A few kilometers from the hustle-bustle of the Puri beaches and you’ll land in a place where nothing seems extraordinary.
Raghurajpur is a heritage art and craft village around 10 km away from Puri and 55 km from the state capital. It is known for the residents’ finesse in Pattachitra, a type of artistry that dates to the 5th century BC. This form of art came into existence from the Gotipua dance which is a precursor of the Odissi dance of today. From Puri, you have to take the Bhubaneshwar road, near Chandanpur, on NH-316, and upon reaching Chandanpur bazaar, take a right turn and drive around 1.5km to reach Raghurajpur.
The artisans keep weaving tales as they continue showing their creations. From them, I learn, that the deities in Puri Jagannath temple goes on a vacation every year for fifteen days, and the idols are replaced with Pattachitra that portrays the deities. You would see, paintings of Krishna in his different avatars – with gopinis, with Radhika, or with his mother being a playful kid.
The colours they use are organic colours and vegetable dyes, turmeric for yellow and orange, hibiscus for shades of red, different types of leaves for shades of green. For black, they use naturally made kohl. Eventually, a lacquer coating is added to the painting to make it long-lasting. The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) has developed Raghurajpur as a heritage village.
What is often overshadowed is the fact that Raghurajpur has a dance tradition too. The legendary Odissi dancer Kelucharan Mahapatra was born here and before getting into Odissi he practiced Gotipua here.
Pottering around Raghurajpur, and visiting as many homes as possible, I tried to take in the colours, the textures, and the motifs with me. As I turn to take my leave from the place with souvenirs filling my bag, I feel the figurines and the paintings beam a smile on me. I have been to many art villages or galleries in my life but the personal touch of Raghurajpur would always be special to me.
About the author:
A workaholic startup founder and a crazy bookworm, who loves to paint the whole day long. This lady runs on coffee and, she absolutely loves the mountains and rainy days.