The earliest paintings found in India were scratched onto the walls of caves. There are also the famous wall frescoes at the Kailash temple at Ellora, which showcase the advancement in aesthetic techniques as well as sensibilities in the Indian subcontinent. Ellora is considered the finest examples of rock-cut architecture, and comprises Hindu, Buddhist and Jain caves that were chiselled between the 4th and the 9th century. 

The focus of the much more nuanced visual art tradition of India through the ages has similarly been one of the most important and prized aspects of culture. There are many schools of paintings throughout the country and even if one spends a whole lifetime exploring these aesthetic cultures, one can barely begin to scratch the surface. But for a beginner, here are some of the most historically prominent schools that one should admire.

Miniature Paintings, as the name suggests were small in size but wonderfully detailed. The Mughal painting techniques were inspired by the Persian rulers in North India and this school of painting had a lot of impact on the genre of miniature paintings as well.

Another school of painting which has some overlapping features is the school of Pahari painting. It was mostly practiced by Rajputs and because a number of their kingdoms were either overtaken by the Mughals or were always in close connect with them, one can see the influence of Mughal painting seeping into this technique as well. 

For any art enthusiast, Mysore paintings are a treat. Traditionally created from organic sources and embellished with gold foil, these paintings look divine, to say the least. And that is not just because they are primarily depictions of religious figures.

Tanjore painting is another art form which finds its home in the southern part of the country. It is also primarily religious in its inspiration and is known for its vivid colours, gold foil work as well as in the inclusion of glass beads to create a rich effect. 

Another important painting technique is the folk art of Madhubani from central India. The paintings are done either on cloth or on paper and include a lot of nature-inspired motifs and designs.