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Madhubani Painting (An Indian folk art)

Learning objectives

After completing the course

The course shall impart basic skill for Madhubani Painting with a view to equip the women to earn a good income by practicing this traditional art form for creating paintings. The input cost is very low and it can fetch a handsome gain if sold in Indian/ western market.



Madhubani – literally means from the “garden of honey”.

Practiced for centuries, this style of painting is still practiced in the villages found in the state of Bihar, in the foothills of the Himalayas bordering Nepal.  This is an area of rich and ancient traditions – the site of the ancient University of Nalanda and the birthplace of the Buddha.   It was a tradition practiced mostly by women and passed from mother to daughter.  The themes painted depict enduring cultural traditions of the community that are religious or social or from nature.

Paintings with religious themes illustrate stories from the lives of Rama, Buddha, Krishna or scenes from the two great Indian epic – the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.

Paintings with social themes show customs & rituals such as marriage, birth, thread ceremony, depictions of rural life and agriculture, festivals and superstitions.

Paintings with themes from nature are pictorial narratives of rural life and celestial bodies such as the sun and moon.

There is much symbolism in the paintings such as the central themes of love and fertility.  Others include fish for good luck, peacock for romantic love/devotion, serpents for divine protection and banana for fertility.

Course Coordinator

Prof. Dr. H. O. Srivastava


Basic Skill of Madhubani Painting

The course shall cover the background and origin of Mahubani Painting. It shall further impart the skills of Madhubani painting by telling the input requirements, its value an market.

Madhubani Painting


Madhubani painting also known as Madhubani art and Mithila painting, is a folk painting of Mithila, which is made in the region of Nepal and Bihar of Mithila.Madhubani is a district near the border of India and Nepal in Bihar. It is said that this city was also during the Ramayana.

Madhubani painting started from the era of Ramayana. Janak was the king of Mithila. Janaka’s daughter Sita was being married to Rama and in order to showcase arts and culture of Mithila, he ordered the public that everyone should make paintings on the walls and courtyards of their houses.
Madhubani painting is a main folk painting in Mithilanchal, (Bihar, India). Initially, these paintings were made like rangoli on the courtyards and walls of the house. Then slowly they came down on clothes, walls and papers. Madhubani paintings are of two types. One is a mural painting which is made on the walls of the house (also called the wall mural in Maithili) and the other aripan, which is made in the courtyard of the house.

Tools and colors

These paintings are made with matchsticks, brushes, fingers and bamboo pens. Traditionally, a special nib is used to draw lines with black ink in Madhubani art work. A pencil or black marker pen can be used to draw the outline (it’s important that the pen should be water resistant).

Bright colors are used, such as dark red, green, blue and black. For bright colors, flowers of different colors and their leaves are broken and ground. They are then mixed with gum and milk of the acacia tree. Only natural colors are used for example Peepal bark is used for red color and tamarind is used for yellow color. Light colors such as such as yellow, pink and lemon colors are also used in paintings. The special thing is that these colors are also made at home with things like turmeric, banana leaves and cow dung.
Paper or cloth is used as a base. No special paper is needed. A handmade sheet or any thick white sheet may be used. Make sure you start painting on the rough side of the sheet. Smooth and shiny surfaces make the colors slip.

Painting Procedure


Start with sketching the border. Border can be from ½ inch to 2 inch wide depending upon the size of canvas. The border is an important aspect of the Madhubani painting and it makes the painting look complete. Continuous geometrical designs or nature-inspired motifs can be used.
Conceptualize the layout of the painting. Start with the main character and fill the remaining space later. The remaining space should be related to the main character, for example if you are painting a marriage ceremony, fill the balance space with related motif based on the local culture.
Fill the balance space with repeated patterns.
While filling the colors, first decide the background color and then choose the foreground colors. When background color creates contrast with the foreground colors, it makes the painting more appealing.
Infuse bright colors in the foreground. Background can have a single color.
Use a good frame.


