“The artist and the art are the yolk and white of my shell
On the cultural canvas of India, the village of Raghurajpur is a master stroke. The quaint huts and palm groves shelter microcosms of unrivalled artistic heritage. No where in the world does one get to see such an assemblage of artworks in one single place, other than in this unique village situated in the state of Orissa. Thatched and brick houses having high plinths with sit-out platforms serve as outdoor studios where artists are seen engrossed in intricate detailing.
Thick groves of coconut, palm, mango, jack fruit…paddy fields dotted with betel vines, and the river Bhargavi flowing by… this idyllic backdrop befits the creative leanings of the artisan village. Each family is engaged in nurturing the art legacy of their ancestors. No doubt, the Pattachitra Folk paintings done on cloth of varied sizes, specially prepared with a paste of tamarind seeds and powdered chalk. Such a treatment makes it parchment-tough and lends a kind of a leathery finish. Using delicate brushes, the intricate outlines of the painting are drawn, which are filled in with earth and stone colours to create pictures inspired from Indian mythology and folklore. The tradition of Pattachitra is closely linked with the worship of Lord Jagannath; the main manifestation of Lord Vishnu worshipped in the renowned Puri temple. The village gives a rare opportunity to buy a Pattachitra at a reasonable price.
stands out conspicuously as an accomplishment in exquisite workmanship, but the buck does not stop here… an array of other craft items - palm leaf inscriptions, stone and wood carvings, papier mache, sodhai work, mural painting, wooden and cow dung toys, filigree, applique, terracotta - are created and proudly displayed in the dainty households.
Alongside, the GotipuaApart from producing fine handicrafts, Raghurajpur is also the home to a living tradition of performing arts, known as Gotipua, the earlier form of Odissi. Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, a maestro of Odissi dance, was born in this village and had his early trainings in Gotipua tradition here. The dance is performed by boys, aged 14 years or younger. At an early age, between 4-6 years, the boys start their training in a residential Gurukul.
Gurukul Academy has nurtured Raghurajpur's illustrious Odissi dance tradition of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra. The rows of houses facing each other are entwined with a series of temples, the village square and the community meeting place. A strong religious current runs through the village. Along with the local deity, Bhuasuni, all the major Hindu gods are revered in the village.