Welcome to Chola Impressions - One stop shop for Tanjore Paintings and other Excuisite Indian Arts

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Tanjore Paintings emboss muck design work Live illustration by our Founder

While making Tanjore Paintings, muck design work is done once the muck flour is laid on the stone. The muck flour will act as the basement for the muck DESIGN work



There are many ways to do the DESIGN work. The following youtube video shows one of the methods - a bit advanced version which comes after a lot of practice. 

Subject: Radha Krishna on swing

Size: 15 inch x 12 inch

Where to buy Tanjore Paintings?

Where to buy Tanjore Paintings?



This is a pertinent question in the minds of many art lovers. In this post, we will elucidate you as much as we can on the various quality aspects of Tanjore Paintings which will serve you as a guiding mechanism while purchasing Tanjore paintings. Using these pointers, you can decide yourself on where to purchase the paintings

We will keep this post as brief as possible. For each point highlighted below, we will create a separate post under the name 'Chola Impressions Tanjore Paintings Quality Series' which will have a very detailed explanation on how it matters to the life of the Tanjore Paintings. Pointers are listed below in the order of importance:

  • Look for Authenticity certificate for the 22 Carat Gold foil - The most unique thing about Tanjore Paintings is the 22 carat gold foils stuck on the embossed areas. But unfortunately some manufacturers are compromising on the gold foil as they use synthetic or a duplicate foil instead. So always look for Authenticity Certificate wherever possible. To allay any fear on our customers mind, we at Chola Impressions issue the Authenticity certificate for each and every painting that we make



  • Ask for pictures of Paintings in progress - If you order a painting (instead of purchase of instock paintings from the gallery), ask for snaps of the painting in progress. We are suggesting this because, few people just stick the photocopy of a painting (sometimes a colour print out also) on the board and do some slight retouch on the print out to make it look like a painting. This is wrong on so many levels, but this is followed by some. The issue here is - the print out on absorbing the poster colour and the water from embossed work starts wearing off very soon. This drastically affects the life time of the painting. Sometimes it won't even last for 3 years. An average Tanjore Painting lasts for 100 years or even more if preserved properly



  • Check website/ Google page/ Facebook page before making the purchase - You should always make it a habit to check the website of the manufacturer, their google and facebook pages - especially the customer reviews. 
    • Check website for pricing. If the pricing is not mentioned, it means the pricing is not transparent and you can't create a benchmark and it is difficult to make a decision
    • Google page - This will give you the complete picture of a manufacturer and their reputation. This will give you the various platforms the manufacturer is present which eases the decision making
    • Facebook page - It gives you the access to the entire timeline of a manufacturer - various paintings made and the styles being made. Dropping a message on facebook page helps you understand the responsiveness of the manufacturer and the approachability
    • Facebook & Google Reviews - These are very important while making the final call. Look for the specific terms customers have used while giving the feedback. This will give you the final green light for the purchase




  • There are other indicators too for authentic paintings - but has to be seen as a combination of all the above aspects. Like if the manufacturer agrees to give without the frame. In this case, you can thoroughly check most aspects
    1. The quality of plywood used - Waterproof is preferred which we use for all our paintings. Added advantage if it is borer and termite proof - all our plywood are compliant to this
    2. Cloth used. This will expose if a photocopy or print out is used in place of cloth and hand drawn sketch
    3. Gold foil: You can even check if it is a real 22 carat gold foil or a synthetic foil. We will highlight this process in another post as to how to find the difference between original and imitation foil


  • Last but not the least. Buy Tanjore Paintings from Tanjore itself. There are so many galleries and talented artists in Tanjore making the paintings in the most traditional and authentic way. We in Tanjore make it much much better than the companies in Chennai, Coimbatore, Hyderabad and elsewhere in terms of authenticity and artistic features. We see it as a divine work, but elsewhere it is seen as a business and mass production thing. Why buy Tanjore Paintings elsewhere when you can buy from Tanjore itself?

We hope all the important aspects of Tanjore Paintings are covered in this post. We will keep adding more points & links to this article in the future so that it can be used as a ready reference by everyone. The work is divine, and we intend to keep it that way devoid of any impurities while making it


What are the best things to do on weekends in Thanjavur?

We are including off-beat locations in Tanjore. You can do the following in a sequential manner.

