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

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 the art of these wall paintings. 

Relevance: Chittara painting is not only painted on walls but also created as floor paintings or ‘rangoli’. These paintings depict the 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 higher 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 nature and its elements greatly. 

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

Religious significance: There is a highly significant festival of ‘Bhoomi Hunnime’ where 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 hut

Understanding the Art

Style: Chittara paintings are known for their intricate long lines, cross hatchings and symmetrical structures which are created free-hand whilst keeping in mind their traditional roots and rules.

Central motifs: The central theme of these paintings is mainly their daily life. Apart from this, geometrical shapes are largely utilised as well. 

Chittara painting, Chittaradangala, September 19, 2013,

New Outlook

Traditional paddy husks ‘Kalashas’ are painted over with Chittara art, as well as papier-maché, and terracotta vases and artefacts. Also, these designs are now created on hand-made rice paper sheets