Pattachitra remains one of the oldest and most popular art forms of Odisha. Derived from the word “patta”, meaning piece of cloth, and “chitra”, meaning picture, the Pattachitra form of painting stands out for its rich colours, and use of creative motifs for portrayal of mythological depiction of stories from the lives of Lord Jagannath and Krishna. The palm leaf Pattachitra remains more popular among the tourist. Artists sew the dry palm leaves together and form a canvas to draw the art using black inks. These leaves can be easily folded like a fan and packed in a compact pile for better conservation. Often palm-leaf illustrations are more elaborate, with panels describing an entire episode or story from the religious scriptures. The palm leaves are glued together for such depictions. Some palm leaf Pattachitra can open like small windows to reveal a second image under the first.
The art originated primarily as decoration for Lord Jagannath during the various rituals conducted at the Jagannath Temple, Puri. During that time the pattachitra artisans were settled at Raghurajpur which is around 20 KM from Puri by the King, so that they can serve the lord as well as earn a living out of the art. Raghurajpur, hence is the place from where pattachitra originated and spread to other parts of Odisha and beyond.
Pattachitra artists are now seen in localities like Gangotri Nagar, Old Town, near Kedar Gouri Temple and Ekamra Haat.
Many artists also have their tiny studios where the art connoisseurs can go and interact with the creators and order customised works.