Revisiting Raghurajpur Heritage Village
Upon your arrival at the Raghurajpur Heritage Village in Puri, Odisha, 50 km from Odisha capital Bhubaneswar, you may feel that you have entered an art studio where each wall of each houses is a standalone art gallery.
A village that has more than 100 households where every family member is an artist, Raghurajpur is known for its ancient Pattachitra and Tusser paintings, its Gotipua dance, its palm leaf engravings, its stone and wood carvings, its papier mache toys and masks, and its wooden and cow dung toys.
There is a lot about this village that was declared a heritage village in the year 2000 that you must know.
The art work dates back to 12th century
The art form of Pattachitra dates back to 12th century AD. The passion for this art in the hearts of the villagers has kept the tradition alive till date. In fact, the Pattachitra art is the prime reason why Raghurajpur is named a heritage village.
1 Pattachitra painting takes 5-15 days to finish
While it takes years of training to master the art to draw flawless designs, it generally takes between five and 15 days to complete one piece of Pattachitra painting. Depending on the intricacy of the design, it may take months to finish a single piece.
It pays to start early
As mastering this art form is a daunting task, the training for Pattachitra drawings starts at an early age. This is why villagers start training their children at the age of seven or eight. The youngsters start off by practicing on the designs on a slate, gradually moving on to sheets and finally on the canvas.
The feminine touch
Earlier, the art work of Pattachitra was done and learnt only by men, while women assisted them in the process. By and by, women have also learned the art and are active producers.
Hosts national and international guests
The small village of Raghurajpur hosts tourist, national and international, all around the year. After all, it's a world-renowned art village we are talking about.
Adorning the lord's chariot
The chariots of the deities of the famous Jagannath Temple --- Lord Jagnnath, Balbhadra and Devi Subhadra --- are decorated using Patta paintings for the annual Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra.
Many artisans from this village have been honoured with the President's Award. In the year 1965, Jagannath Mohapatra became the first person to receive the award. Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi gifted his French counterpart a Pattachitra painting made by Bhaskar Mahapatra.