  1. Start off the morning visiting Hotel Coffee Palace (near Kaasu kadai street) as early as 6:30 am for a hot coffee and breakfast. Don't go to the one near the bus stand
  2. Head to the Palace - visit Palace museum, darbar hall, saraswati mahal, bell tower
  3. Visit the handicrafts society just opposite to Saraswati Mahal
  4. Have lunch. You can either have unlimited meals for Rs. 60 again at Hotel coffee palace or you can drive on the outskirts to posh hotels like Adyar Ananda Bhavan or Junior Kuppanna where you can spend fortune to have meals
  5. If it is a sunny day (which is most likely), I suggest you take an afternoon nap
  6. Around 4:30 pm, you can enter the magnificent Tanjore Brihadeeshwar temple and you can spend the whole evening there. Saturday being a special day for Lord Shiva, the environment will be vibrant. If you are lucky, you will get to witness Live carnatic music and Bharatnatyam performance too.
  7. Go for a late night show in any of the theatres. You can drop by and purchase tickets. Tickets will always be available. There is no concept of Saturday night rush, etc in Tanjore unlike in metros

Come Sunday morning:

  1. You can visit Poombuhar - art emporium run by the government of Tamil Nadu where you get to see some stunning art work except for Tanjore Paintings. I must say they dont have the best collections. So for Tanjore Paintings, you can visit Chola Impressions workshop where we make the best of Tanjore Paintings. Since it is a sunday, a prior appointment will ease your visit
  2. Once done, you can stroll through the south main street where they make Veena and Tanjore Art plates. You could get in touch with us for appointments with these artists
  3. Take rest in the noon and in the evening, you can visit Sivaganga park (which has deteriorated, yet a nice place to be) which is behind Tanjore Big temple
  4. You can again visit Big temple (I have visited a thousand times, yet it gives a great feeling every time I visit) If you are an art enthusiast, two full days wont suffice taking note of the sculptures and paintings in the temple
  5. Once done, you can walk to the evening market to get the local flavour. It is an interesting place which is the confluence of different culture within Tanjore.

This marks the end of your weekend :)

  • There are other places like - Tamil University, its Library (which is very less known even among the locals) This library is huge and is closed on Sundays. Anyone can enter the library. The campus has lot of peacocks. You will have to drive slowly as these peacocks roam freely on the road.
  • You can drive into NIT Trichy campus which is just outside Tanjore. It is a nice place too.
  • You can visit Tanjore Annai Sathya Stadium. It is one of the oldest in Tamil Nadu. It is an amazing place to jog, walk, swim and play. It has lot of trees and has a soothing environment
  • If you are looking to hang out for a conversation, there is a Cafe coffee day near Vallam. It is empty and calm most of the time

We will add more if we find any more interesting places

Dhasavatharam Tanjore Painting by Chola Impressions


Dhasavatharam is a core theme in Hindu culture that teaches us countless things if observed closely. 

For some, it is the origin of species, which Darwin discovered hardly 100 years ago. And for some, it is partly the evolution of Humans from animal-like and uncultured to a civilised man, and it goes on to show how Dharma will degrade resulting in Kalyug. We have portrayed each avatar in Tanjore Painting style as seen above. The size used is 30"x16"

Order: Macha, Koorma, Varaha, Narasimha, Vamana, Parshurama, Rama, Balarama (Explanation given below), Krishna, Kalki

The first four avatars of Vishnu appeared in Satya or Krita Yuga, the first of the four Yugas, also called 'The Golden Age', the next three in the second Yuga, the Treta Yuga, the two avatars after that appeared in the third Yuga, the Dwapara Yuga and tenth and last avatar will appear in the last Yuga, Kali Yuga. The time till completion for Kali Yuga is in 427,000 years. In the Vishnu Purana and the Bhagavata Purana, the Kali-yuga is described as ending with the appearance of Kalki, who will defeat the wicked, liberate the virtuous, and initiate a new Satya or Kalki Yuga.