The Ford Foundation also had a long association with Madhubani paintings. Now many international organizations are sending Madhubani paintings to the international market. Last year when PM Modi was on a tour of Germany, during a meeting with the Mayor of Hanover Steven Shostock, he gifted Shostock a Madhubani painting.Last year when PM Modi was on a tour of Germany, during a meeting with the Mayor of Hanover Steven Shostock, he gifted Shostock a Madhubani painting. Look forward to its sale using Pepperfry, Amazon, Gallerist etc.

  1. According to the situation choose the right land
  2. Seeds should be of good quality
  3. Sow at the right time
  4. Use the right and balanced amount of fertilizer and manure
  5. Use organic manure along with chemical fertilizer
  6. Control weed on standing crop

In Irrigation management it’s important to use the right amount of water at the right time with the right process is very important. Other important points are, provide fertilizer at right time and cutting and storage at right time. if farmers concentrate on these points, definitely they can increase their yield and made agriculture benefactor, these are some important points of the scientific method now will see some important things about scientific farming.

Paddy is the main kharif crop. Paddy is cultivated in Bihar at about thirty-five million hectares. But its productivity is much lower than other states. If some things are taken care of, then its productivity can be increased like timely sowing, water management, weed and pest control, Keeping all things in mind and using scientific methods, paddy cultivation can be increased. The selection of right land is also very important for paddy farming. We have been cultivating paddy in different lands, such as the upper land, lower land or deep waterlogged land. If we talk about the upper land then some important things are Prabhat, Turanta, Richiria, Saroj, Ghan Lakshmi, Pusa 2-21. These varieties are ready in 100 to 115 days. July 1 to 15 is the right time to sow these. The recommended seed of this is only 20 kg per hectare. When it is 20 to 25 days, then plant it in your fields and 15 centimeters apart from one plant to another. And also 15 centimeters of line to line distance. If we talk about paddy cultivation in medium land, Rajendra Bhagwati, Sita, Kanak, Rajendra Subhasini, Rajendra Kasturi, Saroj, IR 36, These are the main prabhed that are prepared in 115 to 120 days. The time for sowing these things is from 10 to 25 June. When it becomes 25 to 30 days, then remove it and plant it in the fields. It should be 20 x 15 cm apart from one plant to another.  Now paddy cultivation in deep land, for this swarna MTU7029. It gives a lot of crop. Apart from this Rajendra Mansuri, Rajendra Sweta, Raj Shree, Satyam, Kisori, etc are  considered as important things. All these are ready in 140 to 145 days. The right time to sow these is from 25 May to 10 June.  Apart from this, the deep land in which the water remains, there is also a different prabhed for this, Janaki, Sudha, Vaidehi, Jalaj are important.In aromatic paddy is the important prabhed of this Rajendra Kasturi, Rajendra Subhasini, Pusa Basmati, Sugandha 1-4. The correct time to sow all these is from 25 June to 15 July. Weeds in paddy stop the growth of plantation, Which reduces the yield of paddy significantly. At the same time, it also increases the cost of farming. There are some main methods of weed control, by chemical, by machine or by hand. In all these chemical methods is the right method, it also reduces the cost over time. To protect from weeds important is to selecting right chemical, best quality and required quantity is chosen is necessary. Take good quality of chemicals and mix 300 kg per hectare into 600 liters of water. The right quantity of manure is also told by our scientists in the given is also important to increase the yield of paddy.

