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In the 16th century, circular cards with exquisite paintings on them - an art called Ganjappa - were very popular in Orissa. ‘Ganjappa’, derived from the Persian word ‘Gajife’, finds its earliest mention in 1527 A.D. in the memoirs of Emperor Babur. One of the legacies of Mughal India, these circular playing cards (drawn in traditional pattachitra style) have varying themes - representations of the Ramayana, the 10 incarnations of Vishnu, gods and goddesses of Hindu mythology etc.
Once commonly played in India, Nepal, Iran, Turkey and some Arab lands, today the tradition of making Ganjappa cards is on the verge of extinction.