Janam Sakhis are illustrations, along with accounts of the various episodes in Guru Nanak’s (founder of Sikhism) life. The various chapters, listed in chronological order, give a glimpse of the guru’s life through the use of paintings and descriptions. The script employed is Gurmukhi
, while the language is mostly Punjabi
and a rare dialect called Sant Bhasa. These are some of the most comprehensive depictions of the Guru’s life. Basically there are four Janam Sakhis - Puratan, Miharban, Bhai Bala and Bhai Mani Singh’s Janam Sakhi.
The earlier illustrations in these belong to the Mughal style, while the later ones belong to the Pahari School. Guru Nanak is always depicted as a radiant and energetic figure, in a contemplative pose. He is always shown with Bhai Mardana, his faithful friend and devotee, who is playing on the Rabab. While the Guru composed and sang hymns, Mardana provided the accompaniment for them.