Raghurajpur – Pattachitra Artisan Village In Puri, Odisha

Visiting the Pattachitra artists at Raghurajpur was on prime of my wishlist for Odisha. Conventional artwork or Artisan villages are a delight to go to. To me, they signify the facilities of excellence as they used to exist prior to now. Everybody within the village is concerned in engaged on the identical factor, a wholesome competitors have to be pushing the standard of labor produced. The sourcing of uncooked materials, the availability of completed artworks to shoppers would have been simpler for the entire provide chain.

Pattachitra Artist of RaghurajpurPattachitra Artist of Raghurajpur
Artist of Raghurajpur

As a traveler, it’s a studying expertise to not simply purchase artwork. But in addition see how a lot time, effort, ability, and information goes into making these conventional artworks.

I’ve earlier visited artisan villages in UP, Gujarat, Andhra, Chhattisgarh & Bengal. So, this time in Odisha, I made a decision to spend a while with the artists of Raghurajpur.

Raghurajpur Village

Walls of Raghurajpur homesWalls of Raghurajpur homes
Painted Partitions of the houses within the artisan’s village

It’s a small village, 14 km from the favored pilgrimage city of Puri. It has solely about 150 houses which are organized in a single row on both facet of the 12 temples that stand within the center. I used to be stunned to see the temple to the household’s ratio right here. They’re small temples. However nonetheless, they’re just like the spinal wire of the village round which the physique works.

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Visiting the village is like being in an open-air museum. The homes are all adorned with beautiful colourful work. Each home makes you cease and admire the work. The folks of Raghurajpur have made positive that totally different sorts of labor are displayed on their partitions. Artists are sitting of their balconies doing their work. A small stroll across the village will utterly take you into the world of artwork and craft traditions of Odisha.

Small shops outside home - RaghurajpurSmall shops outside home - Raghurajpur
Conventional artworks on gross sales on the artisan’s houses

Conventional Artwork of portray on Palm Leaves

Raghurajpur is finest identified for making Pattachitra – the traditional artwork of portray on the palm leaves. The artist right here although works on varied mediums now together with cotton & silk material, coconut shells, areca nutshells, glass bottles, stone, wooden, and so on. They even make masks & toys.

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Sahu, Swain, Maharana, Goldsmith are the first communities engaged on this exercise. There is just one Brahmin within the village.

Jaganath Temple in WoodJaganath Temple in Wood
Jaganath Temple in Wooden

Once we visited the tree trunks stood naked, with none leaves and even branches. We had been informed that the cyclone performed havoc and the treetops had been blown away by it. Nearly nostalgically, the villagers mentioned, for those who had visited earlier than the cyclone, you’d have seen our village stuffed with every kind of fruit bushes.

Pattachitra Work at Raghurajpur

These work are an integral a part of the tradition of Puri. These work in gold of the trinity at Jagannath temple in Puri are worshipped through the time when the temple throne is vacant. This occurs when Sri Jagannath goes for his 108-pot bathtub to Snan Mandapa and will get sick. Generations of artists from this village have been doing this ritual portray.

Hanging scrolls of paintings at RaghurajpurHanging scrolls of paintings at Raghurajpur
Hanging scrolls of work on the village

Pattachitra work are historically executed on slender strips of palm leaves joined collectively. The work are usually executed in black shade by engraving the palm leaf floor after which filling it with the black shade.

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A newer model of Pattachitra is finished on material. I might say these are extra fashionable work with vacationers as they’ve vibrant colours and are available varied themes. Modern variations come on silk material that makes the work look delicate. These work will be worn each by people and the partitions of their houses.

Assembly the Pattachitra Painters

We sat with Alok Ranjan Sahu Ji in his small one-room workshop. A few of his younger apprentices had been busy portray. He took out his finest items to indicate us the range of portray types and themes.

He defined how the layers of used cotton material, often previous worn out Saris, pasted along with gum paste comprised of tamarind seeds. That’s then dried within the solar for days. As soon as dried, it nearly seems like a thick sheet of paper however is way stronger. Chalk powder is used to take away stains of shade from the fabric and make the floor white for portray. It’s additional polished by scrubbing on a marble slab. The higher-polished floor of the 2 sides of the canvas is painted upon.

Watch the video of the artisan’s village

This video was recorded throughout my go to to the village. Do watch, you’ll get a greater perspective of the artwork kind.

Pure Colours used for the portray

5 pure colours are used to color these artworks. All different colours come from the mixture of those colours. Pure gum is used for binding the colours.

White Colour – Sea Shell powder
Crimson Colour – Stone
Blue Colour – Khandneel stone
Yellow Colour – from a Hingul stone that may be floor solely in winters when the temperature is low as it’s flamable at excessive temperature
Black Colour – Soot of oil lamps

All colours are made by the artists themselves within the village itself. Brushes are made utilizing the hair of lifeless rats. Villagers used to make brushes themselves however at the moment are shopping for them from the market.

Learn extraMiniature Work of Rajasthan 

Pattachitra or Palm Depart Work

Palm leaves are additionally picked up by the villagers from the palm tree. They’re boiled with turmeric and neem leaves after which dried in solar for at the very least 20 days. Then they’re additional dried in a chronic course of by conserving it subsequent to the stoves at house. This ensures that the palm leaves are by no means broken by termites and so on. Can we even understand the thought, information, and energy that goes behind making these masterpieces?

Jagannath, Subhadra & Balbhadra on PattachitraJagannath, Subhadra & Balbhadra on Pattachitra
Jagannath, Subhadra and Balbhadra portray on Palm leaves

Palm leaves are engraved utilizing a pointy iron pen with freehand by the artists. The depth of the incision reveals up because the power of the road. This incision is then crammed with black shade. As soon as it units in, it’s not possible to take away this shade.

