Raghurajpur Artist Village at Puri, Odisha is prominent for its finest traditional art form of Pattachitra paintings. Pattachitra is a local word used for paintings that uses cloth as the medium, depicting scenes from Hindu mythological folk tales. The village was recognized as Odisha’s first heritage place in 2000 by the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage and was gradually converted into an art and craft center.
The village is also well known for the Patas, a traditional art form, at the throne of Lord Jagannath in Puri temple. You can find the decorations on the three chariots of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra during the Annual Rath Yatra festival.
The Picturesque Village
Raghurajpur Artist Village is adorned by almost 120 houses painted with artistic murals. It is the residence of talented artists and craftsmen engaged in creating the Pattachitra paintings. The paintings are essentially curated on the stone idols, sculptures, toys, traditional masks and many more. You will be astonished by the amazing artistry and skill of the artists as you stroll across the village.
Every year, this pristine village at Raghurajpur Puri celebrates the famous spring festival in India – The Basant Utsav in the months of February and March. Situated about 14 km away from the Hindu pilgrimage site and beach city Puri, Raghurajpur Artist Village symbolizes and uplifts the traditional heritage of ancient Indian paintings. The location of the village is also spectacular, being placed at the banks of the River Bhargabi.
The Pattachitra Paintings of Raghurajpur Artist Village
The oldest form of traditional painting practiced in the state of Odisha, the style of Pattachitra is distinctly noted for its natural feel on the patta or the canvas. The colours portray the richness in the motifs and designs created by the painters and craftsmen. Natural dyes prepared from minerals and plants are used as colours by most of the artists in Raghurajpur Puri. Some use synthetic colours but the traditional artists of Raghurajpur Artist Village prefer to use organic colours for their paintings.
The Ganjifa and Dashavatar playing cards carry the Pattachitra paintings on them. You can find these cards in many Indian museums, preserved and protected to prevent its extinction. Another prominent art form practiced in Raghurajpur Artist Village is the paintings on palm leaves. The palm leaves are initially inter-locked with each other through leafy strips. The drawings are then made on the palm leaves by black fine lines or sometimes with a mix of bright colours. The essence of palm leaf paintings is the story of the ancient tales and epics narrated through the art.
The Traditional artists of Raghurajpur Artist Village
The artists are humble and simple, never hesitating to share their experiences and knowledge about the paintings. They smilingly answer the questions of the visitors and happily display their wonderful artwork to everyone. The craftsmen would gleefully talk about the history and myth behind the ancient art form. They would explain to you in detail the techniques and methods adopted for the astounding paintings. You can often find art lovers from different countries practicing and learning Pattachitra from the artists.
All around Raghurajpur Artist Village, you can find vibrant colored pots, masks, toys, sculptures, and palm leaf paintings transforming it into a magical place. The artists would guide you for a heritage walk through the village, explaining the intricacies about the paintings and their rich heritage. They sometimes even welcome visitors to their households in a very courteous manner.
Many of the crafts and artworks are available for sale. You can buy them as souvenirs and gifts. Training is also imparted by the artists as a separate package program.
How to reach Raghurajpur Artist Village?
An offbeat destination, the village can be reached by car or an auto-rickshaw from Puri. You need to walk around the village to observe the beautiful paintings and handicrafts and converse with the painters and craftsmen. Both men and women are engaged in the artwork and are following the practice from one generation to the next.
Puri is flocked by visitors from all around the world. But few people venture out from the beach to these kinds of unexplored regions. Next time when you visit Puri, take time off from the beachside and visit the picturesque village. You can learn about the history of ancient Indian paintings and art form. The skill of the artists and craftsmen are worthy of appreciation. Situated in the midst of the lush greenery adorned by the coconut trees, betel vine gardens, palm trees, fruit orchards, and tropical plantation, the village is a spectacular combination of pristine nature and rich cultural heritage.
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