Madhubani is a folk painting done by hands, twigs pen nibs and matchsticks with natural colors and dyes. This art has its roots in the Mithila region, hence it is also known as Mithila art. Traditionally done by women in the villages of Bihar, the designs and aesthetics of Madhubani paintings have long been an inspiration for many fabric designs.

It is believed that this art form was originated during the times of Ramayana when Raja Janak, father of Sita called artists to capture the wedding of Lord Ram and Sita in the form of Madhubani paintings.

Origin and Legacy

Madhubani carries a rich cultural legacy. Mithila being the birthplace of queen Sita, the extraordinary tales of Madhubani art find their ancient ties in the mythical lore of Ramayana, with frequent depictions of her life stories. One can easily identify this rich craft because of its characteristic colorful geometric designs, Madhubani designs essentially depict scenes of the royal courtyard, and Indian weddings, marriages and symbols of fertility and prosperity with a dominance of motifs like fish, parrot, elephant, turtle, sun, moon, bamboo tree, lotus, etc.

Traditionally done on walls of Residence by the women folks

Five Styles of Madhubani Painting

  1. Bharni
  2. Katchni
  3. Tantrik
  4. Godna
  5. Kohbar


Bharni means filling. This is the most popular style of Madhubani art. In Madhubani painting, bright colors are mostly used to create beautiful work. It was practiced by upper caste people which depicted mythological characters in epics, especially the Ramayana and Mahabharata which the womenfolk knew from the continued recital. Mainly the enclosed areas are filled with bright colors like blue, yellow, pink, green, orange colors, etc. and the subject is outlined in deep black.


This style of painting is created by using only one or two colors. The finest details are created and the fine pattern is made with hatching and stippling. This style of painting is still practiced by the Kayasthas of society. The kitchen means lines, it optimizes muted hues, mostly the figures.


Tantrik painting is another style of Madhubani painting. It solely depicts religious texts and characters related to them. The Tantrik style includes manifestations of Maha Kali, Maha Durga, Maha Saraswati, Maha Lakshmi, and Maha Ganesh along with other Tantrik symbols.


This is the most simple style. Godna is commonly known as a tattoo in today’s life and it was first created by Chano Devi. It was created on arms and legs. In the beginning, a pointed bamboo pen with lampblack ink was used. This style has concentric circles of flowers, fields, animals, figures, and spirit.


The painting style which is painted on the wall of Khobar is known as “Khobar”. This Kohbar painting is filled with rich details and each contributing significantly to the meaning of the whole. This is practiced by the lower class of society. They wash the paper with cow dung and paintings are created using earth colors.

Want to Learn more about Madhubani Painting

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Creative and interactive Art Teacher adept at teaching various art concepts and methods in a way that’s fun engaging and insightful.