Usta art At Gaj Kesri

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“The object of art is not to reproduce reality, but to create a reality of the same intensity.”

— Alberto Giacometti

Elephant with “Howdah”.
Artist: Asghar Usta
Sculptor: Gopal Suthar
Medium: Oil Paint and Gold Leaf on Wood
Dimension (inches) : 35 x 13 x 44


The term “Usta” originates from the Persian word ustad or master in a particular art or several arts. During the period of Mughal emperor Akbar, a group of Usta artists came to Bikaner in the royal patronage of Maharaja Rai Singh to perform design work at the famous Junagarh Fort of Bikaner. The craftsmanship and skill of those artists can be seen even today in the Anup Mahal, Phool Mahal, and Karan Mahal of Junagarh fort.

Usta art is a broad term that combines many different forms of arts and techniques. This gold embossed work spreads through many stages. Firstly, the smooth surface gets prepared by applying natural primer; then, the measurement gets taken to draw the designs. The designs drawn on the surface are called “akhbara,” or the first work stage. In this, the floral arrangement gets filled using brush and color. When dried, the floral design gets embossed through a brush using a paste prepared by mixing pot clay powder, gum, jaggery, and ‘naushadar’; this is called “Manovat. “On this embossed design, a layer of yellow paint is applied and is left to harden-dry again. The gold foils are then stuck on the manovat, and colors are filled using a very fine brush.

Art and Gold leaf Work on the walls of the Entrance Hall at Hotel Gaj Kesri.
Artists: Iqbal Usta, Ayyub Usta, and Ameen Usta
Designer : Sunil Rampuria


Sunil Rampuria, says – “The Usta Brothers – Asgar(Late), Iqbal, Ayub, and Ameen have been with us since the year 1984, and we have been instrumental to a large extent in keeping this glorious art form of Bikaner alive and thriving. They have worked and created unique masterpieces of this art in both Bhanwar Niwas and Gaj Kesri.” Usta art’s scope is humongous from the traditional royal blue clouds on ceilings, wooden sculptures, huge mirror frames, and dainty gold foil floral designs on the walls. They work in our Basavan Art Studio in Bhanwar Niwas inside the old city guided by Sunil Rampuria, an amateur artist, architect, and mind behind the conception and creativity of the masterpieces curated handcrafted here.



Dimensions : 23″ x 16″ x 7″ ; Mounted on Wall.
Medium: Gold Leaf & Oil Paint on Wood.
Designed by Sunil Rampuria, Hand Crafted by Iqbal Usta & Ayub Usta.

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