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Lord Jagannath’s Gift

September 30, 2010

The Jagannath Temple in Puri, Orissa has an annual ritual. The wooden idols of Lords Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Shubhadra are given a holy bath, which leads to discolouration. Thus the idols are taken for restoration. In the meantime the temple uses three paintings of the Gods as substitution. This tradition has given rise to a beautiful art form called Patachitra.


Patachitra, typically a folk art which goes back thousands of years, can be literally translated as cloth painting. It is devotional art form, exclusive to families of painters called ‘Chitkaras’. Even though the legacy started from Lord Jagannath, other religious themes are also depicted.

The paintings are captivating, with its intricate detailing, exquisite pictorial compositions, a unique system of line formation, and continuous synchronization of ideas. Bold colours are used to depict scenes from various folklores, episodes from Hindu epics, different Gods and Godesses, animals and birds, etc. The subject has broadened over the years, with artists experimenting with a wide range of themes.



I had the opportunity of attending an exhibition of Patachitra paintings recently. A friend had commissioned a collection from a family in Orissa, and had held a viewing of the same. It was a moving experience to see these works in real. Each painting possessed an inherent power to capture the viewer’s attention.


And needless to say I (actually my mother) is a proud owner of an extraordinary art-piece.


"click here to enlarge' 


The painting depicts Krishna’s Rasleela surrounded by scenes from his life. The minute attention to details is mind-blowing. The photograph here doesn’t do justice to the original.

You have to see it to understand its beauty.


So you can drop in a word here, or e-mail, or on facebook, etc. if you are interested in attending a viewing. Plans are on for a similar one in a month or so. See you there :)!

12 Comments leave one →
  1. September 30, 2010 9:41 PM

    Wow, that is amazing. The finer details and all that – very well done. Thanks for sharing.

  2. October 2, 2010 9:00 AM

    Loved the art treasured by your mom!…informative post…:)

  3. October 2, 2010 5:39 PM

    Nice details of patachitra, thanks for the information.

  4. October 3, 2010 3:33 PM

    Beautiful art work. And interesting piece of information about it.
    What is it about the viewing?Do you own a gallery or something?

    • October 6, 2010 11:46 AM

      No I don’t own a gallery (I wish :D!).

      My friend who has commissioned this artwork is going to hold another viewing, at her place. So if you are interested, I can let you know when it is.

  5. October 10, 2010 10:24 PM

    informative post and thats a great work of art!

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