The very unique and beautiful art form of Bihar: Kohbar Painting

When language was not developed we, human, communicated in form of paintings. Here are popular forms of such painting and in such category Kohbar art is one special entry. The painting which is painted on the walls of a kohbar is also called “Kohbar” and this is one of the styles of the famous Madhubani Painting.

kohbar painting 3
The Kohbar Ghar or the nuptial chamber is the room in which the painting has traditionally been done in the Maithil culture to bless a newlywed couple.

kohbar painting 2

The central theme of these Kohbar paintings is love and prosperity. The paintings depict an assembly of symbolic images of the lotus plant, the bamboo grove, fishes, birds and snakes, besides those of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. According to the Veda & the puranas, the wedding of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati was the most successful of all Gods and Goddesses. So through the painting, blessings are for a successful marital life as that of the above deities.

kohbar painting 1

The other images symbolize prosperity and proliferation of life. The most prominent image looming largest on the walls are the bamboo-tree and the ring of lotus, called ‘purain’. The lotus circle is a symbol of the female sex, while the bamboo-tree represents the male sex. The Sun God and the Moon God shower their blessings on the newlywed, while the proliferation of life would be comparative to the water creatures. The love birds in the painting would talk about the ever-growing love between the couple. Fishes are the emblems of fertility.


The applique work of Bihar is called “Khatwa”. It is believed that applique work made its way into western India either from Europe or Arabia in the Middle East through trade contacts. It involves creation of designs by cutting one fabric and stitching the pieces onto another.

Khatwa 1


“Khatwa” is used to craft decorative tents, canopies, shamianas, etc. A thick fabric and Geometric patterns are used while making the Tents on important occasion or functions. The cutting and designing are done by the men while the women do the stitching work Apart from tents, Kathwa is also used in decorating women’s garments and home decorative items etc. In this case the applique work done is more artistic.

Khatwa 2

A girl from the capital of Bihar, trying to understand the past underdevelopment of Bihar and exploring the ways to improve the status of the State