Saturday 17 April 2021

Odisha Art And Sweet- Pattachitra And Rasgulla #RasagolaA2Z

Pattachitra is a traditional fine-art of Odisha

Like Rasagola, Pattachitra too is linked with Shree Jagannatha Temple, Puri, Odisha, India. 
The word Pata comes from the Sanskrit word "Patta" meaning “a piece of cloth” and "Chitra" meaning "painting". 

Niladri Bije is celebrated as Rasgulla Day i.e. #RasagolaDibasa.

As per the centuries-old continuing tradition of Puri Temple, Lord Jagannath offers Rasagolas (Rasgullas) to appease His wife, Devi Laxmi. Also, each year, on this last day of Rath Yatra, the devotees offer Rasagolas to the deities.
This is artistically depicted on this handloom gamuchha (a multi-purpose cloth used in Odisha) by our Pattachitra artist-

To learn more and to see images corresponding to the various stages of creation of the above Pattachitra, do read this blog post- #RasagolaDibasa Doodle And Pattachitra

Puri is one of the Chaar Dhaam (four most holiest places for Hindus) and from time immemorial, the pilgrims used to carry Pattachitra as souvenirs. 
Odisha Pattachitra has been flourishing from centuries. 

'Nagarjuna Besha' Pattachitra gifted to the President of India at Puri during his Odisha visit last month

Apart from scroll paintings and on various materials, this art is also found on the walls of the Shree Jagannath Temple, Puri, and also on the chariots (Rathas) of the Ratha Yatra. 

The common theme of Pattachitra is Hindu mythology with tales from Ramayana, Mahabharata etc. Mostly Hindu Gods and Goddesses, especially Radha and Krishna, Dasavatar, and Krishna's acts like Shri Krishna Raas Leela, Kalia Daman etc are depicted. The siblings - Lord Jagannath, elder brother Lord Balabhadra, and sister Devi Subhadra feature prominently. 

Patachitra style of art is also made on playing cards are called Ganjapa cards. Based on their subjects such as Ramayana cards, Dasavatara cards and Krishna Leela cards.

Pattachitra is also spelled as Patachitra.
There is no uniformity even in the Odia spellings- both single and double "t" are used.
No matter how it is spelled, Pattachitra belongs to Odisha.
Just like no matter how the word Rasagola is spelled, Rasagola belongs to Odisha.

However, the art of the neighbouring state, Bengal, that was never called "Patachitra" earlier, is now being showcased as "Patachitra" and getting tagged along with Odisha. 

Do read all the replies in the following tweet of our Honourable Commerce Minister to understand how this is causing misrepresentation. How many believe that this is "Patachitra" art?

The traditional artists of Odisha Pattachitra are called Chitrakaras. They have been preparing the canvas and colours for centuries. Chitrakara is a type of seva at the Puri Temple as per the Record of Rights.

It is a matter of grave concern that the word Pattachitra/Patachitra is being misused and misrepresented now.

Consequently, there are lots of misleading articles online about 'Patachitra'/'Pattachitra'.

Recently, this writer spoke to a senior artist from western India regarding Pattachitra. The latter said that ‘Pattachitra’ belongs to Odisha, while ‘Patachitra’ belongs to West Bengal!

Whether it is spelled with a single or double "t" i.e. Pata/Patta, the fact is that the word "Patachitra/Pattachitra" is linked with Puri and Odisha for many centuries. Thus, Pattachitra i.e. Patta Paintings are also called Puri Paintings.

But, the Wikipedia entry about Pattachitra has been edited and includes Bengal and its Pot art now that is shown as - Patachitra- by changing spelling by removing a 't'.

Odisha has got the Geographical Indication (GI) tag for “Orissa Pattachitra” in 2008.

More information in this blog post- Orissa Pattachitra #OdishaGI #KnowYourGI

West Bengal has got GI for “Bengal Patachitra” in 2018.

Bengal applied for the GI Tag for "Bengal Patachitra" along with some others including "Banglar Rasogolla" in 2015, after Odisha celebrated the maiden Rasagola Dibasa online on social media on July 30, 2015.

During a recent virtual discussion regarding commercialization of GIs, this writer asked the GI researchers this question - Q- To which state of India does Pattachitra belong? 

All of them unanimously answered- Odisha. They had not heard of 'Bengal Patachitra', though they knew about 'Kalighat Paintings'.

However, most of the recent articles about Pattachitra make it seem as if it is Bengal’s craft!

Many of the articles about Patachitra do not mention Odisha & if they do, Odisha is treated as secondary & Odisha's name is taken after Bengal.

Please do check out some of the reports about Patachitra published here, here and here.

Further, a village in Bengal- "Naya" has been set up based on the concept of Odisha's heritage village- Raghurajpur. Articles about Naya village are a mirror-image of what has been published for Raghurajpur!

Most of such "Patachitra" articles and news reports have been written and posted online in the past few years, especially from 2015 onwards (after we started celebrating Rasagola Dibasa online after which- Bengal submitted GI applications for Banglar Rasogolla and Bengal Patachitra among others).

Bengal should have just used their local term(s)- Potua/Pot/Kalighat Paintings.

Also, the local artists of Bengal are- Potua.

The Pattachitra artists of Odisha are called- Chitrakar.