  • Matsya, the fish, from the Satya Yuga. Vishnu takes the form of a fish to save Manu from the deluge (Pralaya), after which he takes his boat to the new world along with one of every species of plant and animal, gathered in a massive cyclone.
  • Kurma, the tortoise, from the Satya Yuga. When the devas and asuras were churning the Ocean of milk in order to get Amrita, the nectar of immortality, the mount Mandara they were using as the churning staff started to sink and Vishnu took the form of a tortoise to bear the weight of the mountain.
  • Varaha, the boar, from the Satya Yuga. He appeared to defeat Hiranyaksha, a demon who had taken the Earth, or Prithvi, and carried it to the bottom of what is described as the cosmic ocean(much like in ether theory) in the story. The battle between Varaha and Hiranyaksha is believed to have lasted for a thousand years, which the former finally won. Varaha carried the Earth out of the ocean between his tusks and restored it to its place in the universe.
  • Narasimha, the half-man/half-lion, from the Satya Yuga. The rakshasa (Demon) Hiranyakashipu, the elder brother of Hiranyaksha, was granted a powerful boon from brahma, not allowing him to be killed by man or animal, inside or out, day or night, on earth or the stars, with a weapon either living or inanimate. Vishnu descended as an anthropomorphic incarnation, with the body of a man and head and claws of a lion. He then disembowels the rakshasa at the courtyard threshold of his house, at dusk, with his claws, while he lay on his thighs.

  • Vamana, a dwarf, from the Treta Yuga. The fourth descendant of Hiranyakashyap, Bali, with devotion and penance was able to defeat Indra, the god of firmament. This humbled the other deities and extended his authority over the three worlds. The gods appealed to Vishnu for protection and he descended as a boy Vamana. During a yajna (यज्ञ) of the king, Vamana approached him and Bali promised him for whatever he asked. Vamana asked for three paces of land. Bali agreed, and the dwarf then changed his size to that of a giant. He stepped over heaven in his first stride, and the netherworld with the second. Bali realized that Vamana was Vishnu incarnate. In deference, the king offered his head as the third place for Vamana to place his foot. The avatar did so and thus granted Bali immortality. Then in appreciation to Bali and his grandfather Prahlada, Vamana made him ruler of Pathala, the netherworld.
  • Parashurama, warrior with the axe, from the Treta Yuga. He is son of Jamadagni and Renuka and received an axe after a penance to Shiva. He is the first Brahmin-Kshatriya in Hinduism, or warrior-saint, with duties between a Brahmin and a Kshatriya. King Kartavirya Arjuna and his army visited the father of Parashurama at his ashram, and the saint was able to feed them with the divine cow Kamadhenu. The king demanded the cow, but Jamadagni refused. Enraged, the king took it by force and destroyed the ashram. Parashurama then killed the king at his palace and destroyed his army. In revenge, the sons of Kartavirya killed Jamadagni. Parashurama took a vow to kill every Kshatriya on earth twenty-one times over, and filled five lakes with their blood. Ultimately, his grandfather, rishi Rucheeka, appeared before him and made him halt. He is a Chiranjivi (immortal), and believed to be alive today in penance at Mahendragiri.
  • Rama, the prince and king of Ayodhya, from the Treta Yuga. He is a commonly worshiped avatar in Hinduism, and is thought of as the ideal heroic man. His story is recounted in one of the most widely read scriptures of Hinduism, the Ramayana. While in exile from his own kingdom with his brother Lakshman and the God Hanuman, his wife Sita was abducted by the demon king of Lanka, Ravana. He travelled to Lanka, killed the demon king and saved Sita.
  • Krishna was the eighth son of Devaki and Vasudev, from the Dwapara Yuga. He is also a frequently worshiped deity in Hinduism and an avatar in Vaishnava belief. He appeared alongside his elder brother Balarama. Balarama is regarded generally as an avatar of Shesha.

  • Balarama is included as the eighth avatar of Vishnu in the Sri Vaishnava lists, where Buddha is omitted and Krishna appears as the ninth avatar in this list. He may be particularly included in the lists, in circumstances where Krishna is removed and becomes the source of all avatars.
  • Kalki ("Eternity", or "White Horse", or "Destroyer of Filth"), will be the final incarnation of Vishnu, foretold to appear at the end of Kali Yuga, our present epoch. He will be atop a white horse and his sword will be drawn, blazing like a comet. He is the harbinger of end time in Hindu eschatology, and will destroy all unrighteousness and evil at the end of Kali Yuga.

"Yada yada hi dharmasya, glaanir bhavati Bharata 
Abhyuddhanam adharmasya, tadaatmaanam srujamyaham"

Lord Krishna addresses Arjuna - the Paandava prince and says, "Whenever and wherever there is a decline of dharma i.e righteousness and there is predominance of adharma, I descend Myself on to Earth during such time to protect dharma".

