Bhubaneswar: The Ratha Jatra, the divine mega extravaganza of the Odisha culture is a grand spectacle for the entire world who watch in awe as lakhs of devotees from all corners of the world pour into the pilgrim town of Puri as the sibling deities— Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra along with Sudarsan— embark on journey on the Grand road for a 9-day sojourn to the Gundicha temple.
A watercolour painting of this spectacular event from 1822 forms a part of eight paintings called Company Paintings, made by Indian artists for the British in India during the 19th century and is currently in storage at the illustrous Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London, the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design.
Painted by an unknown artist, this painting made with watercolours portrays Nandighosa chariot during Ratha Jatra, wherein Lord Jagannath is seated, pulled by the devotees. The 46.5 cm high and 67.5 cm wide depiction also shows an Indian nobleman and a British couple perched atop elephants amidst the crowd.
The official website of the (V&A) says, “It is a wonderfully descriptive painting, providing an accurate depiction of the ratha’s wooden architecture and textile canopy.”
Similarly, another painting in the V&A, represents the ‘Architectural elevation of the Juggernaut Pagoda’.
It is a watercolour drawing that showcases the elevation of the Jagannath Temple of Puri. Created in 1822, it is 51 cm in length and 71.5 cm in width and is currently, in storage at the museum.
From the eight Company Paintings, six are of the Jagannath Temple and the Atharanala bridge in Puri, while the rest are of the Konark Sun Temple, also known as the Black Pagoda.