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Etymology:  The word ‘Chittara’ in Kannada means to draw. This word is closely linked to the Sanskrit word ‘Chittra’.

Origin: Chittara paintings are intricate paintings made up of long lines, cross hatchings, and symmetrical structures originating in the state of Karnataka for more than 500 years.  These murals are traditionally painted by the Deewaru community.

Location: The women belonging to the villages of Hasunvanthe, Honemaradu, and Majina Kaanu practice this art of wall painting. 

Relevance: Chittara painting is not only painted on walls but also on the ground as floor paintings or ‘rangoli’. These paintings depict important events of their lives, such as weddings, festivities, and auspicious days like ‘Theru Chittara’ which illustrates the temple chariot paintings, ‘Cheeku Bagilu Chinmaani’ which represents the energy of the mind, ‘Hadhinaaru Moole Arathi’ and ‘Mumdige Chittara’ which are mural paintings. They are nature worshippers, they give a lot of importance to water and offer their appreciation to mother earth for their harvest.


Significance: This art from is in practice by the Deewaru community. Their art reflects the significance of nature, as it revolves around the environment and its elements. 

Culture and Societies: This art form is exclusively practised by the women folk of the Deewaru tribe They are a matriarchal and agrarian community that grows cash crops and also weaves baskets. These paintings are made on occasions of socio-cultural importance.  

Religious significance: During the highly significant festival of ‘Bhoomi Hunnime’ , they offer their appreciation to mother earth for their harvest. To celebrate this festival, the women folk collaborate and decorate the outer walls and floors of their huts.

Understanding the Art

Style: Chittara paintings are known for their intricate long lines, cross hatchings, and symmetrical structures which are drawn free-hand in accordance with their traditional roots and rules.

Central motifs: The central theme of these paintings is scenes of daily life. Apart from this, geometrical shapes feature prominently as well. 

Chittara painting, Chittaradangala, September 19, 2013,

New Outlook

Traditional paddy husks ‘Kalashas’ , papier-maché, and terracotta vases and artefacts are also decorated with Chittara art. These designs are now created on hand-made rice paper sheets.

Chittara Art blogs