Tilkayat Govardhanlalji

Tilkayat Govardhanlalji (1862-1934)
Head Priest, Haveli of Shri Nathji, Nathdwara

by Ghasiram Hardev Sharma, (1868-1930) Nathdwara, Rajasthan
circa 1885

Opaque watercolour and gold on paper
18 x 14 in. (45.7 x 35.5 cm.)

Tilkayat Govardhanlalji was a descendent of Vallabha, the godfather of the religious community known as ‘Pushtimarg’. As a direct descendent of Vallabha, whose wooden sandals are still worshiped in the sanctum of the Haveli of Shri Nathji, Govardhanlalji conducted numerous religious ceremonies or pujas upon succeeding his father in 1877.

Ghasiram Hardev Sharma was one of the most prolific artist of Nathdwara. After being engaged in painting murals for the Raja of Jhalawar, Ghasiram advanced to the position of chief or mukhiya of the painting department. Ghasiram also turned to photography and, after a visit of Raja Ravi Varma to Udaipur, near Nathdwara, is said to have started to paint in oils. Tilkayat Govardhanlalji was in fact Ghasiram’s major patron. Many pilgrims used to visit Nathdwara and portraits of the Tilkayat were in high demand by them. This portrait of Govardhanlalji was painted at his young age; during the time he became the head priest. Several portraits of the Tilkayat are known and published.