Aipan Art Of Uttarakhand

The Aipan (Alpana) is a popular art form of Kumaon. Walls, papers and pieces of cloth are decorated by the drawing of various geometric and other figures belonging to gods, goddesses and objects of nature. Pichhauras or dupattas are also decorated in this manner. At the time of Harela there is a tradition of making clay idols (Dikaras). 'Aepan' or Aipan or Alpana is an art which has a special place in all Kumaoni homes. 

About Aipan Art

The word "Aepan' is a derivative of 'Arpan'. A commonly used word for it is “Likhai” (writing), although it is a pattern made with the fingers. Aepan are used as ritual designs for Pujas, festivals and ceremonies connected with birth, janeu (the sacred thread ceremony), marriage and death.

The raw material used is simple ochre (Geru) colour and rice paste. It is mostly women who paint the designs on the floors and walls of their homes using the last three fingers of the right hand. Once the ochre base is ready the artist draws the pattern free hand. 

Popular Aipan Art Products

Chowkies are made with mango wood and painted with special designs for each occasion. Pattas & Thapas are made directly on the walls or on paper and cloth. Earlier the paint used was made from natural 'dyes. Today, poster and oil paints both are used. We are using the traditional "patterns for cards, wall hangings, cushion covers, table cloths, even T-Shirts. The decorative patterns used to adorn doorways have been adapted for gift tags, bookmarks, clay items, wooden boxes, trays and coasters.

Different forms of Aipans

Other Art Forms

The Shaukas use their own and Tibetan knitting art form to decorate mattresses known as Dans. In these woollen goods we find the mixed influence of the Kumaoni and Tibetan styles. Kumaon also has a distinctive style of making different baskets (Doka, Dala, Tokri); wooden casks (Theki, Harpia, Naliya) for keeping curd, butter and ghee; mattresses (mosta) and ropes etc. The art of Hilljatra mukhotas (masks) is also worth mentioning.

Know more about: Project Aipan

During the last two decades many rock paintings belonging to the proto-historic period have been discovered in Kumaon region of the state. Among them Lakhu Udiyar and Lwethaap are well known. The Pahari Kalam (style of painting) probably also developed in Kumaon, when it was being practiced in some of the Himalayan regions. Unfortunately very few examples of this style are available today.

Aipan has been trending among youth these days. Artists are trying new experiments with Aipan to make it popular among youth. Various Aipan based products like Aipan Diaries, Name Plates, Coasters, Paintings, Wall Hangings and even Aipan Sarees are available for purchases.

Posted by: eUttaranchal/ Bhupendra Kunwar
Aipan Art Of Uttarakhand Photo
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