What is Ratha Yatra and who is Lord Jagannath?
Lord Jagannath means Lord of the Universe and Jagannath is a form of Krishna worshiped in Orissa in eastern India. Ratha Yatra is a festival, where Lord Jagannath along with his brother Balaram and sister Subhadra are taken out in three Rathas or chariots and people gather to pull the rope of the chariots to get His blessings. I remember as children we used to love this festival as we had fun taking out and pulling our small chariots on the streets.
Ratha Yatra is usually celebrated in the months of June and July. We just celebrated it and then it was our art activity to paint Lord Jagannatha.
Infact, there are two things that are interesting to paint for Ratha Yatra. One is the deity itself and the other is the Ratha.
Painting Lord Jagannatha
Lord Jagannath along with the other deities were carved out of wood and the images are unfinished. The hands are small and the lower part of the body is incomplete. The images look quite different from other deities that Hindus worship and that’s the reason we found it interesting to paint them.
Here Lord Krishna or Jagannath is in the extreme right and is dark colored. Subhadra is in the center and is painted in yellow and Balaram is in white and is on the left. You can paint all three or choose to paint one of them. I have chosen to paint Lord Jagannath and have used markers. You can choose to paint in any media including watercolor. Remember, whoever you paint, the shapes of the faces are all different.
Try also the Rathas. They look like temples on wheels. Try to draw it from three different angles and perspectives
When you take topics to paint for a festival, you get subjects to paint which you would not have painted otherwise. And each exercise will help you to learn something new.