The Evolution of Traditional Pattachitra Art to Modern Time

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The Evolution of Traditional Pattachitra Art to Modern Time

About 9 miles from the city of Puri lies the colourful village of Raghurajpur. In this small of some 120-odd houses, at least one member from each house is a skilled artist who is excellent at crafts palm-leaf engraving pattachitra paintings, paper mâché masks, wood carvings, coconut shell paintings, stone carvings and wooden toys. Therefore, it is also known as a Heritage Craft Village, depicting the uniqueness in Odisha culture.

Having said that, the village’s real claim to fame is Pattachitra. It is a traditional form of miniature painting with religious or tribal themes on cloth. Several artisans have mastered this 12th-century art form and even received national awards and accolades for the same. One of the fascinating aspects of this craft is its production process. It involves only local materials specifically obtained from the surrounding palm, jackfruit and coconut trees on the banks of the Bhargavi River.

People make the patta or canvas by combining two cotton layers with glue (made from tamarind seed and powered conch shell), drying it and polishing it with stones. Then, they use natural colours to paint them. Now, let us see the craziness of this popular art form.

What’s The Craze About Pattachitra Art?

Be it a potential buyer or just an art and craft aficionado, the villagers of Raghurajpur are quite enthusiastic and happy when visitors come to their homes to learn about the art and watch first-hand the creation of these amazing masterpieces! And of course, you can buy any pieces you particularly like. They fix the price depending on the item and the work’s intricacy. This is one of the specialities of Odisha Tourism. Let us see what these paintings depict:

  • The theme of Odia painting hovers around the Jagannath and the Vaishnava cult. Since the beginning of Pattachitra culture, Lord Jagannath, an incarnation of Lord Krishna, has been the primary source of inspiration. The subject matter of Patachitra or PattaChitra is mythological, religious stories and folklore.
  • Themes are chiefly based on temple activities, Lord Jagannath and Radha-Krishna, different “Vesas” of Shri Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra, and the ten incarnations of Vishnu based on the ‘Gita Govinda’ of Jayadev, Kama Kujara Navagunjara, Ramayana, Mahabharata. The painters also paint individual paintings of gods and goddesses.
  • The Pattachitra styles are a combination of both folk and classical elements but lean more towards folk forms. While dress style also has Mughal influences, they are unique to accentuate the narrative character of the style.

Now, let us see how artisans prepare these paintings.

How is Pattachitra Art done?

The Pattachitra paintings combine the components of classical and folk styles. The artisans traditionally prepare the canvas and start with a fine gauze-like cotton cloth coated with white stone powder and gum made of tamarind seeds. This prepares the canvas to accept the paint, made from natural colors easily. These colors happen to be one of the most distinguished features of Pattachitra. The gum of the kaitha tree is the base ingredient, and the artisans create different colors by adding pigments of available raw materials.

How Traditional Pattachitra Paintings evolved?

As you already know, fashion is a form of living art, so it is no surprise that pattachitra painting has found its way into different sarees and designs today. The artisans typically incorporate these paintings into sarees made using silk and cotton textiles. Using pattachitra paintings is quite a quirky method of giving the traditional sarees a refreshing change, making them feel both traditional and contemporary all at once

In apparel, craftsmen typically incorporate pattachitra paintings by using bright hues to give the clothing vibrant colour palettes. Moreover, it also narrates the stories in jewel-tone hues. While this form of painting is becoming increasingly popular for sarees, you can also witness them in everyday accessories, including household items. Whether it’s clothing, accessories, or stationery items. these paintings have found their way into virtually every form of living art

Over hundreds of years, the art form has evolved and has witnessed discernible changes. The Chitrakars have painted them on palm leaves and Tussar silk and made wall hangings and showpieces. Interior designers often recommend using them for a classic ethnic style of decoration; You can also find the art on vases, wooden boxes, and glass bottles. These paintings and handcrafted art objects, therefore, make for an excellent corporate gift.

Read More: Top 5 Things You Can Do When in Odisha

Now, let us see the distinctive features of these paintings.

Distinctive Features of Pattachitra Paintings

The rich, colorful motifs and floral borders are the distinctive features of Pattachitra paintings. The colours are limited to a single tone, and shading of colours is considered taboo. The Chitrakars are quite strict in their application of colours and patterns. The art is more about bringing out stark emotions in their paintings via neat patterns and designs than realism. This thus brings a unique look and feel to the paintings. While originally the art men practised this art form, women and young girls are also doing the Pattachitra art.


The ancient art of Pattachitra has evolved substantially to suit the needs of modern times. These days Pattachitra paintings are available on a wide range of home décor products such as servewares, tabletops, home furnishing items like bedspreads, wall hangings etc., in different modern colors and designs.

Are you looking to buy Pattachitra art? Art Minakhi is your answer. Here we celebrate the connection of the Divine power and reinforce it via different art forms. We sell a wide range of handmade art made with watercolours, oil colours, acrylic colours and fabric colours on canvas and cloth. We try to bridge the tropical world with thought leaders through our work, thus bringing ecological sustainability to the forefront. Our skilled artisans are equipped with years of experience, and thus we produce abstract paintings, clay paintings, and many more. You can check all our items by our talented artisans and artists at For any query, you can call us at 8984374826 or email us at

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