khushala were important painters of the Kangra style.
Many themes like the Bhagwata Purana, Gita Govinda and the Sat
Sai of Nala-Damayanti were portrayed in these paintings.
Another subject of the Kangra paintings was the “Twelve Months”, in which
the artists tried to bring out the effect of seasons round the year on the
emotions of human beings. The Kangra style is by far the most poetic and lyrical
of Indian styles, says art historian J. C. Harle. His favourite subject here is
"the idealization of woman, in flowing sari, head half-covered with a shawl,
demure but stately, passionate and shy". In many cases the works of the Kangra
School are accompanied by the texts inscribed in the Nagari characters. The
Kangra style became well entrenched in the Hills and many offshoots emerged in
the regions like Kullu, Nurpur, Chamba and Mandi. The Bhuri Singh Museum in
Chamba is best known for its exquisite collection of the Pahari miniatures. This
genre of painting continued till late in the 19th century, after
which it declined in its importance.