Our country, India, is full of heritage crafts having lots of talented artists and to visit the core city of such magnificent art is a pleasure. Odisha is popular for its tribal people and crafts mainly for pattachitra, palm leaves engraving, tassar silk etc. This weekend when I went to Puri some local people told me to visit Pipli and Raghurajpur village if I am an art lover. Thus I booked an Auto-rickshaw which took me to Raghurajpur village, a heritage crafts village in Puri district of Odisha. We meet with Abhimanyu Barki who is a talented artist and is carrying forward the tradition of Pattachitra art from his ancestors. His father painting “Tree of life” was offered to France Prime minister by our prime minister Modi as a gift. You can check out about it here.
How to reach the village
Raghurajpur is a very small village and every house in it has an artist, there is no direct connectivity by bus to this village so if you want to reach there hire a cab or autorickshaw. It is around 20 km from Puri and will take around half an hour to reach there. As soon as you enter the village you will see the incredible artworks outside every home. Villagers will invite you themselves to show their great work and will explain you well how they paint and give the final touch to their art.
The villagers or the craftsmen of Raghurajpur plays an important role in supplying decorative items to Sri Jaganatha temple. They are supplying the Patas for several years which is used on the throne of Lord Jaganatha inside the temple. And during car festival chariots are decorated with paints of these artisans. If you wish to experience the art and culture of Raghurajpur you can contact Abhimanyu, one of the artist.
Impressive meeting with Abhimanyu Bariki
We were invited by Abhimanyu who explains us the way of pattachitra creation. He shows us the brush, created out of mouse hairs, which is used to paint. He also shows the stones that are used to make color, the natural stones are used which they get from tribal people to make the color in a coconut shell. There are mainly six primary colors which they get from those stone and then using those they come out with some new one. He also shows us the tool used to engrave the palm leaf.
The process of preparation of canvas for painting
First they use a stone and scratch that stone with water on the cotton cloth after the cloth get dried they polish it with gum and tamarind water to make a handmade canvas on which painting will be drawn further. The cloth prepared is known as patta and the painting done on it refers to Chitra, thus the whole art name is patta chitra.
Abhimanyu told us that government is not taking any initiative to promote their work and people are also least interested in coming to their village. When we went we just one or two groups over their :(. Their efforts are being ignored and most of them are now looking for other options to earn for their livelihood. The people in the village are very genuine and they will give you proper time to explain their art and will not force you to buy something, they took their art as a pride thus wants you to buy only if you want. It was an awesome experience to listen to their process of making the paintings and how they are forwarding their art from generation to generation. We bought a coconut shell to hand on doors and another piece of art to hang in our car.
I have read on TripAdvisor that price is high but I strongly feel that if you respect art then you will not feel price as high, as sometimes they took 20 days to complete a painting and if they are changing 10-20K for that than its justifiable. there is a wide range from low to high. The artist we meet was not at all greedy but was very genuine and just wanted us to tell people about their places in return for nothing. He gives us around an hour to explain the work done by him and I really appreciate his efforts. Thus, if you are planning to go to puri then add the place in your itinerary to appreciate the incredible Indian heritage.
Here I am attaching the Abhimanyu details in case anyone of you is interested in visiting, you can contact him.
Contact Number:- 09778832417/09938505532
Shop Name:- Maa Bangalamukhi Arts
Awards:- All Orissa Seminar & Exhibition Awardww 1993