Madhu and Malati in the School


Madhu and Malati in the School



Though there is no inscription, this painting can be identified as an illustration to the romantic story of Madhu and Malati written by poet Chaturbhuj Das sometime in the later part of the 15th century. It attained considerable popularity in
Rajasthan and many illustrated manuscripts of Madhumalati belonging to the 18th and 19th centuries have come to light.
The story centres around princess Malati, daughter of King Chatursena of Lilavati, and Manohar, also named Madhu, the son of Minister Taranshah. The story narrates their love and romance, their separation and agonies, and after a long
struggle, their final meeting.
The scene is set in an architectural background of the courtyard of a school surrounded by a garden. The teacher, seated against a large bolster, is giving instruction to young Madhu who shows his writing board inscribed with “Shri Rama
Shri Krishna Chandra”, to him. Malati, instead of writing these words dictated by the teacher, is lost in her own thoughts and is writing the name of Madhu on her board.
There are three other pupils; all except Malati wear a Vaishnava tilaka mark on their foreheads. The painting also provides a glimpse of the contemporary costume of children in this region. The teacher wears a long gherdar jama and holds a rosary.
Several decorative niches in the wall and an orange rolled-up curtain are usual features of the paintings of this region.

Karl and Meherbai Khandalavala Collection


Indian Miniature Paintings

Object Type

Miniature Painting


Opaque watercolour on paper


Pahari school




c. 1815


Garhwal, Himachal Pradesh


22 x 30.5 cm (with border), 19.8 x 28.5 cm (without border).