In addition to the highlights I posted about Udaipur last week, I also enjoyed a few other activities in Udaipur: visiting a “miniature” artist, and seeing a traditional Rajasthani dance performance. While I had a great time at the Balinese dance show, the one in Udaipur left me feeling a little underwhelmed. Maybe it was the lack of interesting makeup and costumes, or maybe it was the low light, which made it difficult to photograph. Regardless, this wasn’t my favorite cultural experience in India, and it felt a little contrived.
I did, however, love seeing and photographing the stunning saris. I couldn’t get enough of the sparkly, colorful saris the entire time I was in the country and now I’m slightly surprised I didn’t make it home with one. All the more reason to return!
The most exciting part of the dance show was the balancing act that they ended with: two woman balanced pots of fire on their heads, and then another danced with six wooden pots on top of her. It was fun to watch, and while it’s something I wouldn’t have attended on my own, I did enjoy it.
The next day, our tour guide took us to an artist’s studio, as Udaipur and Rajasthan are known for having excellent examples of miniature art shops. While it’s easy to be scammed, some of the studios are funded through the government and thus offer their work at a fixed price and are not replicates or duplicates. (At least that’s what our tour guide told us as he took us to a government sponsored studio ) Miniature paintings are usually completed on smaller pieces of cloth or fabric, and use a technique of small dotted brush strokes kind of similar to pointillism.
Their work is incredibly detailed! It takes anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to complete a painting, depending on the size of it. The artist, who looked like an Indian John Lennon to me, demonstrated the painting technique on a few of our fingernails. That should give you a scale of how small and detailed these artists get! In the end, I was convinced: I bought a beautiful 11×17 painting that now sits on my bedroom wall along with a few of my printed photographs.
Do you seek out artist studios and dance performances while you’re traveling? While I loved the art in Paris and Bali, I’m the first to admit I’m not art critic!