Scientific Cultivation of Paddy part-2(Video-2)

We discussed in the last part on the subject of scientific cultivation of paddy. You were taught about the preparation of fields for paddy cultivation, selection of varieties, weed control and behavior of balanced fertilizers. It is also important to pay attention such as how to treat paddy seeds, what precautions should be taken, how to manage water in it and which chemicals are to be used for weed control etc.
1. Treatment of Paddy seeds
First of all, we start with the treatment of paddy seeds, as you may also be aware that with seed treatment, diseases can be avoided in paddy.
The way to treat the seed is: Take a seed treatment drum and after inserting the seed and the required amount of seed treatment medicine in it, move its handle so that it mixes, making a layer on the top surface of the seed. And thus the seed is processed. If you do not have these drums available, you can also use a soil pot by adding seeds and medicine. The treated seed should be sown as soon as possible.
2. Use of chemicals to remove weed
Chemicals for weed removal should always be used as per the need, the less it is used, the better our cultivation will be. We also have many weed removal machines available to avoid the chemicals.
As told, weed pesticide should be used as per the requirement. If you have labor available say family labor, you can remove the grass by hand. If you sow on the line, so many tools are available with us to remove weed in between row. Less chemical is used for sustainable farming and is best for achieving SDG. The natural resource, organic manure or the local manure available in your country should be used in maximum quantity.
3. Cares for sustainable agriculture
Use the approved medicines in least quantity.
Use the pot with a nozzle to spray medicine
Do not spray the medicine in the scorching sun afternoon
Do not spray against at the speed of the wind.
Always spraying from the front to the back so that you get all the area coverage
While spraying the medicine, move slowly so that the quantity of your medicine is in the right amount and in the right place. Before doing this, farmers should always use gloves, put on masks and after taking all these precautions, use the recommended amount of medicine as per the need.
4. Irrigation management.
Let us know that from the time of sowing in paddy cultivation, water should be kept for 3 to 5 centimeters till 15 days before harvesting. Water is gradually decreasing in the world and is scarce. Drainage also plays a very important role. If there is a shortage of water, the yield will definitely come down, so the farmer should never allow water to fall in the crop at these times, a maximum 3 to 5 centimeters in the crop in all these stages are required. In other cases only if there is saturated ground, less water will work. But it is a matter of attention that under no circumstances should the paddy field crack. If it is so dry that the field gets cracked, then at a later stage more and more water will be required and your cost of crop production will increase. Using manure and fertilizers, chemicals for crop protection at the right time and by adopting the right method in the scheduled quantity will increase the usefulness of all these products and will certainly reduce the costs incurred in the crop; profit will be higher, crop production and productivity will also increase.
Dear learners, we talked about seed treatment, weed control, irrigation management. Apart from this, when the paddy Is matured well and the moisture in it is 15 to 20% ,Paddy should be harvested. After harvesting, it should be kept on the ground for 2 to 3 days so that the remaining grains dry up. The grains obtained should be dried properly before storing it.
10 to 12% moisture is enough for safe storage. If it is too low then there will be many types of damage in storage. if you have more, more heat will be generated. When there will be a condition of humidity, then the grain will attract insects, it’s quality is reduced that affects germination and availability of the plant. Therefore, grains should be thoroughly dried in the sun to bring the right amount of moisture in it. Grains should be dried in the sun to bring the moisture to 10 to 12%. This should be tested by cutting the grain by tooth and observing the sound of cut.
5. Storage of grains in warehouse
Before storage, the warehouse should be properly disinfected. Whatever quantity of medicine is given, the walls should be modified and the sacks in which the crop is to be kept should also be treated with a medicine called Malathi and the storage should be slightly above the ground and also away from the wall on the stacking.
Dear learner, considering all these things, if you cultivate paddy, you can definitely get low cost and high income and your partner can strengthen your economic situation.

Controlling Weeds in Paddy (Video-3)

Paddy is considered as the most important food crop in developing countries and the crucial source of employment in rural areas. With proper field management, practices and irrigation facility, paddy farming would be profitable in a short period of time. It is important to pay attention to some main points. Such as-
1) What is weed?
2) Effect of weed on paddy crop
3) Types of weed found in paddy
4) How to control it?

What is a weed?
 Weed is an undesirable plant. They are one of the major biological threats to higher crop productivity worldwide.
 They being competed with the crop plants and deprive them of light, moisture, and nutrients.
 They are harmful to crops.
 They can survive even under adverse conditions.

