Going On A Creative Journey With Pattachitra Painting

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Going On A Creative Yatra In Pattachitra colours

Written by Smita Choudhary Aug 30, 2021
He is the Lord of the ever-changing cosmos. The Lord of the universe or jagat. He is Jagannath.

The Jagannath temple at Puri in Odisha is among the most revered Vaishnava sites in India. Associated with it is one of the biggest and oldest festivals of India- the rath yatra. The unique feature of the temple is that Krishna carrying his Sudarshana Chakra is worshipped with his siblings - elder brother Balabhadra and younger sister Subhadra.

The images are made of wood, cloth and resin. They are also malformed with no hands or feet and disproportionately large heads that are replaced from time to time. Well, there is an interesting story related to it. When the idols were being carved the artisan asked the king not to open the door till the work was completed. But the impatient king opened the door out of curiosity and thus the idol were left incomplete!
The start of the yatra happens with the ceremony of the deity's rebirth called nabakalebara (new embodiment) every 12 or 19 years.

However, every year when the summer is at its peak, the deity and his siblings go on the popular rath yatra. They take bath in public, fall ill, recover and when their appetite returns they wish to eat the food cooked by their aunt Gundicha whose house is a little away from Jagannath temple. So, even the lord of the universe is also human at times.😊
So Krishna steps on his grand chariot and starts the famous nine-day Jagannath rath yatra. The chariots of the deities are of different colours and new ones are built every year. Jagannath's chariot is called nandighosa, Balabhadra's called taladhwaja and Subhadra has Dwarpadalana rath.
Interestingly, this ratha yatra is also seen as the journey undertaken to achieve moksha (emanicipation). In Katha Upanishad, ratha is a symbolical representation of body, and the yatra is the path undertaken in every birth. The body undertakes the journey in every birth to reach the final destination (moksha); and this is known as rath yatra.

I recently drew this Pattchitra painting as part of an online workshop organised by 
Catterfly.Travel.Art.Culture company. Veteran artist Bhaskar Mohapatra uses natural colors and mixes them with glue to get the required effect. I have used acrylic and hence the colour looks different. If you observe the actual temple, the chariot yatra and the painting you will be amazed to see the resemblance in color and design. Though I am not fortunate enough to visit the temple so far, I could feel the divinity and devotion during this entire creative yatra. A huge thanks to Bhaskarji, Manishji (curator Manish Sharma) and the entire Catterfly team.
May we all be able to achieve balance in our senses, soul and mind and lead a fruitful life.

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