Just 70 km away, on the sea coast lies Puri, a temple and beach
town that shares and mirrors some of
Bhubaneswar's arts and crafts, even as it nurtures arts and
crafts that are uniquely its own. In the famous exquisitely carved
Jagannath temple, an annual ritual has given birth to a treasured art form.
Three paintings on specially treated cloth or patas are prepared by the temple painter and hung inside the sacred precincts of the temple. Originating as a ritual,
patas developed over the years, as a distinct school of painting executed by the
chitrakar (artist) community. Blood red, red ochre, lamp black, yellow, white and indigo blue sometimes offset each other, sometimes blend to form
patachitras in the skilled hands of talented chitrakars who follow in the footsteps of their forefathers.
Since olden times, pilgrims to Puri have been carrying home the colorful
patas or patachitras as precious mementos- just as they carry back
Ganga jal (water from the holy Ganges) form Haridwar. The
patas from Puri are sought after by tourists and art lovers both in India and abroad.
The Patachitras are paintings on cloth. In the absence of paper, cloth gives an extended smooth surface and is easily transported.
Patta paintings are so called because they are executed on silken hand woven both. They are painted with bright colours and possess a charm peculiarly their own.
Their pictorial conceptions, their unique painting technique and line formations together with colour schemes make them a remarkably original art form that is distinct from any other school of painting either in or outside India.