There is a very picturesque origin to the art of painting.
"Narayan", the Supreme Being was engaged in meditation when celestial dancing
girls, called apsaras, tried to
disturb him with a display of coquetry and blandishments. The God
conceived of a plan to cure the maidens of their vanity. He extracted the
juice of a mango tree, and using that as his paint, he drew an imaginary
portrait of a nymph, large eyed and delicate, with a form so filled with grace
that no Goddess or woman, could vie with her in all the three worlds. The
apsaras were put to shame when they saw this painted maiden, Urvashi, and crept
away silently from God's presence. And the picture, into which Divine
skill had infused the golden breath of life, became the ideal form of feminine
beauty. Vishwakarma, the architect of heaven, was then instructed in the
art and science of painting so that he might transmit his knowledge to the
people of the earth.
So in Telangana, in the tradition of the venerable Vishwakarma, the artists
created innumerable scroll paintings. Originally used by bards who went
about reciting verses describing episodes from religious texts, the artists
evolved a method of painting individual situations taken from Indian
mythological sources as well as a whole range of village deities in limited
sizes. These types of paintings are ideal wall hangings, but if you are
lucky you can acquire a scroll running into several metres. Cherial in
Warangal District is the traditionall centre of this art.
Another unique item is the peak of playing cards known as
ganjifa, a speciality of the craftsmen of Nirmal. They are
circular in shape and richly decorated. The method of making these is
rather intriguing. They are made from pieces of thin cloth pasted in
three layers with a gum-like substance, then coated with liquid chalk to give
it a white surface. The pieces are then turned into a round shape,
polished with stone and painted like a miniature. The rear sides are then
coated with lacquer.