Second in the series, ‘Artisan Villages of Telangana’, comes the village of Nirmal in Adilabad district. A two hour drive from Hyderabad brings you to this town where all the village artists have got together to create a co-operative society, recognise themselves and setup a store to sustain this dying art form.
Practised by the Naqash artists of the 14th century, The Nirmal Art Form is an ancient tradition that has today, translated into making of toys and paintings from the locally available variety of softwood, known as ‘Poniki Chekka’. Though slowly fading out with each passing generation of the artisans losing interest; it originally flourished in the area, as the then rulers were great patrons of this art.
Made from tender wood, put together with a mixture of saw dust in tamarind seed paste (chinta lappam) and finished with a coat of brilliant paint, typical also of the Nirmal Paintings, these handmade toys are very light.
Artists of both these Telangana villages, Nirmal and Cheriyal use the same indigenous raw material to create such varied art. While the Cheriyal Artists use the chinta lappam to sculpt their masks, these artists use it to glue on the limbs and wings to their animal and bird figures and as a base to smoothen and bring shape to the toy.
All the artists are registered with the village cooperative society and work within its framework. Every artist is given a single toy to make, which he makes in number and takes around 20 days to a month to complete and so does not have to adhere to a stringent daily work routine but can pace it out as long as he delivers on schedule.
You can tell a Nirmal Painting from its characteristic streaks of gold, always against a black background. & also, from the human form that is graceful in its expression and is eloquent in its influence of the Mughal Miniaturist Art and the Ajanta and Kangra styles of painting.
A Nirmal Painting of the Basara Gnana Saraswati Devi, the Hindu Goddess of Learning at Basara, an important pilgrimage destination in the district.
Getting There: Take the NH44 straight from Kompally. A smooth drive of 210 Kms should get you to Nirmal.
Remember: There are quite a few tollgates along the way, so make sure to account for a little extra while budgeting for this road trip.
Places of Interest: Add one or more of these to your itinerary to complete your day trip.
- Shamgarh Fort – Right at the entrance to the town, make a quick stop here for a view of the whole town from the ruins.
- Pochampadu Dam – Only 3 Kms off the highway, you don’t really need to make extra time for this one. Also known as the Sri Ramasagar Dam, probably owing to the popular Ram Mandir located here, not only is this one of the biggest dams in the area irrigating 5 districts of both Telangana and Andhra but it was also one of spots for the Godavari Pushkaralu last year.
- Kuntala & Pochera Falls -Roughly around 50 Kms further ahead of Nirmal, both of these are in the same direction. Kuntala Falls are touted to be the highest waterfalls in Telangana.
- Basara Sarawasti Devi Temple – If religious detours are more your style, this is a must visit. Every day, thousands of Children begin their intellectual journey here with the South Indian Hindu ceremony, Aksharaabhasyam. This rite marks the start of a child’s formal education.