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Patachitra : A Unique Folk Art of India

Patachitra, the ethnic folk-art of India, is very colourful and it bears traditional and cultural component of country's rich heritage. Traditionally these are religious paintings which cover themes and events mainly from Indian mythology.Patachitra painting also has a significance role in Indian history of folk-lore.

In the context of Bengal, traditionalPatachitrameans “those paintings, which are made by the Patuasby natural colours.” In englishit means ‘Scorll Painting’.Patuasnot only made Patachitrapaintings, but they also sing during the exhibition of those paintings. When they display their paintings to the audience they used to sing or recite, by which they told a story related to that painting. This type of songgenerally known as ‘Pater Gaan’, which are played without any modern musical instruments. For generations these Patuashave gone from village to village with their scroll paintings andsinging stories in return for money or food. Originally they would have been painted on cloth and used to tell religious stories such as the medievalmangalpoems. Nowadays they also use papers for painting and comment on different social and political issues.

Many of these Patuascome from the Midnapur district of West Bengal. Nayavillage of PinglaPanchayetSamiti of the district of PaschimMedinipur, West Bengal is famous for Patachirtapainting and popularly known as “Pater Gram”. At Pingla,the Patuas organise “Patmaya” festival each year in the last week of November to promote this unique folk-art.During this time the village looks vibrant as the painters paint their huts with colourful Patachitra.