Classical Murals of Odisha, India
Classical Murals of Odisha, India
The classical murals of Odisha were never lagging behind in comparison to the contemporary art and tasteful accomplishments based on classical India traditions of sadanga( six limbs of paintings) found in erstwhile India. In the entire Eastern India , Odisha is the only place where tourists get that opportunity to see post Gupta paintings that will help to remember the wonderful and elegant ajanta paintings.
Lord Sri Ram putting vermilion on Sita’s forehead. Murals from the epic Ramayana painted on Biranchi Narayan temple wall, Buguda.
Excelling in this game of colours is an extraordinary specialty, which is hard to understand. Possibly that is the reason we call it gandharva vidya. Knowledge in this regard can never be effectively imparted unless one has gifted talent . India of the first century BC had seen the advancement of the Sadanga or the Six Limbs of painting, which are considered as the great standards of craftsmanship even today. So solid were these standards, that they have found a mention even in Vatsyayana’s Kamasutra.The Sadanga is an unavoidable piece of each incredible Indian magnum opus. From the old compositions of Ajanta to those made by Raja Ravi Verma, and Hussain of current age, one will see that each striking craftsman has quietly put to utilize every one of the six standards.
In the region of keonjhar in sitabinji , we find the rock paintings which have been executed on the roof of a huge monolithic rock called Ravana chhaya. Sitabinji portrays the parade scene of a ruler or imperial dignitary riding a caparisoned elephant preceded with the aid of horse riders , infantrymen marching & holding shafts & flags and followed by a female attendant. The painted inscription has been perused and concluded as the ruler Disabhanja. Whatever remnants of the first mural is recognizable, it shows up from various viewpoints ( like the enthusiastic steppings, the infantrymen on march , the breast band of the female chaperone and the adornments she wears and the casket she incorporates) that these murals are nothing but anamnesis of the world famous murals of Ajanta .
Rock painting in Sitabinji: Parade of king Disabhanja on the back of a caparisoned elephant along with infantrymen and horse riders.
After sitabinji, the temples of Basudev at jayanti Gada and Biranchi Narayan at Buguda come…. both are located in the Ganjam region . The murals of both the temples are assigned to the 18th century. You just imagine… There lies a gap of more than 1000 years in between sitabinji and Biranchi Narayan temple at Buguda. Progression of mural drawing practice of Odisha gets a major setback after sitabinji in light of the fact that for quite a long time, we don’t track down any proof of painting in compatibility with sitabinji style . There may be continuity of murals at different locations of Odisha but because of vagaries of nature, that is no more available today or else not spotted till date.
The murals on the Biranchi Narayan temple were executed on the external wall of the primary temple circled by a verandah. The Chitrakaras ( conventional painters) of murals on the Biranchi Narayan temple walls belonged to two nearby villages called Balipadara and Mathura. Today both villages are thriving centres of art and crafts.
The theme of these murals are largely taken from the great epic Ramayana , which catch the fascination of every onlooker . The Vaidehisa Vilas, written by the Kabi Samrat Upendra Bhanja, was familiar in every household of Ganjam area and it is believed that the mural painters of those times were greatly inspired by him and hence is the result of their canvasses based on the Ramayana. Different other artistic creations here are scenes from Dasavatara , Krishna Leela and so on. In view of the significance of the scenes , the horizontal mural frames have been broadened or narrowed. The entry partition wall contains the Krishna Leela murals and the north wall contains the Puri Jagannath murals and rest of the walls are adorned with Ramayana murals.Some of the significant Ramayana murals which have been appropriately and unanimously distinguished are the way Lakshman is straightening the arrows while Jamvaban is assisting, how Ram is putting vermilion on the forehead of Sita sitting on the Chitrakuta hill , Ram and Ravan fierce fighting etc.Here one can see how exquisite the various gestures , human extents are !!!!! There is no smallest hint of current or western components in these murals.
Lakshman straightening the arrows and being assisted by Jamvaban
Biranchi Narayan temple, Buguda
Prabhu SriRam putting vermillion on Sita’s forehead. Biranchi Narayan temple, Buguda
The north wall of the Biranchi Narayan temple depicts a graphical aerial view of the holy, pilgrim town of Puri . Hopefully, these murals were serving as a religious destination ( i.e. a substitute of Puri town itself) to all those thousands of pilgrims who were unable to physically travel to Puri because of lack of money or family problems .Such practices appear to be an exceptionally old tradition which is even found with Buddhists and Jains as well. Many interesting details such as Srimandir, Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra on the Ratna Singhasana ( gemstone pedestal ), Baisi Pahacha( twenty two sacred steps), different holy religious tanks like Swetaganga, Indradyumna, Narendra etc, Debasnana Mandapa ( Bathing Pedestal of God), Rajanahara ( palace of the King) etc. have been painted in the north wall to catch the fascination of the nearby local villagers of those times.