Try the Ragurajpur Pattachitra On-line Retailer

Most wonderful palm leaf work are those which have folds on them. You must open and shut the flaps to both see a protracted story or see two totally different tales at two totally different ranges.

Themes of Pattachitra

Tales from Indian scriptures stay the preferred themes for these work.

Jaganath, Subhadra and Balbhadra is the preferred theme. Pilgrims, since time immemorial, have been taking them house, as a memento, to worship of their private temples again house. For the four Purnima or full moon nights through the yr, a gold Shringar or gold look is given to the deities within the temple. This golden avatar is a favourite among the many painters of Raghurajpur. On the temple, that is executed when Rath Yatra begins, Paush Purnima, Kartik Purnima, and Dola Purnima.

Rath Yatra PattachitraRath Yatra Pattachitra
Rath Yatra portray on the palm leaves

Rath Yatra

One other fashionable theme from the Puri temple is Rath Yatra. Why not it’s the best-known pageant world wide. In an nearly life-like depiction, each element of the three Rathas is captured, proper from the type of flags the three chariots carry. The group is proven doing varied actions. Some doing darshan of the lord, some doing their kirtan or singing bhajans, some pulling the chariot. Kings are proven shifting on a palanquin.

Jatri Patti - a pilgrimage paintingJatri Patti - a pilgrimage painting
Jatri Patti – a pilgrimage portray


My favourite theme of this type of art work is Jatri-Pati. This conventional portray depicts the journey of a pilgrim to Jagannath Puri Temple. It reveals you the trail that the pilgrims stroll on like historical Athara Nala Bridge, or the 22 steps they take on the temple, or the doorways like Simha Dwar. In an elaborate portray, it will be proven within the type of a Shankha or Conch Shell with important sculptures of the temple additionally depicted. Such a portray known as Shankh Nabhi Pattachitra. It’s uncommon to see this. I solely discovered a couple of on-line. At Raghurajpur, you do get a simplified model of this, and they’re lovely too.

Composite Art on palm leavesComposite Art on palm leaves
Composite Artwork on palm leaves

Lifetime of Lord Krishna

The lifetime of Krishna is one other fashionable theme. I noticed many work that depict the lifetime of Krishna from his Anant Narayan avatar to childhood tales in Braj to his dwelling in Dwarka. Tales from Ramayana and Buddhism are additionally painted however not as fashionable. Dashavatar or 10 avatars of Vishnu are painted in numerous mandala formations. Rasa Lila can also be fashionable.
Odisha is the land of Devi too. So, you discover many work depicting Devi in her varied kinds, the preferred one being that of Mahishasurmardini.

Nowadays fashionable themes embrace a bit extra secular trying ‘Tree of Life’. Tribal work in geometric patterns are additionally gaining reputation.

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Typically the artists get inventive they usually merge work. For instance, I noticed one portray of Dashavatar made contained in the face of Jagannath.

Lesser-known work embrace the portray of Jagannath, Subhadra, and Balbhadra on the empty shells of coconut that are very talked-about among the many vacationers. These are in all probability essentially the most reasonably priced souvenirs from Puri. In a miniature model of the identical, Supari or Areca nuts are additionally painted in the same sample. I used to be informed that individuals cling these on their doorways for good luck.

Masks of various deities are additionally made right here on this village. Though I might not say it’s their specialty per se.

Birthplace of Kelucharan Mahapatra

Birthplace of Kelucharan MahapatraBirthplace of Kelucharan Mahapatra
Birthplace of Guru Kelucharan Mahapatra

If you realize in regards to the eight classical dances of India, you’d know Odissi is considered one of them. Top-of-the-line-known names in Odissi is Guru Kelucharan Mahapatra. Raghurajpur was his birthplace, although he later moved to Bhubaneshwar. He did arrange a temple at his delivery village. His home within the village although lies in absolute ruins. Villagers desire a memorial constructed on the place however his household would wish to take a name on that. His statue is there at a small complicated simply exterior the village.

Gotipua Gurukul

Gotipua is an Odissi dance carried out by younger boys dressed as ladies. It calls for excessive flexibility of the physique together with the apply of dance. I’ve seen this dance many instances at Lokotsav in Goa and even on the resort in Puri, the place we had been staying. The convenience with which they twist and switch their our bodies is wonderful.

This small village has three Padma Awardees.

Dr. Jaganath Mohapatra – Guru of Pattachitra Work who began the artwork village of Raghurajpur for the palm leaf work in 1965. I couldn’t confirm this one. However that is what the villagers informed me.

Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra obtained Padma Vibhushan for Odissi.

Guru Maguni Charan Das obtained Padmashree for establishing Gotipua Gurukul.

Journey Ideas

Painted SupariPainted Supari
Painted Supari and Reetha
  • The village is situated near Chandanpur, which is a city. You’ll begin seeing painted partitions proper out there of Chandanpur. Cease by for those who like, however don’t depart earlier than visiting the village of the artisans.
  • Work on Tussar silk are cheaper than conventional Palm leaf ones, as they use acrylic colours and designs are much less intricate.
  • Each home has work within the village. You possibly can cease by and go to any of them. Most artists welcome vacationers of their workshops.
  • You can too study to color on the palm leaves on the village or invite the artist to your cities for workshops.
  • Relying in your curiosity, you may spend the period of time right here.
  • There is no such thing as a meals or some other services within the village. However the artist would provide help to with something you require.

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