Raga Hindola

The Indian raga, a musical note visualised as a character, that celebrates spring

By National Museum - New Delhi

Raga Hindola (1590/1595) by unknownNational Museum - New Delhi

The swing, hindola, is associated with the Vasant or spring festival celebrated in the month of Phalguna

The text panel at the top describes the new foliage budding on the beautiful mango tree. 

The inscription together with the hindola, sets the mood of the painting which, according to the Persian inscription on the upper border, depicts the raga Vasant.

A couple sway together on a swing tied to the branches of the mango tree, while attendants spray them with coloured water, scented with saffron, which the nayika (heroine) tries to dodge. 

There is music in the air - from the ektara played by a third attendant, and...

...presumably, from birds that chirp and sing against a golden sky.

In the foreground is a water-course with a fountain. 

The source of the Sanskrit verse on top is not identified. 

It contains references to the newly sprouted branches of the mango tree...

... and the playing of water sports as the joys of spring-time.

Various references seem to be implicit in this evocative picture. Among them one is reminded of Kalidasa’s Raghuvamsa, which describes the motion of the swing as that of young women moving with their lovers during festivities.

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