India is always a rich country when we are talking in terms of culture, heritage, art and tradition. And these things are visible in it’s architecture, festivals, weddings, customs. When were are talking about tradition and art Odisha is one such state which boasts of it’s rich art and heritage. It is state which is famous for it’s handicraft items, it’s art which dates back to the ancient age. Tourism industry is trying it’s best to keep these art in it’s best form and make it available to the huge number of tourists that visits Odisha every year. The government is also taking utmost care to uplift these artisans and get them maximum profit from their art.
But the thing is that many tourists are not aware of these two heritage villages- Pipli and Raghurajpur and thus they are not commercialized like other tourists spots. You can clearly make out the difference between the crowd you see in the Sun Temple of Konark and in the small village of Raghurajpur. This proves that tourists are not aware of them and the art that they can witness in these heritage village. Let’s throw some light into these two heritage villages of Odisha and show you what lies in there-
How to reach there-
Pipli is a small village located between the two major cities Bhuwaneswar and Puri somwhere in the middle exactly on way. So if you are travelling from Bhuwaneswar to Konark (65km) you can travel vis Pipli and ask your driver to take you to Pipli and I am sure he will willingly take you there as I have seen the people aof Odisha love to show you around their art and tradition. The village is located near the National Highway 203.
What to see in Piple?
Pipli is famous for its handcrafted items known as applique and locally it is called as chandua.Applique means the art of decorating a piece of cloth by stitching cut work or pieces of another cloth in a decorative manner . The village is home to around 150 craftsman and around 600 girls who do the needlework. This handicraft is related to the rituals and traditions of the Jagannath temple that dates back to the 16th 0r 18th Century. There is no recorded data as to how the craft evolved but it is believed that these form of applique work on cloth are used to decorate the temples of Jagannath and also for the decoration of the Jagannath Ratha Yatra Festival. The umbrellas used are all edorned with applique work. There are small shops some of which are also factories or store houses of these amazing handicraft items.
A huge variety of items including bedsheets, bed covers, wall hangings, table cloths, table runners, purses, bags, diwali decorations, canopies ,decorative umbrella, wallets, etc are available. The common applique works includes motifs made of elephants, flowers, tribal art, Gods, Goddesses, artistic designs etc. These items are all for sale but make sure you bargain as they can charge a lot. Ask them to show more designs as a single design may be available in various patterns, colours, etc. On visiting the Sun Temple of Konark you can see lots of shops selling applique items but I would suggest to buy from the village shops as the prices are comparatively lesser.
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How to reach there-
If you are staying in Puri , it will be easier to reach Raghurajpur. You can hire an auto for Rs 500. It will take around one hour to reach there, as the village is just 15kms approx at a distance from Puri.
Raghurajpur is also a heritage village located in Odisha. It is famous for the ancient art of Patachitra, Pata means cloth and Chitra means Art. Once in the village you can watch the artisans as they fill their canvas with colours. You can interact with them , get to know them and their art. As we entered the village a huge gathering of men circled us insisting us to visit their homes. At first we were confused, then our auto driver told us these men are the artisans and their homes are the studios where they work and exhibit their art.
There were around 100 households , all painted and decorated. It looked really soothing with the temple within the premises and children playing, women busy with household chores while some were painting with brushes and colours scattered around them.
Patachitra for which the village Raghurajpur is famous for, is a kind of painting originally done with colours acquired naturally from stones, minerals, soil, but due to commercialization these days chemical dyes are also used. It is basically done on cloth like tussar, canvas, palm leaves and also on a variety of items such as wood, coconut, reetha, stones, etc. The white colour is acquired from sea shells, and some of the colours from stones which are collected from tribal villages.
Sometimes two colours are combined to achieve a desired colour. To prepare the cloth for painting first the cloth is soaked in water with tamarind seeds, then a strip of cloth is rubbed with gum (made of tamarind seeds), and coated with chalk which is first powdered and boiled. Then this mixtures is pasted on the cloth. After that it is polished first with a rough stone and then with a shining stone to achieve the smooth surface required for painting. All the information is given one of the artisan.
No one knows when this form of painting first started but as historians say Patacitra is as old as the Jagganath Temple of Puri. The carvings of the temple are said to be inspired from the paintings of Patacitra. The artisans have been doing this from generations after generations.
The murals depict stories through art, like stories from panchatantra. Most of them depicts scenes from Rashleela, Jhulan, Dashavatar, Naukavihar, that involves stories of Radha and Krishna, some of them also depicts marriage ceremony of Lord Shva and Parvati. Not only that the paintings also depicts the tribal life of the people, their lifestyle, adivasi dance forms, marriage processions, rituals, Gods and Goddesses, domestic animals, etc. The main Hindu deities which are widely seen in the paintings are Lord Jagannath, Subhadra, Bolobhadra, Ganesha, Durga, Shiva, Ram. Krishna.
In 2000 the village was given the status of the first heritage village and deeveloped as a craft village by INTACH. The houses of the artisand can be seen decorated with murals. Gradually this village is gaining grounds as a popular tourist destination in this region.
Not only that this village is also the birthplace of legendary Odissi dancer Kelu Charan Mahapatra. He was born there and started as a Gotipua dancer and later became a prominent Odissi dancer. There is also a studio in Raghurajpur where students receive dance training in Gotipua.
Most of the artists have won awards and certificates of excellence at national and state level which you can see framed and displayed in their homes.
You can buy the paintings which are available as wall hangings, photoframes in set of three, small toys, decorated coconuts and reetha, they say these coconuts are very auspicious as they were offerings in the Jagannath temple, stone replica temple of Jagannath. Most of them are quite expensive so don’t forget to bargain. It is better to buy it from the village itself. You can take photographs unhesitatingly, they will more than happy to show you around their art. Feel free to ask them everything you want to know about Raghurajpur and their art.
Boloram Prusty, an artisan from Raghurajpur persuaded us from the beginning to visit his house, he also took much effort to show us around the village. His house was towards the end and he said most tourists return without visiting his house. There are names for each of the studios and his studio’s name was Bidisha Vaisnavi Art and Craft. He should us his paintings, and also of his father which he claims is of more superior artistic quality due to experience and artistic excellence. We bought two tribal painted bottles from his studio. Most of the artisans who are Oriya speakers can speak fluent bengali, hindi and a little bit English too.
Tourists visit here to purchase the paintings. The larger ones are a bit expensive. Carry cash as most of the artisans don’t have electronic medium of transaction. Though the village is now gradually getting digitalized. Some do accept paytm money transfer. Government has also sanctioned many schemes and projects for the developement of the village and the artists.
Hope you liked reading all about Pipli and Raghurajpur, let me know if you have been to these two villages or planning to visit soon in the comment section below. Also feel free to share this post with your friends and loved one.
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