By Evolve Foundation
Kahaani of Tauli Village (20-26 Feb, 2019)Evolve Foundation
Thousands of communities have existed and faded away, and what they have left behind were only their stories as marks that make them immortal. "Kahaani" meaning "story", is a specially curated wall painting project undertaken by Evolve Foundation in such remote villages that are in danger of disappearing.
Kahaani was initiated with the focus of reviving the lost stories of villages and its people, with the help of the villagers themselves.
Mergence of Matrical Culture of Jaunsar with Its Ashokan History (20-26 Feb, 2019)Evolve Foundation
By painting stories of the community on walls of their own village, Kahaani aims to preserve and showcase the local culture and history. The project envisions to impact their lives by means of social engagement, awareness messaging and driving in tourism
Kahaani in Tauli Bhud
The first leg of the project was initiated in the village of Tauli Bhud in Uttarakhand, in northern India. The village is occupied by the Jaunsari community. A majority of the Jaunsari community live in the Jaunsar-Bawar region. Our approach was to identify local traditions or almost-forgotten folklores by speaking with the villagers.
Painter Kids (20-26 Feb, 2019) by TaruEvolve Foundation
Unlike common folklores, there is unfortunately no textual record of the rich cultural heritage of Tauli Bhud.
Based on the stories we gathered, we then selected 8 walls of the village that would be painted with Jaunsari folklore and traditions.
Village Kids with Paints (20-26 Feb, 2019)Evolve Foundation
A major aspect of Kahaani was the enthusiastic involvement of the villagers themselves, including the kids, who not only got introduced to characters from their community traditions but also painted their hearts out!
Tauli Budh Village Street (20-26 Feb, 2019)Evolve Foundation
During the one week period the quiet village of Tauli Bhud buzzed with our group of artists and the excited residents who together coloured the walls of the village, infusing them with rich tales.
Wall Painting on the Village School
The first wall to be painted was that of a school. The school is located right at the entrance to the village. The wall depicts the 'Mahasu Doli' festival which takes place during the summer season every year.
The Doli (20-26 Feb, 2019)Evolve Foundation
The ‘doli’ is a palanquin, and ‘Mahasu’ is a collective of four deities, who are considered brothers or as the avatars of Lord Shiva. The word is adapted from ‘Mahashiva’. During the festival, the ‘doli’ is designed for the "Char Dham Yatra". This is a holy pilgrimage to four sacred locations in Uttarakhand - Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath, and Badrinath.
The first part of the painting illustrates the decorations and ornaments being carried by the villagers.
The Making of Mahasu Temple (20-26 Feb, 2019)Evolve Foundation
In the second section, you see the Mahasu temple, which is significant for the Jaunsari community who revere Lord Mahasu.
A Jaunsar Family (20-26 Feb, 2019)Evolve Foundation
As festivities call for celebrations, a family from the Jaunsari community is also depicted, but with a subtle message on curbing migration - Haamuk Hamaro Gaon, Bado Achcho Laago - meaning ‘I love my village immensely’. The line drives home the local pride the community has.
The Legend of the Kirmir Monster
A story close to the Jaunsari community's hearts is the legend of the Kirmir Monster and Lord Mahasu. Throughout the Kahaani project, several artists took up the intriguing story that has shaped the beliefs of the community and have depicted it in their own styles.
View of Mahasu Devta and Kirmir Monster Paintings (20-26 Feb, 2019) by Shenali and Sudarshan JuyalEvolve Foundation
Seen here are the iconic characters of the legend - the Kirmir monster and Mahasu devta beside the temple tributed to the him.
These walls were painted by artists Shenali, Sudarshan and Himalaya.
The Complete Kirmir Monster Wall Painting (20-26 Feb, 2019) by Maguelone Dunoyer and CharlesEvolve Foundation
The artists Charles Manalt and Maguelone Dunoyer also chose to paint the iconic scenes of the story. They are the founders of Myrà (www.myra.world) and the mission of the company is to give access and visibility to the traditional stories all around the world
Let's take a deeper look into the tale!
A long time ago, the monster 'Kirmir' would come to Jaunsar village and cause havoc. He would target the people, especially the children.
In fear, and to appease him, the villagers made a rule - that on the 6th day of every month, they will give him a goat and a man. Kirmir agreed.
Huna Bhatt, the priest of the village, eventually lost six of his sons to the monster.
When Kirmir chose his seventh, and youngest son, the priestess Kritika, in a desperate plea to save her remaining son, starts worshipping Lord Mahasu. She promised him a temple if he saved her son.
