Pattachitra Paintings: A Traditional art of India

Every country holds some heritage along with its evolution. Mostly, the heritage is cultural or religious. India, a land of Gods and Goddess is known to welcome every religion and culture in its fold.

Because of this, the nation holds same exquisite and exclusive art forms. Traditional paintings are the reflection of the way the people in older time used to live and moments from the religious epics.

There is more than one form of art that is being preserved and passed on to the generations. This blog is, however, going to focus on one dazzling piece of the art form; Pattachitra paintings.

Let’s take a look at what they are and where did they come from:

Pattachitra paintings

If you want to witness the legacy of Indian traditional art, then Pattachitra paintings are surely going to awestruck you with amazement.

Originated in the land of Odisha, Pattachitra paintings are said to be dated back to the 5th century BC.

The word Pattachitra is an amalgamation of two Sanskrit words “Patta” means cloth and “Chitra” means picture.

In the beginning, the artists used to carve exquisite patterns on the canvas made of cloth. During that time, the main theme that inspired artisans were of the Hindu epics. Today, artists are choosing a lot of varied subject matters.

Hailing from a small village in Odisha, Raghurajpur, Pattachitra paintings were made from the natural colors.

Did you know that Ragurajpur village’s each family has at least one member who is skilled in the artistry of making pattachitra paintings?

Yes, that’s the legacy of this art form that has been passed on from one generation to another.

The themes

With time, the artists have started choosing different themes for paintings of these art forms. But, in the older times, the ultimate subject matter of Pattachitra paintings were religious icons.

For example, artists depicted the temple of Jagannath, the Leela of Krishna (Childhood tales), the ten reincarnations of Lord Vishnu and the five-headed Lord Ganesha.

Apart from, this, Pattachitra paintings are known to mainly showcase the tales from the religious epics such as Mahabharata and Ramayana.


  • Using small cotton cloth strip which is coated with a blend of chalk and gum that were processed from tamarind seeds, Pattachitra paintings were crafted.
  • The strip is rubbed then using two stones to make it dry.
  • Today, artists utilize both cotton and the silk cloth.
  • As soon as the cotton is dried up, the smooth stone (Khaddar stone) is then rubbed to bring shine on the cloth.
  • When the cloth canvas is smoothened, the artists then carvealluringpatterns on the stone using vegetables and stone colors.
  • The last lines are sketched on the cloth using the brush.
  • The lines made are either red or yellow.
  • The canvas is the made to go through the process of fill-in using glue and colors.
  • The last lacquer coating is provided to avoid any damage from weather.

Facts about Pattachitra paintings

  • The time-frame to complete a single Pattachitra painting is around 5 to 20 days. Some of the artwork can take around a month also.
  • Generally, the duration of completion of these paintings relies on what size of traditional artwork is required. The process is quite complicated so it can take time.
  • Another interesting aspect is that in Pattachitra paintings no artificial colors were used. It is purely natural.
  • The artists who carve out these graceful and mesmerizing pieces of art are known as Chitrakars. These Chitrakars used hula for red color, harikari for yellow, and conch shells to make white color.
  • Pattachitra paintings were also carved on the walls of houses in the villages. The theme was mainly the Puranas, Ramayana, and Mahabharata.
  • Few of the art experts and historians believed that Pattachitra art is nothing but a storybook that reflected the life in ancient times.
  • The borders of the Pattachitra paintings are adorned by the ecstatic floral patterns. Similar to the usage of natural colors, the floral border patterns are a must for this exquisite traditional art
  • It was the Pattachitra art form that becomes the source of origination for Puri school of painting.
  • Conventionally, Pattachitra paintings were only carved out by the men of the village. However, with time, women and young girls also got engaged in the process.

Final Takeaway

So, the Pattachitra art form is still in practice in Raghurajpurvillage. Many art galleries are offering these traditional art paintings for sale on their platforms.

So, purchase an original piece today and make your art collection much rich and authentic.

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