Basholi : Cradlle of World famous miniatures

Authored by: Late Suraj Saraf, Compiled by Aimay Saraf

Basholi gave birth to the famous art the Pahari miniatures which are pride of this place in international museums and art galleries. The influence of atelier had spread to many areas in Jammu region giving rise to several more local schools even in neighboring parts of Himachal Pradesh. For that achievement in the world of art alone, Basholi is worth a visit. (Many of these super sizzling miniatures of Basholi could also be seen in the Dogra Art museum in Jammu City). There are, however, quite a few other things, too, that will attract the visitors there. There are the ruins of the prodigious palace of the old rajas of the area. In olden times that monumental complex of buildings towers. Mr. G T Vigine in the mid of the 19th century wrote of it as the “very finest building of its kind” and said that he had seen it in the East. Establishing the ancient character of the town there are also some small temples overgrown with moss. A very interesting thing in Basholi is that down below among the rocks on the banks of Ravi there are a number of small caves whose purpose is yet unknown. Some of the caves are adorned with sculptured carvings. A comparatively much bigger cave captaining a huge sculpture in bas-relief attracts the attention. The statue is of Raja Bhupat Paul of Basholi. There are also some sculptures on the rocks outside.
Basholi is mythically said to have been founded by Vishvakarma, the master artist of the scriptures and its reputation as having been a great centre of art does full justice to its origin.
There are some fine archaeological sites in which Mahanpur, the Kadwal are better known. A visit to these sites will be rewarding for all those interested in the old sculpture art and temple architecture. The hinterland of Basholi also contains exceptionally enchanting spots. Of them mention must be of Sarthal glen of enrapturing natural vignettes, at an altitude of about 9,000 feet. One could reach there either from Basholi or from Bhaderwah on foot or ponies. Through it is a long distance from both sides the journey is, indeed, exhilarating and one comes across nature at its best. Bani is another prominent mountain village on this side en route to Sarthal from Basholi. Situated on both sides of streamlet and rich woods in the immediate back Bani is an enchanting hamlet. Mention may also be made of several wooden temples found in the area between Basholi and Sarthal, as to what purpose they served in those far off areas on the high ridges is a mystery. Never the less, they have beautiful wooden sculpture and carvings. Basholi is mythically said to have been founded by Vishvakarma, the master artist of the scriptures and its reputation as having been a great centre of art does full justice to its origin. The old town of Basholi was previously located somewhat below Paul in the early seventeenth century. He started building cyclopean Basholi palace which contained lot of frescoes. Basholi is directly linked with Jammu city by bus service. It is a small town and the headquarter of the tehsil of the same name. it is also famous for its Pashmina fabrics and bamboo articles.
( The compiler of this article is a freelancer from Jammu. Views are exclusively his own) [email protected]

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