What is Pattachitra Art?

by Annie Saxena on Mar 20, 2023

What is Pattachitra Art?

The ancient cloth-based scroll painting technique known as patachitra or pattachitra is mostly practiced in the eastern Indian states of Odisha, West Bengal, and some regions of Bangladesh. The Patachitra art form is renowned for its fine details and the mythical and folktale stories that are engraved in them. Pattachitra is a piece of ancient Odia art that was initially made for ritual purposes and as gifts for visitors to Puri and other Odia temples. Patachitras are a component of an old Bengali storytelling art, originally acting as a visual device during the performance of a song.

A typical painting from Odisha, India, is called a pattachitra. Based on Hindu mythology, these artworks were particularly influenced by Jagannath and the Vaishnava cult. Chitrakaras, an Odiya painter, uses only natural colors and creates all of the artwork in the old-fashioned manner. One of the most well-known and traditional forms of art in Odisha is the pattachitra style of painting.

What is Pattachitra Art?

The traditional painting style known as "pattachitra art" has its roots in the Indian state of Odisha. It is a type of fabric-based scroll painting that portrays many myths and legends.

Natural colors are utilized to create the intricate patterns in pattachitra paintings, which are produced on a canvas made of cloth or palm leaf. The paintings frequently depict themes from Hindu mythology, including the story of Lord Krishna, the Ramayana, and the Mahabharata. They frequently include bold lines, brilliant colors, and meticulous craftsmanship.

Sanskrit terms "patta," which means cloth, and "chitra," which denotes a picture or painting, are combined to form the name Pattachitra. The art form has been practised for more than a thousand years, and many families in Odisha still pass it down from one generation to the next.

Pattachitra art is not just beautiful to look at; it also has cultural and religious importance. It is frequently utilised in the décor of temples and residences and is seen as a form of worship. Pattachitra art has become more well-known in modern times, not just in India but also outside. Several artists have given the classic art style a modern spin.

What is Special About Pattachitra Art?

The following characteristics of Pattachitra art distinguish it as a distinctive and culturally significant art form:

Traditional methods: The traditional methods used to create Pattachitra art have been handed down through the generations of artisans. The paintings have a distinctive and earthy feel thanks to the painters' use of natural colours generated from minerals, plants, and other organic things.

Pattachitra art is renowned for its delicate detailing, which is accomplished by applying small, exact strokes with fine brushes. The paintings frequently feature scenes from mythologies, and the artists carefully consider each and every element to ensure that the stories are appropriately portrayed.

Canvas made of cloth: The unique aspect of pattachitra art is that it is produced on a canvas made of cloth or palm leaves. A coating of chalk and tamarind seed paste, which makes a smooth surface for painting, is applied to the canvas to prepare it.

Pattachitra art is revered in the state of Odisha, where it was first created, for both cultural and religious reasons. Often used to decorate temples and residences, the paintings frequently feature tales from Hindu mythology.

Pattachitra art is a traditional art style, but many contemporary artists have added their own creative touches to it. By reinterpreting the classic art form in fresh and original ways using contemporary methods and materials, they bring it into the realm of contemporary culture.

Ultimately, Pattachitra art is an aesthetically gorgeous and culturally rich art form that highlights the distinctive talents and traditions of its creators.

What is the Objective of Pattachitra Art?

Pattachitra art has many different goals, and they might change based on the painter and the particular artwork. Nonetheless, the following are some of the Pattachitra art's similar goals:

Creating images of mythical tales and legends: Pattachitra art's main goal is to create images of Hindu myths and tales. These tales frequently contain significant moral lessons, and the artistic medium seeks to graphically convey these lessons to the viewer.

To be used as a form of worship: Pattachitra art is frequently employed in temple and home décor, where it is used as a form of worship. Its application in religious settings underscores the idea that the art form has spiritual meaning.

To maintain traditional art forms: Pattachitra art is a tradition that has been maintained for more than a thousand years. Pattachitra paintings are created by artists who want to conserve and transmit this type of art to future generations.

To demonstrate artistic talent and originality: Pattachitra art demands a high degree of talent and creativity, and the creators of these paintings hope to demonstrate their skills and distinctive aesthetic vision.

To honour cultural history: The Indian state of Odisha, where pattachitra art began, has a strong connection to the cultural heritage of the world. The art form honours this cultural legacy and gives the people of Odisha reason to be proud of themselves.

The main goals of Pattachitra art are to convey significant narratives and lessons, act as a form of devotion, preserve traditional artistic traditions, display artistic talent and innovation, and honor cultural heritage.

How to Create Pattachitra Art?

It takes a lot of effort and time to create Pattachitra art, which also demands specific tools and materials. The general process for producing Pattachitra art is described as follows:

Canvas made from palm leaves or cloth

To prepare the canvas, use tamarind seed paste and chalk.

Natural hues produced by plants, minerals, and other organic things

Supple brushes

Black pen


A mixture of tamarind seed paste and chalk is applied after the fabric or palm leaf canvas is cut to the proper size. A flat surface is produced, perfect for painting.

Black ink is used by the artist to draw the design onto the canvas. The pattern may be based on a classic Pattachitra design or be an original work by the artist.

