Krishna Lifting Mount Govardhana


Krishna Lifting Mount Govardhana

Paintings / Other Asia

By the Bikaner school

Place of production:India

Second half of 18th century

Opaque watercolor, gold, and silver on paper



The art of “miniature painting” is one of India’s best-known genres. These paintings use elaborate brushwork and vibrant colors to depict a variety of themes, including: Indian myths; Hindu gods, such as Shiva and Vishnu; portraits of kings; scenes from history; and love stories. Miniature paintings can also be enjoyed for their distinct regional styles that reflect India’s rich history of cultural diversity.

The Hindu god Vishnu is believed to take on ten different forms, and Krishna is the eighth of these avatars. This painting depicts one of the myths concerning Krishna. The cattle herders of a village were worshipping the rain god Indra when Krishna appeared and advised them to instead worship Mount Govardhana because it had a deeper connection to cattle and cattle herders than Indra did. The people then made offerings and prayers to Mount Govardhana. Indra, enraged by this, caused torrential rains to fall on the village. Without warning, Krishna then uprooted Mount Govardhana, lifted it over his head with one hand like an umbrella and protected the people and livestock from the rain. Krishna is said to have held up the mountain in this way for seven days.

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