Blending Persian decorative genius with Indian joie de vivre, mural painting was developed into a high art form under patronage from the region’s rulers in Mughal times. Some of the most beautiful are to be found in the palace at Bundi. Inside, the former royal apartments hold a collection of vibrant early 17th century murals, rendered in rich turquoise, lapis blue, green, purple and scarlet. The finest are those of the Chitra Sala, a garden terrace whose paintings depict sensuous scenes of dalliance and dancing from the Krishna story.
The desert towns of Shekhawati retain another exceptional crop, dating from the time before the arrival of the railways when the region lay on a major trade route. As well as featuring the usual Hindu themes and decorative motifs, much of the art depicts early British officials, military scenes and fangled new modes of transport dating from the early colonial era, such as hot-air balloons and trains.