Located in Puri, Raghurajpur is a tiny village dedicated to art and handicrafts. This is where the Pattachitra form of painting originated back in the 5th century. It is also the birthplace of the revered Odissi Guru – Kelucharan Mohapatra and the Gotipua dance-form (a precursor to Odissi).
A walk through this delightful town will give you a glimpse into the local artisans at work. You will see a variety of handicrafts displayed on the walls and floors of the houses of these artisans and painters, that makes their homes look like a colourful art gallery. Apart from the Pattachitra paintings, keep an eye out for palm leaf engravings, stone carvings, paper toys and masks, wood carvings, wooden toys and toys made of cow dung.
The flourishing art form has been passed on to the current artisans from their fathers and forefathers; the creativity flowing through generations of them. Perhaps, this is the only place in India where you will find a congregation of so many art works and artists in one place. If you’re someone who appreciates art and paintings, this village in Odisha is an ideal place to visit.
The heritage craft of Pattachitra is used to decorate the Lord of the Universe – Lord Jagannath; and is perhaps the greatest reason why this art form gained such prominence. Essentially, scenes from the Indian epics are portrayed in vibrant colours on a piece of cloth, with great craftsmanship and imagination.
Raghurajpur is 15km from Puri and about 55km from Bhubaneswar. It is a small settlement with roughly 120 houses lined on both sides of the road, facing each other. There are a couple of temples here that deserve a visit as well. For an immersive experience, a local guided tour of this village is highly recommended.