As you soon as you land in Odisha, you will know that this is a place of art and artists. The city infrastructure is beautified with unique paintings, with curved and linear line, bright colours and serene features. This is a shout out to the ancient art form of the state, Pattachitra.
Pattachitra literally means the story on a scroll. It was born during the earliest centuries of modern era as a school of miniature painting. Odisha has such a rich heritage of this art form that many villagers and families are trained since childhood to practice this unique art.
On the river Bhargavi, lays a small village with a dozen households. Raghurajpur is a village dedicated to miniature artists. Raghurajpur, located only about 15 kms from the spiritual hub of Puri, is like any of your traditional Indian villages. Narrow houses located on either side of narrow lanes, a temple on each lane, a sit out area in front of each house, made with wooden beams and pillars, and traditional decor is how Raghurajpur looks at first glance. But, once you step inside one of their homes, you will realize there is a deeper story that is an integral part of the lives of the people living in this village.
Image Credit: wordpress
Each household has entire family of artists. Whether it is Pattachitra, tado patra or palm leaf painting, tusser silk paintings, toys made out of cow dung and papier mache, colorful masks, stone carvings and much more decorate each wall in these traditional homes. And among these paintings, you will spot a Padma Bhushan or Padma Shree awarded to the artist by the President of India.
These artists are accorded a place close to the prestigious Brahmins in India’s hierarchical caste system, because they undertake paintings of gods. And they have earned this position because of the merit of their skills.
Image Credit: thebrokenscooter
They weave magic with their hands when they paint images that make the Lords come alive on cloth or paper. Apparently, many centuries ago a few chosen artisans and their families were given a piece of land by the then king in today’s Raghurajpur to practice and hone their skills. All the different miniature forms that come from this tiny village of Odisha is legacy of the families of these artisans or chitrakaars.
So, pack your bags to follow the miniature trail to this heritage village of Raghurajpur.