With delicate brushes, the artist paints the canvas with organic colours. The colours are normally placed in layers, with a gap between each coat to allow for drying time. The meticulous craftsmanship is frequently accompanied by vivid, bright colours.

The artist may use a varnish made of resin to maintain and enhance the painting's colours and lustre once it has been finished.

The procedures taken to create Pattachitra art are described here in basic terms, however there are many nuances and changes that can occur depending on the artist and the particular artwork. A profound grasp of the cultural and religious significance of the art form is also necessary, in addition to years of instruction and practice, in order to create Pattachitra art.

Which Clothes can be Used to Make Pattachitra Art?

The conventional canvas for pattachitra art is made of cotton, although it can also be made out of a palm leaf. Though the kind of fabric used for Pattachitra art might vary, it is commonly a kind of cotton fabric that has been treated with a mixture of tamarind seed paste and chalk to provide a smooth surface for painting. For their Pattachitra paintings, some artists further utilise silk or other forms of natural fibre cloth.

The fabric used for Pattachitra art can be dyed in whatever colour the artist chooses, but it is typically white or cream to highlight the natural hues.

The fabric should be free of any creases or wrinkles that can obstruct the painting process, and it should be strong enough to endure the painting process.

In general, the quality of the natural colours utilised and the artist's talent are more significant factors in Pattachitra painting than the type of material used. Regardless of the kind of fabric used, pattachitra art is a highly skilled and complicated art form that takes years of study and practise to master.

What are the Different Types of Pattachitra Art?

Pattachitra art can take many diverse forms, each with its own special aesthetic. The most popular varieties are listed below:

The most prevalent kind of Pattachitra art is known as traditional Pattachitra, and it is based on age-old patterns that have been handed down through the centuries. These paintings are notable for their vivid, bold colours and meticulous detail, and they frequently feature legendary tales and legends.

The Ganjam district of Odisha is the place where the Ganjapa Pattachitra, a subset of Pattachitra art, first appeared. In contrast to traditional Pattachitra paintings, these paintings are often smaller in size and are made on circular pieces of cloth. Characters from the Mahabharata and other Hindu epics are frequently shown in paintings by Ganjapa Pattachitra.

Tala Pattachitra: Tala Pattachitra is a form of Pattachitra artwork produced on canvases made of palm leaves. These paintings frequently have smaller sizes than conventional Pattachitra paintings and are distinguished by their elaborate, minute motifs.

Durga Pattachitra: This style of Pattachitra art features a picture of the goddess Durga, a well-known figure in Hindu mythology. The Durga Puja event, which is annually observed in India, is frequently portrayed in these paintings.

Jhoti Pattachitra: Rice paste is used to create Jhoti Pattachitra, a sort of Pattachitra art. During festivals and other events, the paste is spread to the walls and floors of homes where it's frequently utilised to make elaborate patterns and designs.

All forms of Pattachitra art are distinguished by their fine craftsmanship and vivid colors, while each has its own distinctive qualities and cultural significance.

What are the Skills Required to Create Pattachitra Art?

A variety of abilities, including both technical and aesthetic abilities, are needed to create Pattachitra art. Pattachitra art requires the following abilities, among others:

Aptitude for drawing In order to sketch out the design precisely and in a way that is pleasing to the eye, pattachitra art demands the artist to have great drawing abilities.

Painting prowess: Pattachitra painting necessitates the use of natural colours, which can be tricky to work with. To apply the colours precisely and in a way that is artistically acceptable, the artist must be proficient in employing a range of brushes and techniques.

Pattachitra art is recognised for its meticulous detailing, therefore the artist must have a good eye for the little things to produce a picture that is both aesthetically pleasing and faithful to the subject.

Patience is a virtue since Pattachitra art is a labor-intensive technique that calls for both of these qualities. To ensure that a painting reaches their high standards, the artist must be willing to put in a lot of time working on it.

Understanding of mythology and culture: Hindu mythology and other cultural traditions are frequently shown in Pattachitra art. The artist must have a strong awareness of these stories and customs to effectively reflect them in their paintings.

Fine motor abilities: The intricate patterns and designs that are distinctive to pattachitra art need the use of fine motor skills.

Traditional methods: Pattachitra art is a form that has been handed down through the centuries and calls for the use of conventional methods and supplies. To produce a picture of the highest calibre, the artist must have a thorough understanding of these methods and be able to use them successfully.

Ultimately, a blend of technical expertise, artistic talent, and cultural understanding is needed to create Pattachitra art. It takes years of study and practice to master this highly skilled and specialized art form.


Sanskrit terms patta, which means canvas, and chitra, which means picture, were combined to form the name Pattachitra. Pattachitra is a canvas painting that expresses simple topics, typically mythological in nature, with richly applied colour, imaginative motifs, and designs. Pattachitra painting customs date back more than a thousand years.

The "pattachitra" painting is reminiscent of ancient murals from Odisha, particularly those seen in religious buildings in the Puri, Konark, and Bhubaneshwar regions that date to the 5th century BC. In and around Puri, particularly in the village of Raghurajpur, the best work can be discovered.