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Home » East india » Orissa » People and culture » Paintings
Orissa Places to see PAINTINGS

At a glimpse:

Location :
Districts of Orissa.

Established by :
King of Puri Gajapati.

Famous for :
Rock paintings, Patachitras.


Orissa is the most popular tourist destination which is comprised of various attractions. It is a frequently visited site among the visitors. This beautiful region is enclosed with alluring spots that are worth watching, it includes pristine beaches, stunning blue mountain and hill, exotic wildlife, Pilgrimage and historic site, and many more. To see these attractions, voyagers from all around the world come from far away regions and countries here. Among all the famous sites, the state of Orissa in India is renowned for its traditional paintings that are valued to watch while exploring in this region.

Orissa Rock Paintings or known as (Rock Shelter):

The pictographic writing and rock painting are the most famous art form that you will find only in specific regions like in the western area of Orissa. In this state, visitors can find them in the district of Jharsuguda in Vikramkhol, in Jharsuguda, Ushakothi of Sundergarh and Manikmada, Gudahandi of Kalahandi and the Jogimath of Nuapada. All these places are highly rich in the prehistoric art form in Orissa state.

The art of paintings which are made in this state ranges from the small geometrical patterns and floral designs to huge animal motifs and the human figures. Mostly the designs they paint on the rock are the traditional patterns like the domestic chores, dancing, fighting, and hunting images are shown on it. The skilled and talented artisans also paint these attractive and beautiful designs on the walls which are followed in typical pattern of horizontal style. Once the designs are made, the images or figures are painted with vivid colors to look more attractive. The colors that used are natural and traditionally unchanged, for red it is extracted from iron, white from the compounds of lime, and brown from brass, or copper. Such types of natural and unique paintings of Orissa are worth watching while you are on a tour to this place.

In the pictographic writings, the characters that are used are derived from the scripts of Brahmi and Mohanzdaro. The most popular rock painting of Ravana Chhata is placed in the Sitabinji city of Keonjhar district, which depicts the pageant scenes of the king who is riding a caparisoned elephant and marching with his soldiers. A huge mass of armed force were holding the banners and shafts that was followed by the female attendant. These types of paintings that are made in this district carries the recollection of the Ajanta murals. When you witness this site, you will see a number of splendid murals that are embellished inside the Jagannath Temple. The Buddha Vijay marvelous painting is placed in jagamohana of Lakshmi Temple and Kanchi Vijay in jagamohana at Jagannath Temple.

Ethnic paintings of the state Orissa:


The three parts of the Orissan School of Paintings are classical, folk, and the tribal. In the classical paintings of Orissan, the pattachitras are the most common one which are painted on the piece of cloth (patta). The fabric is layered with the earth to harden it and it finally finishes with the decoration after the painting. For adorning the fabric various types and pattern of design are made mostly and the different motifs that are in vibrant colors. The Pattas that are colored with vivid motifs are mostly used as wall hangings by the tribals. Mostly, the tribal people decorate their house by these types of pattas that are used to embellish the furniture or wall. The main subject of the patta paintings is connected closely with the Jagannath religious cult and also some of the episodes are acquired from the life of Krishna and Ram. In some cases, the Pattas also showcase some of the religious scenes of the Kaliya Dalan, Vastra Haran, Rasa Lila, and a few images of the Lord Jagannath. The paintings of Orissa in Patachitras are mainly into the subject matters like the appealing musical themes, for wildlife, nature and eroticism. The skilled artisans also make the same kind of ganjapa cards; the small size circular cards are made in the sets of around 96 discs, carried out in energetic folk style that are special here.


To see such kind of paintings of Orissa, myriads of tourist come from all around the world to witness this special art form. In this village, not all the artisans can paint the art form, but traditionally who belong to caste of chitrakars i.e. painters are respected in the society. They are the only groups in the village that are honored to paint the Puri temple and the deities, chariots each year.

For writings, the material used are the palm leaves which are also known as the Chitra pothi. One of the most popular and an exclusive original tradition of Orissa state is the craft that is made from the palm leaf, which were also used for manuscript in the earlier medieval period. During the previous time, there were no particular pens, but the iron pen orstylus which is simply known as the ‘lohankantaka’ by the locals. Firstly, the artist engraves some of the beautiful designs and text on the base of the palm leaves, and then secondly they apply the paste of charcoal, oil, and tamarind seed. After the process, the remains are rubbed off and then the channels stand out clearly. Usually the artisans paint legends of the Ramayan and Mahabharat, the themes of wildlife and nature, and also the images of the goddess and gods that are presented on it. This type of paintings reflects the Culture and tradition of India which each and every Hindu person respect for their deities in this religion. Some of the visual effects are also enhanced to the painting by using the different colors from mineral and vegetable. They also paint the romantic figures that are drawn on the small palm leaves, but today they are used as a book marks, playing cards, and greeting cards.

In the earlier period, the traditional and skilled artists came together in the Raghurajpur village, which is located at a distance of over 50 kilometers from the region of Bhubaneswar from where this art form is revived. Originally, the Pattachitra artists who paint such a beautiful art form were established by the King Gajapati of Puri dynasty. They were asked to paint the divine trinity of the deities on special clothes which can be hung within the sanctum of the Jagannath Temple. This fabric is used as a religious cloth by the devotees that they worship and take darshan during the period of Anavasar i.e. (retirement in privacy). It is the festive season which is traditionally known as the ‘Rath Yatra’ which occurs when Lord Jagannath leaves the holy shrine along with his siblings, sister Subhadra and brother Balabhadra to mix with the herd of people.

The paintings of Orissa are initiated from this religion and tradition, this type of art forms are gained and developed popularity all around the world. The Dandasahi village which lies near the Raghurajpur district is considered as the most popular and identified in this famous centre. The most popular artisans that introduced and added some of the modern and new elements to the Patta paintings are the Panu Moharana, who is the son of Ananta Moharana. If you are planning to take a trip to the state of Orissa, make sure you glance at the paintings that are beautifully made by the artisans of this region.

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