It can be named in one of the most famous Indian villages. No where 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 Odisha in eastern India. As far as art is concerned, only thing that comes close in comparison are havelis of Nawalgarh in Rajasthan, India. Craft, painting and dance- all are knitted beautifully in cultural traditions of Raghurajpur. It also has the distinction of being the place where the traditional decoration called Patas, used under the throne of Lord Jagannath and on the three chariots during the annual Rath Yatra festival.Raghurajpur is located 14 km from Puri, an important pilgrimage destination, and 50 km from Bhubaneshwar, the capital of Orissa. A village, which normally no tourist going to Odisha will like to miss.
Welcome to Raghurajpur
The craft traditions of this village stand unparalleled.
Taking the legacy forward
Showing the skills
Its tough and different
Scriptures were written like this on leaves and stored for centuries, passing on as heritage to next generation.
art forms such as palm leaf engravings, stone and wood carvings, paper mache toys, masks, wood carvings, wooden toys and cow dung toys etc are as integral a part of the heritage of Raghurajpur.
Vishnu in form of Lord Jagannath has been the mainstay of most of the art forms practised here
Art was also used to depict Kamsutra in similar way as we see in sun temple of Konark.
Not just pictures, Kamsutra was explained in verses as well.
Though the art was originally inspired by religious themes, the artists have responded to changing demands and have begun to handle secular subjects with the same finesse.
Each family is engaged in nurturing the art legacy of their ancestors. No doubt, the Pattachitra stands out conspicuously as an accomplishment in exquisite workmanship
The rows of houses facing each other are entwined with a series of temples, the village square and the community meeting place.
hatched and brick houses having high plinths with sit-out platforms serve as outdoor studios where artists are seen engrossed in intricate detailing.
A cooperative society to help the artists
Apart from that the village is also home to crafts like Tussar paintings, palm leaf engravings, stone and wood carvings, wooden, cowdung and papier mache toys, and masks. Another speciality of Raghurajpur crafts village is its Gotipua Dance. This dance is being traditionally done by boys, dressed up as girls to please the deity of Puri (Jagannath). These boys (Gotipuas) are trained to become accomplished dancers, mardala players, tuned singers and graceful acrobats above all. Raghurajpur crafts village is known for its Gotipua dance troupes. Famous Odissi dancer guru Kelucharan Mahapatra was also from this village and he himself was a Gotipua in young days.
It has been performed in Orissa for centuries by young boys, who dress as women to praise Jagannath and Krishna
Gotipua is a traditional dance form in the state of Orissa, India, and the precursor of Odissi classical dance
The dance is executed by a group of boys who perform acrobatic figures inspired by the life of Radha and Krishna
The boys begin to learn the dance at an early age until adolescence, when their androgynous appearance changes
To transform into graceful feminine dancers the boys do not cut their hair, instead styling it in a knot and weaving garlands of flowers into it
The traditional dress is a Kanchula, a brightly coloured blouse with shiny decorations. An apron-like, embroidered silk cloth (nibibandha) is tied around the waist like a ruffle and worn around the legs. Some dancers still adhere to tradition by wearing a pattasari: a piece of thin fabric about 4 metres (13 ft 1 in) long, worn tightly with equal lengths of material on both sides and a knot on the navel
Dancers wear specially designed, beaded jewellery: necklaces, bracelets, armbands and ear ornaments. Nose-piercing jewellery has been replaced with a painted motif. Ankle bells are worn, to accentuate the beats tapped out by the feet. The palms of the hands and soles of the feet are painted with a red liquid known as alta. The costume, jewellery and bells are considered sacred
Gotipua dance is in the Odissi style, but their technique, costumes and presentation differ from those of the mahari; the singing is done by the dancers. Present-day Odissi dance has been influenced by Gotipua dance
An interesting part of Gotipua is Bandha Nrutya, the presentation of acrobatic yogic postures (referring to mythological scenes from the life of Krishna) similar to visual presentations by the pattachitra artists of Orissa
Fluidity in the upper torso is characteristic of Odissi dance, which is often compared to the gentle sea waves which caress the Orissa beaches
Also watch a beautiful video of Gotipua dance at Raghurajpur crafts village