A ''project tiger'' in Suraj Kund

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Suraj Kund (Haryana), Feb 6 (PTI) Among the usual ensembleof hand-crafted items and colourful ethnic ware in the annualfair here this year was a stall full of paintings of the tiger-- ''burning bright'' in its royal look.

The painter -- 26-year-old Rakesh -- is from Ranthamborein Rajasthan, which houses one of the biggest national parksin northern India. His stall is only displaying paintings oftiger and leopards.

Rakesh, who says he is painting tigers for the last 12years, has captured them in various moods, backgrounds andposes. From close-ups depicting the sharp and fierce featuresto life-size pictures bringing out the ''fearful symmetry'' --the paintings show the majestic predator in all its glory.

"I am doing this work for the last 12 years. But have cometo the Suraj Kund Mela for the first time," says Rakesh.

While foreign tourists form a big chunk of his clienteleback home in Ranthambore where he has a shop, in the craftsfair too, he is registering moderate sale, he says.

The paintings are made on cloth with water colours.

The Ranthambore national park is located in the SawaiMadhopur district of south-eastern Rajasthan, which is about130 kms from Jaipur.

Once the hunting grounds of the Maharajas of Jaipur, itwas declared as a game sanctuary in 1955 and designated as anational park in 1980. It is spread over 1,334 sq km alongwith its nearby sanctuaries like the Mansingh Sanctuary andthe Kaila Devi Sanctuary.

Situated near the park is the Ranthambore School of Artwhich consists of painters from local villages and focuses onthe tigers of Ranthambore.

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