Art Forms of Odisha


Odisha has a rich cultural and artistic heritage. Due to the reign of many different rulers in the past, arts and crafts in Odisha underwent many changes giving an artistic diversity today in the forms of traditional handicrafts, painting and carving, dance and music.

Sand art

In Odisha ,a unique type of art form is developed at Puri . But it spreads all over the world . To carve a sand sculpture , the raw material is the only clean and fine grained sand mixed with water . With the help of this type of sand and with the blessings of God and by the magic of fingures , an artist can carve a beautiful and attractive sculpture on the beach. Sand art was started by a Person called Sudarsan Pattnaik.The International Sand Art Festival is a remarkable cultural event held by the Orissa Tourism Department. Held at the Chandrabhaga Beach, 3 km from Konark, the sand art festival is an event for people in love with sand creations. It is one of the events which highlights Orissa and its wonderful tourism opportunities.

Dance and music


With a charming and colorful music encompassing several streams, the heavenly state of Odisha (Orissa) unfurls many vistas of an array of dance forms and musical styles. Flourishing for ages, the rare dance forms of the state such as Odissi and Chhau are famous all over the world.  A number of folk traditions also lend a captive presence to it. The figures of musicians carved on ancient temple walls speak of Odisha (Orissa)’s rich musical heritage. It was 11th Century AD that the folk music of Odisha (Orissa) that still exists in the form of Triswari, Chatuhswari, and Panchaswari was only modified into the classical form.  Thus Oriya music is a classical form consisting of all the necessary ingredients common to Hindustani and Karnataki music, such as rags and talas. It is a synthesis of four classes of music namely dhruvapada, chitrapada, chitrakala and panchal. The dhruvapada is the first line or lines to be sung repeatedly. Chitrakala is the name given to the use of art in music. Kavisurya Baladeva Rath, the renowned Oriya poet wrote lyrics which are the best examples of chitrakala. Then Chitrapada is the arrangement of words in an alliterative style. All these combine to form the style peculiar to Odissi music. Chhanda (metrical section) contains the essence of Odissi music. The chhandas were composed combining bhava (theme), kala (time), and swara (tune).

Another special feature of Odissi music is the padi, which consists of words to be sung in druta tala (fast beat). Odissi music can be sung in different talas namely navatala (nine beats), dashatala(ten beats) or egar tala (eleven beats) as Odissi ragas are different from the ragas of Hindustani and Karnataki music. The chief Odissi ragas are Kalyana, Nata, Shree Gowda, Baradi, Panchama, Dhanashri, Karnata, Bhairavee and Shokabaradi.


Having an ancient tradition of making splendid pieces of art by hands Oriya artists have long been presenting their awe inspiring master pieces to the world. There are a lot of handicrafts that have been running as the life force in the cultural land of Odisha (Orissa). Some of which include- Patta Chitra, Sand Art, Metal Work, Silver Filigree, Stone Carving and making Puppets and Masks etc.


The findings of rock paintings and pictographic writings in Western part of Odisha (Orissa), Vikramkhol in Jharsuguda, Manikmada and Ushakothi in Sundergarh, Gudahandi in Kalahandi and Jogimath in Nuapada district indicate existence of prehistoric art in Odisha (Orissa).  The paintings range from small geometrical and floral patterns to big animal motifs and human figures are shown hunting, fighting, dancing and doing domestic chores. Most on the walls follow a sequential, horizontal pattern. Colours used are red extracted from iron, brown from copper and white from lime compounds. The characters of the pictographic writings appear to be a mix derived from Mohanzdaro and Brahmi scripts. The Ravana Chhata Rock at Sitabinji in Keonjhar district contains a painting of very high order, depicting the procession scene of a king riding a caparisoned elephant with soldiers holding shafts and banners, followed by a female attendant. This painting carries reminiscence of Ajanta murals. Splendid murals adorn the inside of the Jagannath Temple, the Buddha Vijay painting in the jagamohana of the Lakshmi Temple and the Kanchi Vijay in the jagamohana of the Jagannath temple.

Structural art


the Jagannatha Temple in Puri, known for its annual Rath Yatra or Car Festival, the unique and beautiful applique artwork of Pipili, silver filigree ornamental works from Cuttack, the Patta chitras (palm leaf paintings), famous stone utensils of Nilgiri (Balasore) and various tribal influenced cultures. The Sun temple at Konark is famous for its architectural splendour and erotic sculpture, while the ‘Sambalpuri textiles’ equals it in its artistic grandeur. The sari of Odisha is much in demand throughout the entire world. The different colours and varieties of sarees in Odisha make them very popular among the women of the state. The handloom sarees available in Odisha can be of four major types; these are Ikat, Bandha, Bomkai and Pasapalli. Odisha sarees are also available in other colours like cream, maroon, brown and rust. The tie-and-dye technique used by the weavers of Odisha to create motifs on these sarees is unique to this region. This technique also gives the sarees of Odisha an identity of their own. The Brass Fish of Bellaguntha is also well known.

Temple architecture

Architecture in Odisha found its supreme expression in the form of temples, some of which are among, finest in the country. Of these, three are most famous the Lingaraja temple at Bhubaneswar (11th century), the Jagannath Temple at Puri (12th century) and the great Sun Temple at Konark (13th century). These mark the culmination of a distinct style of architecture called the Kalinga style remarkable in its plan elevation and details of decoration. In the simplest form, a temple of this style consists of a structural due, the main temple or shrine and the frontal porch. Jagannath TempleWhile the main temple, called Vimana or Deula, is the sanctum enshrining the deity the porch or assembly hall called Jagamohana is the place for the congregation of devotees. The former, constructed on a square base, has a soaring curvilinear tower (sikhara) and is known as rekha deula. The laatter built on a rectangular base is a pidha temple, i.e. its roof consists of pidhas which are horizontal platforms arranged successively iii a receding formation so as to constitute a pyramidal superstructure.- Although the two temples are architecturally different, they are constructed in axial alignment and interconnected so as to form an integral pattern.

This two-part structure in the earliest form of temple construction is noticeable in the Parsurameswar temple of Bhubaneswar  (7th century).  A modest specimen of the Bhubaneswar-Lakshmaneswar group of early temples, it has a squattish type of curvilinear sikhara and an oblong pillared jagamohana.  Lingaraja TempleThe scupltures on the temple walls are also notable for their simplicity and beauty. The Kalinga style  reached its perfection during the Ganea period when two more structures were added the front of the two-part temple in order to meet the needs of the elaborate rituals; these are the natamandira (dancing hall) and the bhogamandapa (hall of offerings). The four halls of structure as at Lingaraja and Jagannatha, stand in one line with emphasis on the towering sikhara of the main shrine. However, the devotees have to enter through the side doors of the jagamohana leaving the tamandira and bhogamandapa behind.

emple building activities in Odisha continued uninterrupted between the 7th and 16th centuries. As different religious sects had their successive sway over the land during this period, they provided the necessary fillip for modifications in the architectural designs and sculptural details. The Vaital temple at Bhubaneswar and the Varahi temple at Chaurasi in the Prachi Valley with their semicylindrical roofs are examples of a different order of temples described as E(hakhara type in the shiIpasastras. The former with its tower resembling a topsy-turvied boat and the later with its barrel-vaulted top are dedicated to the goddess Chamunda and Varahi respectively. The silhouetted interior of the sanctum and the sculptural motifs in the niches of the temples bear the influence of Shakti cult.

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