Puri Pattachitra

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  • Topic: Jagannath, Jagannath Temple, Vishnu
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  • Published : February 25, 2012
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 Pattachitra is a Ritualistic Textile of India.  It is a scroll, hand painted textile.  The word Pattachitra originated from a Sanskrit word. Patta means “a piece of cloth” or “a piece of palm leaf (talapatra)” and Chitra meaning “picture”.  They cut the palm leaf into stripes and stitched together with fine needle.  This tradition is linked with worship of lord Jagannath.

A scene from Ramayana

Pattachitra of Lord Jagannath

 These paintings are executed by traditional caste known as “CHITRAKARS” ,who have been painting murals on temple walls.  Raghurajpur and Dandasahi are the villages involved in producing these paintings .  Chandanpur is the place where these paintings are sold.  The Origin is linked with famous Jagannath temple of Puri which was built by Choda-GangaDeva.  These Paintings were traditionally done only by males.

I  God Jagannath of Puri with brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra








Tamarind seeds

Raw Materials Used
Chalk powder

 Patta – a piece of cloth or a piece of palm leaf  Tamarind Seeds  Chalk Powder  Gheru is used for temporary marking(can get washed away)  Gum resin  Brushes are made of the hair of domestic animals  Organic or natural colors.

Gheru powder

Gum resin

Organic Colours

Natural ingredients:

Blackened Wick

 Vermilion – Bingol stone  A brick red –Geru  Yellow – Baritali  Black – lamp black  Indigo – Haritala  White – Conch shell

Indigo Flex


About Painting
 Mineral Based Colours are used (adhesives are added)  Temporary Colours, not to be washed.  It is a very Tedious process. Tools Used : Coconut shells are used as containers.  Brushes are locally made.  Grinding Stones to make powders from rocks for colors.

Coconut Shells as containers

Grinding Stone

Preparation Of Patta

Preparation Of Pigments

Motif Selection


 Crushing of tamarind seeds.  Tamarind paste (acts as antiseptic)  Application of paste on first layer of the fabric.  Application of paste on the second layer of fabric.  Patta left for drying.  Polishing of Patta.  Ready for painting. Time consumed:  Average painting takes a week whereas more intricate ones take a month’s time.

The Ancient technique
 Palm leaf engraving, talpatra or dried palm leaves are used.  They are cut into strips and stitched together with a fine needle.  The complete etching is then rubbed over with leaves and black paint.  In this it is believed, nature merges with the divine.

Why Pattachitra??
 Life in Puri revolves around the temple of lord Jaganath-art of Jaganath cult.(“Lord of the World”).  One of the massive festivals known as Devasnana Purnima where chitrakara plays a major role.  During which in a grand procession a ceremonial bath is given to the deities by pouring water on the images.  Thereafter they fall sick and kept away from public view for 15days.

Snana-Purnima Ceremony

 This is where Chitrakaras majorly come into action.  Chitrakaras paints the substitute icons, called Anasara Pati.  The making of which begins on Akshaya Thritiya.  The canvas come from the temple, pujas are performed and once completed Anasara Payi is rolled and tied with the black cloth.  Pati is now carried by Chitrakara in a ceremonial procession.  Other major festival is the Rath Yatra.  The Chitrakaras engage themselves in painting of walls of various temples and mathas.


Rath Yatra

What makes the art stand by itself?
The extraordinary system of line formation. The fantastic pictorial concepts. The idiosyncratic conventions. The vibrant use of colors.

 Jaganath and the triad of deities.  Episodes from the Hindu epics.  Themes related to the worship of various gods and...
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