Pleased by her devotion, the god helped her. In an ensuing fight, Mahasu Devta defeated Kirmir, putting an end to the misery the village had faced for so long.
With her son saved, priestess Kritika fulfilled her promise and built a temple as a tribute.
The Mahasu Devta and Mahasu Temple (20-26 Feb, 2019) by Shenali and Sudarshan JuyalEvolve Foundation
The Mahasu temple is not just part of a legend, but stands as a visitable place and is now iconic. It is also known as the Bhadraj Temple.
A Mantra (20-26 Feb, 2019) by Shenali and Sudarshan JuyalEvolve Foundation
Depicted here is a mantra or prayer to Mahasu Devta to eliminate the Kirmir monster or the presense of evil and negativity.
The Completed Painting (20-26 Feb, 2019) by Rajat SharmaEvolve Foundation
Here is another wall inspired by the story, painted by artist Rajat Sharma. He presents the demon Kirmir, the Mahasu Devta temple and the natural beauty of this region in a contemporary style.
The Shiva Family (20-26 Feb, 2019) by Shenali and Sudarshan JuyalEvolve Foundation
The Shiva Parvati Painting
The artists Shenali, Sudarshan and Himalaya took over more walls to paint. As Lord Mahasu is Lord Shiva's avatar, seen here is another story from Lord Shiva's life - his family with Parvati and their two sons, Ganesha and Kartikeya.
The wall depicts the famous story of Shiva throwing a challenge to both his sons by asking them to complete three rounds of the world and come back to him.
Kartikeya immediately jumps on a peacock and rides around the Earth.
However, Ganesha outsmarts him by riding a mouse - but around his parents, saying that they are his world, not Earth!
Ashoka and Kalinga War Painting
The students of University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun, joined the Kahaani project. While discussing with the elders about the stories and history that interested them, they realised the fascination held with King Ashoka.
King Ashoka was an Indian emperor of the Maurya Dynasty. He ruled around 250 BCE and was powerful.
But the way he sought to extend his own kingdom was by launching destructive and bloody wars against enemy kingdoms. Many, many wars were waged, and his territory eventually expanded. Soon, they wanted to take over the kingdom of Kalinga.
The war of Kalinga, turned out, as usual, bloody and destructive.
When he took a moment to see what he had accomplished, Ashoka was suddenly disturbed by the aftermath in front of him, caused by his own hands.
The epiphany was so strong, that it led him to change course and embrace Buddhism.
Seen here, is the dual phase (or face!) of King Ashoka's life.
The students of UPES felt the way the four old men who are members of the village committee shared the story, it had to be captured on the wall as well!
Here they are seen narrating the story of Asoka the Great to the people of the village.
Festivities and local culture
The artist Ayesha decided to represent the Jaunsari festive culture. Jaunsari people celebrate Diwali by wearing coluorful ethnic dresses and performing the Harul dance.
Harul Dance of Jaunsari People (20-26 Feb, 2019) by Ayesha ranaEvolve Foundation
Songs are sung by people with numerous musical instruments like Dhol, Ransinga, Tamtama, etc.
Capturing the Beauty of Jaunsar
This wall-painting is done by artist Taru. The Jaunsar-Bawar region is the hilly terrain of Uttrakhand, Mountains with its rich flora and fauna are a common scene in this region. The Painting unfolds its natural wealth.
The Roof (20-26 Feb, 2019) by TaruEvolve Foundation
Here you see a replica of every village household - where a stack of corns is hung on the pillars as a common practice.
Tackling urbanisation vs. preservation
An issue at the core of such remote villages is how rapid urbanization tends to take away local cultures and rural identity.
The Expansion of Cities (20-26 Feb, 2019) by Divesh D AryaEvolve Foundation
Created by Divesh D Arya, the painting addresses how such villages are shrinking and cities are expanding. People are migrating from villages to cities in search of livelihood and in this process, forgetting their own histories, culture and local folklores.
A Pondering Villager (20-26 Feb, 2019) by Divesh D AryaEvolve Foundation
The worries of parenthood are also highlighted. a village man reminisces about his life in the village and wonders how his kids are doing in the city.
Aipan-style Painting (20-26 Feb, 2019) by Divesh D AryaEvolve Foundation
The painting is executed in Aipan style, a folk art style traditionally made by women of Uttarakhand, which uses red and white as the dominant colours.
The style captures the essence of the thematic - of the desire for preservation, and pays tribute to the rich heritage of the Jaunsar region.