Illustration from a Baramasa Series: The Month of Savana

Rajasthan, Kotah
circa 1760
Opaque watercolor on paper
Folio: 12 3/8 by 8 ¼ in. (31.5 by 21 cm)
Image: 9 5/8 by 5 7/8 in. (24.5 by 15 cm)

Claude and Françoise Bourelier Collection, France

The feminine energy of the Teej Festival, a celebration devoted to Parvati worship and the coming of the monsoon rains, is on display in this rich and vibrant composition. Traditionally, women seeking marital bliss and prosperity make offerings to the goddess united with Lord Shiva at this jubilant time of year. Amongst other forms of revelry, the festival is celebrated by erecting swings in courtyards and parading an idol of the deity through the streets until, at the celebration’s culmination, she is submerged in water.

The group of colorfully clothed and veiled women at the bottom of the painting head toward the river, ready to set their clay figure loose. From an upstairs terrace Krishna appears amused by a young woman who swings with abandon, while Radha reaches her hand down as if communicating with a group of delighted onlookers below. It is another image of Krishna and Radha, this time in loving embrace against a deep green forest at the top of the composition, which serves to emphasize the joy of blissful union, the main prayer made by women to Parvati during this time. Peacocks perch atop roof turrets, birds sit in tree branches, lotus flowers abound in the water, and blossoms burst forth under the lightning-streaked night sky on this special evening, echoing the joyful spirit of the occasion.