kolam-Jhouti
It was in the year 2012 that my nephew, my father’s eldest grandson, got married in my native place of Jeypore in Odisha. Jeypore happens to be my mother’s native place with a lot of uncles, nieces, nephews and grandchildren and cousins staying there permanently. I was making a visit to Jeypore after a gap of about thirty years, the last I had been there was for my brother’s marriage and now I was going on the occasion of his son’s marriage. On the way back from the marriage I along with my eldest brother and other family members visited the Jaganath temple at Koraput. The Koraput Jaganath temple has some unique features; The lord has been carved out of the same wood used for carving the deity at the Puri temple. This place is also called as sabara khetra. The Koraput district and surrounding areas has a large population of the tribals. Lord Jaganath is believed to be a tribal god before being assimilated to the general concept of being an incarnation of Vishnu. I had a deep connection with Jeypore, as I was born there, later moved to Cuttack just after year, finally to Bhubaneshwar where I had my school education. It so happened that I got married in the same year ( 2012 ) and my in-laws are from Jeypore. I completed my medical graduation from Cuttack and came down south to Madurai for my post-graduation and started my practice at Pondicherry. I was made to come to Koraput by the lord several times over last three years. During one of the visits I had a glimpse of the paintings done on the temple premises. This temple has all the “Bhesha”, (traditional decorations of Lord Jaganath, Balabhadra and Subhadra) permanently kept inside the temple premises. This temple also has permanent exhibition of all the other popular forms of Lord Jaganath and the stories associated with him. This temple complex also has a permanent exhibition of painting of all the important Vishnu and Shiva places of worship with description of their importance. Here in I also found an entire corridor devoted to the traditional Jhouti. They are paintings drawn with rice power or paste in front of the house and inside near the place of worship or puja room, mostly during the month of Margashira (Between November and January). I wanted to properly document all these during my first visit, but could not do it. It so happened that finally I could take the pictures in one late evening with a very small compact camera borrowed from my brother in law and it took me another year before I could get hold of the pictures taken then. As I started studying these pictures with renewed interest many new fascinating facts emerged out. There is a deeper and universal spiritual significance behind these painting drawn. This art form also has evolved over a period of thousands of years from a simple tribal drawing to very complex and classical pattern with mathematical accuracy, to be used by computers for simulation and production of many algorithms. Here in I have made a small attempt to bring out the beauty and significance of these traditional paintings. These painting have been done by Mr Kartick Raul and Mr Rajendra Pati in the year 1999 under the guidance of late Mr Krushna Panigrahi. There is reference to a published work detailing the paintings done which is presented here. The original of which I have been able to trace with some difficulty to the personal library of Late Krushna Panigrahi, located in the premises of Jaganath temple at Koraput. Late Krushna Panigrahi’s son has been gracious to grant permission and record the originals, a couple of which have been reproduced here.
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