Trains of Japan and Canada to be decorated with Bihar’s iconic Mithila Painting

Mithila or Madhubani painting needs no introduction if you are a Bihari. The ancient art form of Bihar has garnered fans wherever it reached. And recently this art form got wheels of its own, literally. You might have seen the trains that are adorned with Mithila paintings and thanks to this, this art form has reached all around the country. But that’s not it as Mithila paintings has found their fans abroad as well.

Impressed by the Mithila painting artwork on the Indian trains, the government of Japan and Canada have requested the Indian railways to provide them a set of Mithila artists who can decorate their trains as well. 

As this ancient art form is practiced in the Mithila region of Bihar and Nepal, it is called Mithila or Madhubani art. Mithila Painting is known for representing ritual themes. The colours used in it are usually procured from plants and other natural resources. Instead of contemporary brushes, objects like twigs, matchsticks and even fingers are used to create the paintings.

Last year an initiative was launched by the Indian Railways at Madhubani station, Bihar. The initiative was intended to decorate the station with Madhubani or Mithila painting as a part of cleanliness and beautification project. Along with adorning the railway station, this initiative also highlighted the craft of local Mithila artists. The station won the second prize (shared with Madurai) for station beautification competition, organized in Rail Bhawan.


This event leads to a trend where various other railway stations have also been painted and decorated with the same style. As for example; Patna Junction, Rajendra Nagar terminal and Danapur followed the suit and the list is still increasing. Even trains like Sampark Kranti express, Jansadharan Express and Patna Rajdhani Express got a makeover and were decorated, both inside and outside, with Mithila Paintings. About 22 coaches of Patna Rajdhani Express are painted with this beautiful ancient art.

This revolutionary change is noticed by many foreign delegates from different countries.

Even Indian unit of United Nations tweeted after seeing these trains,

“How beautiful are these Indian Railways’ trains!
Women from Bihar painted these coaches with traditional Mithila art, also known as Madhubani, using their fingers, twigs, matchsticks & brushes with natural dyes & pigments!”

The government of Japan and Canada also want their trains to be painted  with Mithila art form and hence they have requested Indian railways to provide them a set of Mithila artists for it. 

“When Mithila Paintings of India were etched on trains, not only Indians but people from other countries also got attracted. I am feeling very happy by telling you that Japan, after witnessing the beauty of Mithila painting, has requested a team of Mithila artists, and we are doing it gracefully.”

tweeted Piyush Goyal, Cabinet Railway Minister of India.

Similarly, Director of Canada Railway Board, in a recent letter to Indian Government, said,

“Mithila Paintings not only attract tourists and visitors but also a thought of positivity emerges after watching it. Whenever in stress, you can always feel better by living in a positive ambience of by watching a beautiful painting. If Indian Government sends a team of Mithila artists to Canada, we are also willing to adorn our trains with Mithila Paintings.”


If you’re already jumping with excitement, let’s bounce you even higher. Apart from Indian fanbase, Mithila painting has a dwelling in Japan too. Yes, you read it right! There’s a Mithila Museum in a converted schoolhouse in Tokamachi, Niigata Prefecture, situated in Japan’s snow country. Here approximately 850 Mithila paintings, more than 300 paintings that the Mithila artists created in Japan, Warli paintings by an aboriginal group in India, and Indian teracotta statues and figurines, are exhibited on a permanent basis.