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Raghurajpur Artist Village, Puri

Updated: Jun 29, 2020

Raghurajpur: The Heritage Crafts Village Of Odisha.

Raghurajpur is a heritage crafts village out of Puri district, India, known for its master Pattachitra painters, an art form which dates back to 5 BC in the region and Gotipua dance troupes, the precursor to the Indian classical dance form of Odissi. It is also known as the birthplace of one of the finest Odissi exponents and Guru, Kelucharan Mohapatra. Apart from that, the village is also home to crafts like Tussar paintings, palm leaf engravings, stone and wood carvings, wooden, cowdung and papier mache toys, and masks.

In 2000, after a two-year research and documentation project by INTACH, starting 1998, the village was chosen to be developed as state's first heritage village and developed as a Crafts village, soon the village had an interpretation centre, commissioned artwork on the walls of the artists’ homes and a rest house.[2][4]

It also has the distinction of the only place where the traditional decoration called Patas, used under the throne of Lord Jagannath and on the three chariots during the annual Rath Yatra festival, that takes place at pilgrimage town of Puri, some 14 km away, known for the Jagannath Temple.

It is said that pattachitra of Odisha date back to the 12th century and has been passed from one generation to the next. The painting is done on specially stiffened seven layers of cloth which are cut into discs. Although natural dyes from plants and minerals may have been replaced by synthetic colours in many areas, traditional artists of Raghurajpur prefer to use organic colours. Ganjifa playing cards or the Dashavatar playing cards of Odisha are also part of the pattachitra genre. These unique paintings, especially the playing cards, are on display in museums across the world.

Study ornate, traditional works at Raghurajpur Artist Village, protected by the National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage. The attraction serves not only as a venue for artists to turn out their works, but also a rich, authentic place for tourists to explore. Take a heritage tour of the village guided by the residents, inspecting their elaborately decorated homes and observing the specialist craft of the village, Pattachitra--an ancient technique of scroll painting on cloth. Be sure to check out the shops selling intricately made local products before you leave.

How to Visit?

Raghurajpur is only 10km by road from Puri yet not on the popular tourist circuit. So you have to book a car or an auto-rickshaw for travelling to and fro. The artists and their families are friendly but sensitive too. So do take permission before entering any household or workshop. It is also advisable to take permission before taking photographs of people and products on display. If you are keen to buy directly from the artists, remember works of art have their own value and the price is set accordingly.

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