Pattachitra of Raghurajpur goes back to 5 B.C.

By Srikanta Mohanty: Raghurajpur-the idyllic hamlet in the district of Puri- is the pride of Odisha as the heritage village of crafts. Home to excellent and rare  crafts, such as Tussar paintings, engravings on palm leafs, wood and stone engravings, cow dung, papier mache toys and masks, the village is also distinguished for being the birthplace of Gotipua dance.  To top it all, the artisans in the village have now global fame for one of finest and most delicate forms of art- Pattachitra. The paintings on palm leave and clothes have the surprising oeuvre of art that simply baffles the world.

“ The paintings have the ancient murals mainly of religious centers located at Puri, Konark, and Bhubaneswar. Dating back to 5th century BC, the paintings express the socio-cultural milieu and the images have the depictions of places of pilgrimage in Puri, Konark, and Bhubaneswar. As we know from the annals of history, the beginning of ‘Patta’ paintings coincided with construction of Jagganath temple at Puri. As the paintings are delicate and those wear off in course of time, but there is a solid ground to believe that those began around 5th century BC and even earlier”-says Sudam satapathy- an aficionado of modern and ancient forms of paintings.

However, the main theme of Patta paintings has always centered upon Jagganatha and Vaishnava cult. Such magnificent form of art combines three things in its elements; mythological, religious tales, and folklores.  Even now-a-days, sizeable crowds gather to view different ‘vesas’ of Jagganatha. The paintings are immensely popular in capturing the moods of time, when Jagganatha, Balabhadra, and Subhadra were adorned with impressive attires and gold ornaments. The pattachitra has numerous depictions about ten incarnations of Jagganatha and compositions of Jayadeva from Gita Gobinda. The wide repertoire also expresses beautiful themes from Ramayana and Mahabharata. Combining both folk and classical forms, the subtlest of the paintings are the quintessence of timeless forms of art. The wonderful lines in the paintings are bold, spotless, and intelligent. Invariably, those capture the images during important social occasions without any backdrops of landscapes, perspectives, and far-off views.

CraftOdisha CultureOdisha HeritagePattachitraPuri DistrictRaghurajpurTussar Paintings