Effects of weed on paddy crop
 Reduces the yield and quality of crops by competing for nutrients, water, and sunlight.
 Weeds either give shelter to various insects, pests and diseases or serve as alternate hosts.
 Reduces land value.
 Weeds are harmful to human beings, certain weeds cause irritation of the skin, allergy, and poisoning in human beings.
 In fields of crops infested with weeds, the tillage operations require high cost.
Weed damages and reduces approx. 33% yield in the crop. This reduction depends on the amount of weed available in the crop, if there is more weed, then crop reduced by 60-70%.

Types of weeds found in Paddy
Weeds found in paddy can be of mostly two types, such as broad-leaf weed and narrow-leaf weed. Ex- Echinocloa crusgalli (Barn yard grass), Eleucine indica (Goose grass), Ageratum conyzoides etc.
• Echinochloa crusgalli is a type of wild grass. It is commonly known as cockspur. This plant can grow to 1.5 m in height and has long, flat leaves which are often purplish at the base. Considered one of the world’s worst weeds, it reduces crop yields and causes forage crops to fail by removing up to 80% of the available soil nitrogen.

• Eleusine indica, the Indian goosegrass,yard-grass, goosegrass, wiregrass, or is a species of grass in the family Poaceae. E. indica is primarily listed as an agricultural and environmental weed and is considered a “serious weed”. A single plant may produce more than 50,000 small seeds, which can be easily dispersed by wind and water, attached to animal fur and machinery and as a contaminant in soil.

• conyzoides is a grass reported as an invasive, noxious weed in agricultural lands and a open field, causing crop yield reductions and affecting biodiversity. It is also a host of pathogens and nematodes that affect crop species.

That is why it is said that 1/3rd of the beginning of the crop is very sensitive; the crop should be kept free from weeds in the beginning. Otherwise, this will damage the crop later.

How to control weeds
Weed control is important to prevent losses in crop and production costs, and to preserve good grain quality. Often, the farmers throw the weed out by hand but it takes too much time. The method that still works is the mechanical method. Under this, weeding is done by machine. This tool is designed to ease the task of removing weeds from fields. It works by driving the tool vertically into the soil in order to push any small weeds under the soil and disrupt their young fragile root systems.
There is another way to remove weeds from fields which is the use of pesticides, that farmers have been doing till now. Now let us know which pesticides should be used for different kind of weeds-
1) ANILOFOS is a pre-emergence and early post-emergence selective pesticide used for control of annual grasses, sedges and some broad-leaved weeds in transplanted. Anilophos is used at the rate of 1.33litre/ hectare in narrow leaf weeds.
2) Butachlor or HT is a post-emergence rice pesticide that provides excellent grass control. HT controls many major grassy weeds. A 3 ml/ liter of HT mixture with water should be sprayed on the crop within 4-5 days.
3) Pendimethalin is a selective pesticide used to control most annual grasses and certain broadleaf weeds in fields. It is used both pre -emergence, that is before weed seeds have sprouted, and early post- emergence. 3 ml/liter of Pendimethalin with water, can be used in the field within 5 days.
Any of these pesticides can be sprayed in the fields within 3-5 days. Weeds will not grow and we will get good production by using pesticides. If not sprayed within time and weeds have arrived, then use Thiobencarb 3ml/litre with water, this will make the field weed- free.
Note- Never use chemicals in the opposite direction of the wind. By doing this, it can fall on the body which can cause many skin problems.

Madhubani Painting Quizzes

In this lesson you have learnt about basic skill to produce Madhubani painting for earning and adopting as an occupation. You learnt:

1. History of Mahubani Painting.

2. Tools such as pen. canvas, colors used

3. Steps to make Madhubani Painting

4. Websites for Sale of your paintings.

Now take the following quizzes to qualify the course and earn a certificate.

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