Bundi is one of the few places in India, which can lay its claim to an authentic School of Painting. "The Bundi School" is an important school of the Rajasthani style of Indian miniature painting that lasted from the 17th to the end of the 19th century in this princely state.
The Bundi School of Painting is a major cultural activity & attarction in the city of Bundi, Rajasthan. An independent branch of the Mewar School of Paintings, the Bundi School of Painting had its own specialty in the initial stages, but with the passage of time, the Bundi School of Painting came under the influence of a number of other schools and styles of painting.
The Bundi School had a close association with the Mughal style yet it was never fundamental to the evolution and growth of Bundi paintings, however the delicacy of the Mughal style was also not abandoned. One of the earliest examples of the Bundi Paintings is the Chunar Ragamala painted in 1561. Bundi paintings emphasized on hunting, court scenes, festivals, processions, life of nobles, lovers, animals, birds and scenes from Lord Krishna's life.
The Chitrashala, which is also known as the Ummed Mahal, is a part of the Garh Palace. It was built in the 18th Century, and forms a set of rooms on an elevated podium above the garden courtyard. The famous Chitra Shala in Bundi provides a colourful glimpse of history. The walls, ceiling of this palace are completely covered with paintings of the Bundi school which are still in very good condition. These splendid paintings in the Chitrashala are par excellence and can be compared with probably the best anywhere in the world.
Built by Raja Rao Umed Singh, the Chitrashala has open galleries and has the best of Bundi wall paintings depicting the Raas Leela, court life and beautiful women. Chitrashala consists of a fascinating pavilion and a gallery of murals that embellishes the palace. Elaborate colorful paintings on the walls depict scenes from the "Ragamala" and the Radha - Krishna history. To see the other frescoes of the palaces, permission is required by the royal family as the fort is a private property. The paintings of the Chitrashala in Garh Palace of Bundi are of rare beauty, thanks to their excellent state of preservation. They illustrate either court scenes or episodes of Krishna's life in a profusion of details. Krishna, always represented in blue, is easily recognizable.