Pattachitra: A Colorful Journey Through the Traditional Painting of Odisha

If you’re a lover of art and culture, you’ve likely heard of Pattachitra. Originating in the Indian state of Odisha, Pattachitra is a traditional art form that has been intricately woven into the fabric of the state’s history and culture. In this post, we’ll explore the world of Pattachitra – what it is, why it’s special, and the key elements that make it so unique.

What is Pattachitra?

Pattachitra is a traditional painting of Odisha, known for its vibrant colors, intricate designs, and ability to tell stories. The word “Pattachitra” is derived from the Sanskrit words patta, meaning “cloth,” and chitra, meaning “picture.” Thus, Pattachitra paintings are typically done on cloth, using natural pigments made from minerals and vegetables.

What is Pattachitra done on?

As mentioned earlier, Pattachitra is typically done on cloth. The cloth is first coated with a mixture of chalk and gum, which gives it a smooth, white surface that is easy to paint on. This is then coated with a layer of tamarind seed paste, which acts as a glue, allowing the natural pigments to adhere to the cloth.

Which God is Pattachitra for?

Pattachitra is used to depict a range of subjects, including religious and mythological stories, animals, and nature. However, it is most commonly associated with the worship of Lord Jagannath, one of the most revered and beloved deities in Odisha.

Pattachitra painting in which state?

Pattachitra originated in the state of Odisha and has been practiced here for centuries. In fact, it is considered to be one of the oldest and most important art forms in the state, with a rich history and cultural significance.

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Famous Pattachitra artists

There are many talented Pattachitra artists in Odisha, each with their unique style and approach to the art form. Some of the most famous Pattachitra artists in the state include Raghurajpur artists, Bijay Parida, Bhaskar Mahapatra, and Sudarshan Pattnaik.

What is special about Pattachitra painting?

What makes Pattachitra so special is not just its aesthetic beauty but also the way it tells stories and captures key cultural moments. Each Pattachitra painting is rich in symbolism and significance and can be used to tell a variety of stories and epics.

Moreover, creating a Pattachitra painting is not just about painting a beautiful picture but also about following a meticulous process. From preparing the cloth to sourcing the pigments to applying them with precision and care, every step is done with utmost attention to detail and thoughtfulness.

Key Elements of Pattachitra

There are several key elements that make Pattachitra paintings so unique and special. Some of these include:

Bold outlines

One of the most distinctive features of Pattachitra paintings is their bold and thick outlines. These outlines are typically done in black or brown and are used to define the different sections of the painting.

Vibrant Colors

Pattachitra paintings are known for their vivid, bold colors, which are made using natural pigments. These pigments include materials like turmeric, indigo, and conch shells, and are ground to a fine powder and mixed with water or gum before being applied to the cloth.

Unique motifs

Pattachitra paintings are filled with unique motifs and symbols, each of which has a specific meaning and significance. Some of the most common motifs in Pattachitra paintings include flowers, animals, birds, and geometric shapes.

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Traditional techniques

Creating a Pattachitra painting involves traditional techniques that have been handed down from generation to generation. From the way the cloth is prepared to the materials used to the painting techniques themselves, everything is done using traditional methods.


Pattachitra painting is more than just an art form. It’s a cultural treasure that has been shaped by centuries of tradition and continues to captivate people with its unique beauty and storytelling. Whether you’re a lover of art, culture, or history, a Pattachitra painting is sure to leave a lasting impression.