The name “kalighat pata” is applied to a class of paintings and drawings on paper produced by a group of artists called ‘patuas’ in the neighbourhood of the famous Kali Temple at Kalighat in Calcutta in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Wandering scroll painters from the districts of Murshidabad, Birbhum, Hoogly, etc settled down near the Kalighat temple to paint their depictions of gods and goddesses as well as scenes from contemporary life and times, often with a dose of wry humour. The Patuas reflected in their paintings the incoherence of urban life, both of the English people and of the Calcutta babus, the style deriving inspiration from folk dolls and statuettes.
Kalighat “pats” soon developed into an industry, turning out a great number of pictures to meet the popular demand of pilgrims and other visitors to the city. Its popularity waned with the advent of the Printing Press.
In recent times, one artist, Bhaskar Chitrakar of Kalighat,is reviving this style in a contemporary context.