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What is the unique feature of Tanjore paintings?

This question was posted on Quora (link here). This article is a reproduction of the answer given by our founder.

  1. The unique feature of Tanjore Painting is its 3-D property. Let us explain it further. Tanjore Painting is the only painting to have EMBOSS on it. That is, the painting has areas that are ELEVATED from the surface.
  2. The other feature is the Real Gold Foil used to stick on the EMBOSSED areas - 22 carat gold foil is used. It is made of real gold and it never fades.

Nowadays, to reduce the overall cost, some galleries have started using synthetic foils (read fake gold foils). Sometimes the customers are aware of it and sometimes they dont - they get cheated. Care has to be taken while evaluating the authenticity of the gold foil. One should look for shops/ artists providing ‘Certificate of Authenticity’ for the gold foils. We at Chola Impressions issue Authenticity Certificate for each painting we make

Check the images of embossed paintings made by our Artists


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How to assemble a Tanjore Dancing doll - Illustration

We have seen many art enthusiasts struggle while assembling a Tanjore Dancing doll. 

So, we have made this illustration which highlights various parts of a Tanjore Dancing doll and how effectively one can assemble this doll. Watch the video and subscribe to our Youtube Channel for more art related updates



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Eight Massive 11 ft Ashtalakshmi Tanjore Paintings made by us in record 18 days

At Chola Impressions, we strive to achieve excellence by doing things that were never done before.

20 different artists worked together for 18 days tirelessly to make Eight Lakshmi Paintings of size 11 feet each.

A feat that was never achieved before. No one thought it was even remotely possible. A 11 ft painting normally takes 3 months to make. But at Chola Impressions, we made 8 such paintings in just 18 days. Now we leave it to you to decide whether it is a record or not.

We have uploaded the pictures of all Lakshmis below. We are sure it will be a feast for your eyes


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Nataraja Tanjore Art Shield - An age old Art form thriving till date

Nataraja Tanjore Art shield/ Art Plate:

Nataraja  is a depiction of the Hindu god Shiva as the cosmic ecstatic dancer. His dance is called Tandavam or Nadanta, depending on the context of the dance

The shield is made of pure Silver, Brass and Copper. The central subject (Nataraja here) is made of Silver. The base is a polished circular brass plate made to perfection. The flower-like border encircling Lord Nataraja are made of Copper and silver in an alternative fashion as seen in the image


This elegant Nataraja (Shiva as the cosmic dancer) Tanjore Art plate is both wall hanging and table-top art item. It gives the space a classic look. Brass being naturally anti-bacterial, it keeps the surrounding healthy in addition to the pleasant feeling it gives on looking at the shield.

The shield is detailed to perfection in every aspect - the symbolism of Nataraja, smooth finish of the brass plate, symmetrical placement of the design around Shiva, to mention a few


It has a transparent mica/ fiber glass doom on the front preventing the shield from oxidation. Gathering the feedback from various customers to make it as a table top item, we have got this hand carved foldable wooden stand to house the shield. Check out the wooden stand


This shield can be bought from our site here: Buy Nataraja Art Shield 



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The uniqueness of Balaji Tanjore Paintings


"Whatever actions I perform, by body, mind, senses or intellect. I surrender them at the feet of Sri Narayana."


Balaji Tanjore Painting is one of the finest art works one would ever encounter, but rarely appreciated.


It highlights the level of craftsmanship involved in making the embossed areas representing the rich ornaments, weapons, symbolism, mudras and so many innumerable minute details of the painting.





It can only be appreciated if the painting is observed closely. In addition to the emboss work, a lot of effort is involved in black-lining the embossed areas to highlight the relief work done in the painting.





Stone work involved, the choice of colours and the neutral face of Lord Vishnu are typical of Balaji Tanjore Paintings.





Teak wood mani type frame give the paintings a classic look.



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Krishna Janmashtami 2016 wishes from Chola Impressions

Chola Impressions wishes each & everyone of you a very happy Krishna Janmashtami (Gokulashtami as it is widely called in South India)

Here is a tribute to Lord Krishna on the occasion - Enjoy the video compilation of our work portraying each stage of Lord Krishna as a child


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