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Karwa Chauth: Urban calendar culture replaces wall paintings in rural Rajasthan
In Rajasthan, the tradition of wall painting is disappearing fast even in the villages. On the occasion of Karwa Chauth this year, even village folks bought the printed calendars made by commercial artists rather than making traditional wall paintings known as mandana for worshipping.

The festival of Karwa Chauth was celebrated by married women on October 22 this year that falls on the fourth day after the full moon in the Hindu calendar month of Kartik. Often on this day the fasting women do not do any housework and apply henna to themselves and each other.

Karwa Chauth was celebrated mainly by married women who fasted from sunrise to moonrise for the safety and longevity of their husbands. The fast was observed by married women in the states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.

Due to popularization of the festival by cinema, TV serials and market forces, even a good number of unmarried women observed the fast for their fiancés or desired husbands.

In rural Rajasthan, wall and floor painting or 'mandana' were earlier common on various festivals. Not only such paintings represented the socio-cultural ambience of the region but also illustrated the religious aspects of festivals visually. On the occasion of Karwa Chauth also typical mandana was done invariably on the wall in rural houses by women and worshipped to begin the fast.

The themes of such painting are were based upon local festivals such as Teej, Karwa Chauth, Dussehra, Deepawali, Ahoi Ashtami, Nag Panchmi and Sanjhi in which homemade colours were used by women.

To do mandana painting either on the wall or floor, a mixture of red clay and cow dung is used to daub the surface. Thereafter, the white drawing on the surface using chalk paste with a stick is done reflecting the expression of festival and associated deity. There is a need to revive the traditional wall paintings as a folk art and drawing the visual symbols of festivals.

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