Raja Sansarchand celebrating the festival of Janmashtami


Raja Sansarchand celebrating the festival of Janmashtami



Raja Sansarchand, the ruler of Kangra (1775-1783 CE) was an ardent devotee of Krishna and as narrated by Moorcroft there were lively celebrations of festivals related to Krishna with dancing and music in his court. The painting depicts the celebration of Janmashtami, the birth of Krishna. In the Pushti Sampradaya which particularly propagated the worship of young Krishna, this is a major festival. Since Krishna is believed to have been born at midnight, the festivities usually go on throughout the night as indicated by several oil lamps with gold flames lighting up the room in this painting. As is customary we dames the family shrine is decorated with strings of flowers behind which can be seen a small swing for the newborn babe, Krishna. A priest is performing the puja whereas two attendants are waving the chauri on either side of the shrine. Raja Sansarchand clad in a dark green dress is prominently seated in front, slightly to the left of the court gathering. Rows of seated courtiers are in front of him as well as behind him. The child participant is his son, Anirudhachand probably seated on the lap of Fatehachand, the brother of the king. A group of dancers and musicians are performing to celebrate the birth of Kristina and bright firecrackers at the entrance also set the mood of jubilation. The devotees from the palace and the town have gathered outside the shrine to participate in it. The venue d painting in all probability is the durbar hall at Sancharchand's palace on the hill of Sujanour Tera. Sancharchand, acclaimed as a great patron of art, particularly painting, attracted many artists, three of whom-Khushala, Fattu and Purkhu have acquired fame. However, there is no clue to the painter of this beautiful painting, recording a very important event in the palace. The present painting was in the possession of Zaildar Shri Ram Singh Banuril of Bhuwarna, a descendant of Sancharchand.

Quite unlike the other Kangra paintings, set against a lush green background of variegated trees, this painting is painted against the dull white background of the walls of the palace.


Indian Miniature Paintings

Object Type

Miniature Painting








1795 C.E.


Kangra, Himachal Pradesh


Painting: 32.3 x 40.2 cms