Patachitra and pat-er gaan are the two aspects of a unique cultural tradition of Bengal that draws inspiration from the mythological tales of India. Patua, a community of itinerant scroll painters and singers in West Bengal, paint stories in picture frames on long scrolls of cloth. This painting is known as patachitra. Patua artists use natural vegetable colours made from vegetables, fruits and flowers.
They sing the story while unfurling the scroll. Their repertoire has widened, and the patuas now paint on contemporary themes ranging from human trafficking, protection of biodiversity, life stories of eminent persons to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York or the Taj Hotel in Mumbai. They also decorate apparel, stationery items and home décor products with patachitra.