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Famous India > Editorials > The Colors of Pithora Paintings
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The Colors of Pithora Paintings

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By Aruna Singh

The water splashing through the Diu Fort, the light sounds of music coming from Sabarmati Ashram and the thumping of the feet with the dancers all around in the Sun Temple of Modhera, (the 2nd Sun Temple is in Orissa), all represent the beautiful lands of Gujarat. Something different from the VIBRANT GUJARAT – the silence speaks here in the form of the light.

Here is the land which speaks of the Kingdom of Lord Krishna and prays the Goddess Durga. Its one land with various reasons to celebrate. Always on the run, with undefining Spirit this land of Western India is known as Gujarat. Very traditional in its roots yet one of the most forward societies of the country, gujarat has left many a things behind. With the Tatas and Reliance at its shores, it reaches to conquer the unseen lands.

But looking back it has the old arts still running in its veins. Pitharo, the famous painting of Gujarat has a different significance. Pitharo is linked with life and death – the walls are painted to usher happiness and prosperity and are also painted to vanish pain and bad luck. The Pitharo is executed by the Witch Doctors called Pitharo Doctors. For this reason, the only male members are allowed to learn this art.

The process of Pitharo Painting begins with the unmarried girls grinding the cow-dung and then pasting it to the walls. White Chalk Powder is also used to paint the walls. Powder, earth and vegetable colors are mixed with milk and mahua flower liquor to prepare the yellow, indigo, green, vermillion, red and silver dye for the Pithoro Painting. Animistic figures – bull, horses, birds and tigers are a inseparable part of each Pithoro Painting. But now as the times are changing when one can find the paintings of aeroplanes, trains, cars and other such modern things. Still when it comes to any ill luck, disease or despair the old paintings are the ones which are used.

It is the Lord Pithora who is prayed at any of the disasters. Preparations for making the Lord Happy can begin a fortnight ahead of the invitations. The Painting used in such a Puja/ Prayer can take at least 24 hrs to get completed. Music, dance, drinking and feasting are an important part of the ritual.

Today we can see such paintings in the Art and Craft Mela of Gujarat. Surajkund Ka Mela is an important part of these Paintings. You can also get a glimpse of them in the walls of the Somnath Temple and the Cottages of the Gir National Park.

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