Sand art of Orissa is one of the famous art forms of the state. This form of art is unique to the state. It is actually a type of sculpture, which is practiced on sand. It can be compared with stone sculpture.
The Orissa sand art is particularly associated with the place called Puri. The main raw materials required for the sand art at Orissa are sand and water. The variety of sand required for this art form has a fine texture.
The sand art of Orissa is one of the traditional art forms of the state. The lineage of this art dates back to a long time back. One can find the mention of this art in the life story of Balaram Das, one of the most well known poets of Orissa. This poet was a prominent literary figure of the 14th century AD. The sand art was, therefore, one of the prevalent art forms of 14th century Orissa.
There is an interesting mythical story associated with sand art in Orissa. According to popular belief, Balaram das wanted to climb Lord Jagannath’s chariot to pay homage to him, but he was not allowed to do so. He went to the sea beach and started carved the images of Lord Jagannath, Devi Subhadra and Lord Balabhadra out of sand. He then prayed to this image of Lord Jagannath. It is said that his dedication was so strong that the statues of the deities were later seen on the beach where Balaram Das offered his prayers and not on the chariot.
The tourists of Orissa have popularized this art form of the state. The Golden Sand Art Institute, which is located on the beach of Puri, offers classes on this art form to many people including tourists. One of the famous artists of Orissa who is involved in this art form is Sudarsan Pattnaik. He has become an internationally acclaimed sand artist.