Chait festival, on the banks of the Ganges at Patna
Watercolour drawing showing the Chait festival being celebrated on the banks of the Ganges at Patna, by an anonymous artist working in the Patna style, c.1795-1800. Inscribed on the back of the drawing is: 'No'.'1. The Gift of E.E. Pote Esq. Elizath Collins Offerings of fruit to the Ganges: a religious Ceremony at which the Women are permitted to attend, and come down to the River side to celebrate: and as it is supposed avail themselves of this liberty to see and be seen which is gratified, by the Men bringing boats to anchor along the Banks of the River';' also Offering of Fruits to the Ganges.'
The Chait festival is the Hindu New Year's Day festival held on the 1st of Chait (March-April) which is the beginning of the Hindu calendar. Part of the festival is depicted here as women are shown standing in the river offering fruit either to the sun or to the water. This drawing was most likely made for Ephraim Pote who served in Bengal from 1773 to 1800 while he was stationed at Patna. It is one of the earliest examples of painting made for the British by Indian artists in Patna. The style is similar to the work of Murshidabad artists with elongated figures wearing costumes with jagged folds and there is a possibility that Murshidabad artists migrated to Patna to work for the British.