For centuries, there has been a seva/sebayat (servitor)- Chitrakar- in the Shree Jagannatha Temple, Puri, Odisha.

However, from the past several years, Bengal has been adding the world "Chitrakar" as the surname of its Potua artists.

Very few use Potua in their names, famous artist "Kalam Patua" is an exception.

Now a vast majority have started using Chitrakar as their title, while the same was never used earlier!

This proves that Bengal has been using not only the term "Patachitra", but also the term "Chitrakar" for artists.

After Odisha earned GI tag for her Pattachitra, Bengal has been celebrating "POT MAYA" - a festival to celebrate their "POT" art.

But, instead of using "Pot" or "Potua" art, they used "Patachitra" in their GI application name.

When the Bangal Pot festival name is "POT MAYA", shouldn't their GI name be "Bengal Pot" or Kalighat Pot or Pingla Pot or Bengal Potua?

As per this latest news-report- "Art & culture lend a dash of colour to Bengal elections"-

"With elections just a few days away, local women of Dattabad area in Bidhannagar where Trinamool Congress' Minister-of-State for fire Sujit Bose is a candidate, have started painting 'alpana' designs, 'ghot' (Earthen pot) and 'patachitra' images (cloth-based scroll painting), trees, leaves and other designs, along with the candidate's name."

If Earthen pot is- 'Ghot', why is Bengal Pot being called 'Patachitra'?

If Rasagola that originated in Odisha is called- Rosogolla in Bengal, shouldn't Pata/Patachitra, that originated in Odisha, be called Pot in Bengal?

Using Odisha's name 'Patachitra' in their GI is creating confusion and misrepresentation.

This is- cultural appropriation and infringement.

This writer has been sharing regarding this incorrect depiction on Social Media. Please do check this Twitter thread about Pattachitra/PatachitraYou can see the various ways Pattachitra/Patachitra word is being misrepresented.

This is really a serious matter. This is about Odisha state's culture and heritage.

Each art is unique and in India, every region has a unique name for respective local art.

Why should anyone copy another's art's name?

Why not stick with own local name i.e. POT/POTUA?

Every time I see other images being passed off under the title "Patachitra", it upsets me. 

Why is it so tough to understand that - ALL PAINTINGS ARE NOT PATACHITRA and must not be called Pattachitra. No, Patachitra is NOT a generic word.

Rasagola may have become generic. But, Patachitra certainly is not.

The word refers to Odisha's art and must be respected, not infringed upon.

Sad to see that even experts are making mistakes.

How many can identify the fine art- Odisha Pattachitra from the folk art- Bengal Pot?

Why this misrepresentation? In this article about "Odisha Patta chitra paintings", Bengal Pot is shown! Most of the paintings of the 20 featured, belong to Bengal, and yet readers are under the wrong impression that these are "Paintings from top Odisha artists" as this article claims-

It is high time we stop misinformation and misrepresentation. Looking forward to your views.

This is the same way over the years there has been cultural appropriation for Rasagola.  

Requesting media and all to be aware and ensure fair representation based on in-depth research and historical evidence. 

Requesting Patachitra-related national-level meets at Conclave/Seminar/Conference where top Indian art historians, artists, researchers, and experts must come to deliberate and discuss about Patachitra/Pattachitra and share the real history, and reach the conclusion- who can rightfully use the term- Patachitra.

Like Rasagola, we do not want any "controversy" or "debate" regarding Pattachitra. 

I’m participating in the April #A2ZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

O For- Odisha
I am writing A-Z posts about Rasagola26 #RasagolaA2Z posts this April :
This sincere attempt is to share information about Rasagola/Rasgulla and #EndRasgullaDebate.
Rasagola is a part of Odisha's traditional knowledge, continuing tradition, cultural heritage and identity.  
More Rasagola posts here.
This is my fifth #A2Z Challenge, and my last four challenges have been about Odisha, India. 
Are you aware of Pattachitra & Rasagola/Rasgulla? Did you know that Pattachitra and Rasgulla originated in Odisha? 
Please do share any information about Pattachitra and Rasgulla that you may have and which you feel must be documented and shared so that all are aware.  


  1. People in high places committing faux pas is very unfortunate. I have also pointed out the mistake in his tweet.

  2. The art is so distinct and arresting!

  3. This is really unfortunate that the commercialization of almost everything is taking a toll on the authenticity of our cultural heritage. Yes, not all paintings are pattachitra. Then why are they making it generic and exhibiting every other painting with this name?

  4. Puri is one place that I must visit as soon as it's possible. The photos are so lovely!
    My latest post: O for Obbattu

  5. Even though i have visited Puri twice and heard of this i never really gave it so much thought until now. You are a true crusader

  6. We Indians are used to cultural appropriation by west, but this is culture appropriation by neighbours!!
    Thank you for bringing it to light!

  7. Thank you for your highlighting facts with all the evidences and to showcase how the cunningly facts are being misrepresented. And people at the helm of affairs are least bothered which is again a worry for all of us.

  8. There's so much to Odisha that I'm not aware of. Also, the fact that since I moved to Hyderabad, I've made a lot of Odiya friends and get to learn so much. Thanks for your insightful post.


Your words mean a lot to me.

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