Patachitra is an ancient folk art of Bengal, so ancient that it has been mentioned in the Puranas and other early literature. This style of painting is similar to the cave paintings of Mohenjodaro, Harappa and Ajanta.
The word pata is from the Sanskrit word patta which means cloth. The painters, called patuas or chitrakars, do not just paint but also sing as they unfurl the painted scroll to the audience. The songs are called patergaan. They are based on a wide variety of themes, from traditional mythology to contemporary issues like preventing HIV and saving forests. Painting is done with natural colours obtained from trees, leaves, flowers and clays.