Bengali Scroll Paintings

Bengali Scroll Paintings lesson plan

India's Hindu population celebrates Diwali with these colorful scrolls. Make similar paintings and explore this cultural art form.

  • 1.

    Research the customs of India, the country's Bengali scroll painters (patua or chitrakar) and the artworks they produce (pats). Parallel their works of art to that of contemporary cartoonists, storytellers, and folklorists in various countries. Compare both technique and subject matter. Find out about the Hindu celebration of Diwali.

  • 2.

    On a long sheet of rolled paper, use Crayola® Markers to draw several panels that tell a story in a style similar to that of a Bengali scroll. Each panel should be a simple but independent image that relates to the next image in sequence. Use bright colors.

  • 3.

    Roll up the ends of the scroll. Tell your pats story as you unroll each row of panels.


  • Students increase their awareness of diverse cultures, art forms, and celebrations around the world.
  • Children research information about the art techniques and uses of Bengali scroll paintings, called pats.
  • Children design original art in the style of a Bengali scroll painter (patua or chitrakar).


  • Create replicas of scrolls from other cultures, such as ancient Rome or the American West.
  • Scrolls stimulate creative writing. Students respond, in both language and images, to their reading by creating a scroll book-report.
  • Invite someone in the community from India to talk with the class about Bengali scroll paintings and how their family celebrates Diwali.