Patta chitra art was a dying art by the early fifties of the present century. The kings no more patronised the artisans and the public did not buy the paintings any longer. It was an American lady called Helena zealy who resuscitated and revived the art by personally being involved. Today the artist village , Raghurajpur is a model village of artisans.This village had entrusted to make patta paintings of Lord Jagannath , Balabhadra and Subhadra for the 14 day long ‘Anavasar’ period before car festival takes place. These paintings called ‘Anasara Pati’ are hung from a bamboo split screen inside the temple while the wooden images are repainted.
These patta paintings then represent the deiies and are worshiped during that period. These families of chitrakaras also painted in the temple , the chariots and in their free time painted scrolls and sold to the public. The paintings they did then were famous as ‘jatripati’. They also painted circular playing cards known as ‘ganjapasara’.
Pattachitra of puri are unique and known for their artistry. These are different from the patuas of west Bengal,miniature paintings of Rajastan, folk paintings of Madhubani and the exquisite narrative paintings of kalamkari. The paintings of Puri are still linked to the Jagannath temple and have ritual significance.
Though Raghurajpur village on the bank of river Bhargavi about 12 km. from Puri is considered Orissa’s art land, Dandasahi and Khasposak are also artisan villages that produce numerous pata painting for commercial purpose. The chitrakaras take their art with seriousness and they maintain strict regimen in their life style. when paint they abstain from women and liqour . Earlier it was only the chitrakaras and only the men folk who used to paint. Today, others have also adopted the art and women folk also have carved a niche for themselves.