Indrani palace shrine, Dharakote
Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra
Murals on the Jagannath temple wall, Dharakote.
Lord Nrisimha on the Jagannath temple wall at Dharakote.
One more significant focus of mural paintings is found inside the Jagannath temple at Dharakote . Dharakote is positioned around 12 km north-west of the Rushikulya waterway, Aska, Ganjam, and is 55 kms from the Silk City, none other than Berhampur. The subject of those murals are Dasavatara, Dasamahavidya, Ramayana. In these murals, the shading plan shows a definite distinction from the prior canvases. The utilization of dazzling yellow, ultramarine blue and so forth gives it a later date than the Biranchinarayan temple murals. From the stylistical contemplations, these murals might be set in the later part of the nineteenth century or early twentieth century.
The murals found inside the Lord Jagannath temple at Puri are very much noteworthy though it can not be enjoyed by non-hindus because they are not being allowed to get into the Jagannath temple complex.
(This is a very sorry state of affairs. The purity and sanctity never depend on one’s body colour, nationality, religion etc. The foreign devotees who have left behind all kinds of material pleasures in their respective countries and spend their whole life chanting Krishna or Jagannath’s name but I wonder …how come the temple administration is not allowing the foreign devotees to get into the Jagannath temple..? This is purely illogical in the name of traditions…. Taking utmost tightened safety and security measures, all devotees irrespective of their cast, creed, colour, religion, nationality etc, should be allowed to have a peaceful darshan of the God… At the same time, it is a matter of pride that Lord Jagannath is the only God who descends on the street once in a year to meet His devotees irrespective of the so called above mentioned man-made obstacles like religion .)
Anyway , one can find reverberations of these paintings at various different temples and mathas. The two significant paintings are the Kanchi Vijaya in the Jagamohan of the Jagannath temple and the Buddha Vijaya in the Jagamohan of the Lakshmi temple inside the Lord Jagannath temple complex. The second mural of Buddha Vijaya which is said to have contained the smell of an 11th century painting. The remainder of the mural compositions in the Jagannath temple at Puri have a place in the 20th century.
Lord Narasimha, Badaodia Matha, Puri( established by Atibadi Jagannath Das, writer of Odia Bhagabat in 15th century)
pc : OrissaPost
Murals of Krishna Leela
Churning of sea mural,
Murals of Ramayan
The murals of Bada Odia Matha and Emar Matha at Puri and Raghunath Temple at Odagaon can be put in the nineteenth century . Sadly those paintings on various matha walls of Puri are as of now not accessible on the grounds that few of those were obliterated in the recent past for the beautification of the Jagannath temple complex and its surroundings .
The mural painting tradition has continued over the years into the present century. A large part of the great repository of murals of our state are also found in Ganga Mata Matha at Puri , Jagannath temple at Puri , Chaitanya Matha at Chikiti Gada , Hatakeswara Shiva Temple at Atri , Radhakant Matha at Digapahandi, Radha Krishna math at Paralakhemundi, lakshmi Nrusingha temple at Belaguntha etcetera.
Salient features of Odishan classical murals
# Stylewise these murals are like the Pata paintings ( better known as pattachitra) being made these days.
# The main element of Odishan murals is the lines which are striking and are painted with a dark tone. There lies a dominance of linear style of painting.
# The female figures are usually shown little in contrast with their male counterparts.
# In Odishan murals, the figures can be perused either from left to right or from right to left.
# The figures are usually drawn full from head to toe.
# A specific figure may be shown multiple times in a mural composition in order to recount a visual story.
# In Odishan murals, the human figures will quite often be preferably more naturalistic over optimistic with complex designs as found in a sculpture.
# The assortments of varieties of architectural setup comprising chariots, temples, courts of rulers, arbors, woodlands and so forth constitute one more significant part of Odishan murals.
# The heavenly characters Ram, Vishnu, Lakshman, Krishna, Balaram, Brahma, Narayan etcetera……put on kiritamukuta and satanic characters like Kamsa, Ravana, Banasura etcetera ….wear mukuta. The men of higher status like lords put on a chain around the neck with a pendant while ladies wear earrings, bangles, rings and other substantial decorations.
# The temple building exercises in Odisha gradually halted after the fourteenth century , and the mural painting tradition acquired energy thereafter.
Researchers do develop an unanimous view that a kind of successive gradual growth developed in different parts of India throughout the entire existence of painting…. That begins with traditional paintings and ends in miniatures, but in Odisha , the different facets of painting advanced simultaneously next to each other.
Please never hesitate to give your personal opinions in this regard in the comments section.
Dr. Manoj Mishra