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Sanjhi - The art of papercutting

Updated on May 13, 2012

Sanjhi Art

"SANJHI" :- Sanjhi is an tradition of the region of Vraja in the northwestern Indian state of Uttar-Pradesh. Vraja is known as the Indian God Sri Krishna's homeland.

Rooted in the folk tradition, the practice of sanjhi was taken over by the Vaishnava temples during the 15th/16th centuries and developed into a highly refined art form professed by the Brahman priests.

Today, the art of sanjhi has become rare and is practiced by very few people in very few temples only. sanjhi practice is among the most ancient and most beautiful branches of this tradition, which somehow remains in the temple of Radharamana at Vrindaban (Uttar Pradesh).

Sanjhi The Art of Papercutting
Sanjhi The Art of Papercutting

The Art of Paper Cutting

Sanjhi, the art of hand cutting (or stencil cutting) designs on paper, is typical art of Mathura in Uttar Pradesh, home of the god Krishna.

Traditionally, The theme of Sanjhi are taken from the God Krishna's stories and are created in stencil which are used to decorate spaces during festive seasons, or are used for filling in with colors in water and on the floors of temples.

The cutting process requires lots of skill, concentration and patience, and the fine detail is achieved with specially designed scissors. later, striding latticework patterns of Mughal origin as well as more contemporary themes have been introduced to widen this art form.

At one time this art was believed to be practiced extensively over Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat but now it survives only in Mathura.

History of Sanjhi Artwork

History of Sanjhi

A traditional temple craft used for ritualistic rangolis, especially practiced by Radha to woo Lord Krishna centuries ago, Sanjhi has gone beyond the temples of Mathura. Though the name still differs as you travel across India - Rangoli in Maharashtra and Gujarat, sanjhi or stencil cutting in north India - but over the years the art has been taken over by a number of artisans and is being practiced in few temples of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. "The 350 year old art is not restricted to narrow by lanes of Krishna janmabhoomi. It has been adopted by the country and given its due respect"

Type of Sanjhi Artwork

Dry Colors Sanjhi

Dry Color Sanjhi
Dry Color Sanjhi

The most popular sanjhi is filling with dry colors . The filling of colors in Sanjhi and lifting of the same has to be meticulously and impeccably done as the process is as critical as cutting of the Sanjhi.

Water Sanjhi

Water Sanjhi
Water Sanjhi

The submerged Sanjhi - i.e. rangoli made is viewed under the water and Rangoli floating on the water.

Non-temple Sanjhis

Traditional Sanjhi
Traditional Sanjhi

These are made by young unmarried girls, who create a new design on the walls of their houses each day, using flowers, coloured stones, and metal foil, among other things, on a cow dung base.

each design is supposed to be linked with a part of the story of Sanjhi and her husband, Sanjha, and each evening, the completion of the sanjhi is followed by rituals involving offerings of food and the lighting of lamps by unmarried girls seeking 'a husband and many children'. On the final day, which is amavasya (moonless night), a grand design called the kota is created. All the materials used in making the sanjhis each day are collected and are disposed off in water (tank, river etc.) after the holy Navratris or nine nights (Nav = nine; ratri = night) of Durga Puja

Blessed by Squid Angels
Blessed by Squid Angels

Blessed by Squid Angels

Another Reason to be Thankful!

SquidAngel sukkran blessed this lens Sanjhi - The art of papercutting.


SquidAngel Writingnag blessed this lens Sanjhi - The art of papercutting.


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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Can u Imagine that the existence art form is in danger because in India there is only one family left which is practicing this art from many years ago!!!!!!!

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      This art is of Indian Origin and It is dying....

      We should help these artist to raise the standard of this art form. Because there is only one family left in INDIA which is practicing this art from years ago>>>>>

    • Alberto-K profile image


      4 years ago

      Hace unos años leí el Bhagavad gita, la apasionante e inspiradora historia de Krishna y Arjuna.

      Me gusta la cultura hindú, por eso, no he podido evitar leer el artículo. Desconocía este arte. Muy interesante.

      Un saludo y gracias.

    • LisaDH profile image


      5 years ago

      I've never heard of this, and it's too bad it's rare these days because it looks like a very wonderful and creative art form.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Interesting, great skill

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 

      6 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Very interesting. Some European cultures have paper cutting, I never knew India did paper cutting.

    • ForestBear LM profile image

      ForestBear LM 

      6 years ago

      Just beautiful, I love it. Thank you

    • chezchazz profile image


      6 years ago from New York

      I would never have the patience to do this but it sure is beautiful.

    • kimbesa2 profile image


      6 years ago from USA

      Awesome skill to this craft...thanks!

    • goo2eyes lm profile image

      goo2eyes lm 

      6 years ago

      i did like it very much.

    • vkumar05 profile image


      6 years ago

      Great Lens. Enjoyed reading it.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      @julieannbrady: thanks

    • Blackspaniel1 profile image


      6 years ago

      nice lens

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      OMG ... do I like it? No ... I LOVED it! Fabulous stuff and good exercise for the hands too. Just lovely.

    • lucky izan profile image

      lucky izan 

      6 years ago

      wow that's beautiful art, nice lens

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Hi Ritika, thanks for sharing this artform. I never heard of this artwork being called Sanjhi, though I know what papercutting is. Good to know about this beautiful art. Blessed :)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      This is gorgeous! Thanks for sharing this information :-)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Thanks for sharing this with us fellow squiders! One big thumbs up vote left for this lens!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Interesting lens and beautiful art work too

    • wcjohnston profile image


      6 years ago

      Great Lens, full of colour

      Wedding Photographer Bristol

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      This is a beautiful craft and thanks for highlighting it! Very nicely done. :)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Very nice.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I have seen these designs and often wondered how these are done.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      interesting lens, gave ya a 'thumbs up' for it.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I've never heard of this before, Great Lens!! keep it up

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Interesting! I've never heard of this before. Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Amazingly intricate. Never heard of it before.


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