Puri: The three deities of the Puri temple are unwell and have left the sanctum sactorum. But devotees visiting the temple still get to convey their prayers and put forth the worries of life before the Trinity who are present in form of patta chitra images known as ‘Patti Dian’.
An incredible and unusual form of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra, the patti dian created in traditional ‘patta chitra’ art replace the idols in the sanctum.
The patta chitra images are distinct for each of the divine siblings and do not resemble the idols. Artists of the ‘chitrakar’ families craete them on freshly prepared tassar cloth. The hereditary artists make the patta paintings just a fortnight before Debasnana Purnima when the idols are carried to a secret site for Anasara.
“We take guidance from the chief artists of our clan and begin work on Jestha Amavasya (no moon day) and complete the entire painting within a fortnight by Debasnana Purnima,” said Debadutta Moharana, an artist. For the chitrakars, it is an age-old seba (service) and they ensure of getting patti dian ready on time.
New pieces of silk cloth are first soaked in water and then a double layered canvas is created out of it for the art work. Only colours prepared from natural elements are used by the artists for the ‘patti dian’.
“We prepare colours like black, blue, green, red, brown in various shades to use in the painting. Most of these are created by grinding mollusc and conch shells and then adding pigments of flower extracts or other natural ingredients,” said another artist. A group of 10 to 15 artists work on the paintings to prepare the images of different deities like the Ananta Narayan, Ananta Basudev and Bhubaneswari.
The three paintings of deities representing the three divine siblings. While Ananta Narayan represents Lord Jagannath, Ananta Basudev is Lord Balabhadra and Bhubaneswari is Goddess Subhadra.
Each of the patta paintings is created on a cloth 5.5 feet long and 4 feet wide. Patterns of birds, floral motifs and traditional designs for the images of the temple are drawn by the artists along with small images of devotees. The deities are shown in traditional forms and attires.
“We are bound to carry on the tradition of the patterns and the paintings are the same every year. None of the patterns can be tampered with,” said an artist.
The ‘patti dian’ will be worshipped in the sanctum until the Lords return from their vacation to their aunt’s house during the Bahuda Yatra. After that they are hung at the Basudev temple near Sakhigopal. Later, the artists are given the paintings back.
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