Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 17:
The pilgrim city of Puri is one of the major attractions for tourists in Odisha. Yes, if you have been to Odisha, you have been to the holy land of Jagannath. For many people across India and the world, Odisha equals to Puri and Jagannath temple.
Puri also is house to artisans and craftsmen and produces many beautiful handicrafts. We bring to you eight such examples:
- Stone carving
In ornamentation of the hundreds of temples, monasteries and other works of stone which were built in the course of many centuries in Odisha,the carvers acquired the most extraordinary technical skill in architectural decoration.The work of stone carvers of today does not fall much behind the high artistic excellence of their predecessors. At present a few families still continue to follow the age-old tradition of creating artistic figures and images on stones of various quality. Most of them work on soap-stone and some on sand-stone and hard-stone.
Pathuria Sahi in Puri is crowded with houses along narrow winding alleys wherein live the descendants of the builders of the temples of Puri, Bhubaneswar and Konark. The products are very fine and beautiful in quality and are highly appreciated by foreign tourists and people coming from the other parts of India.
2. Applique work
Samiana (canopies) and chhatris (umbrellas) that bear magnificent appliques and designs of great artistic skill are manufactured at Pipili and Puri. It is a hereditary craft. Brightly coloured patches of red, blue,black,white and yellow clothes are stitched together in required form to produce a colourful and harmonious pattern. These applique products are very beautiful and are also exported to many foreign countries.
3. Mask making
Various types of decorative articles including masks are produced from Sola pith and papier-mache. The pith decorations are traditionally used to decorate the images during various festivals. Beautiful toys with detachable limbs like nodding tigers, other animals and different types of masks are made in papier-mache by the folk painters of Puri. A co-operative society has been organised for this craft in Puri too.
4. Palm leaf engraving
The palm leaf illustrations are mainly of two types, simple engravings or illustrations in straight lines and engravings with colour fillings, all on palm leaves. Plam leaf illustrations are executed on oblong palm leaves. When these are used to make a manuscript they are bound together with a thread, passing just through the middle of the leaves. Palm leafs are also used to draw pictures of different gods and goddesses. These are joined lengthwise with the help of threads to form a rectangular or square format. These could be folded and opened or could be hung on the wall.
The artisan village of Raghurajpur is a known name for palm leaves engraving.
Healthy read: 8 Odia foods that help in losing weight
5. Wood carving
The wood carving of Puri is worked in a style, blending folk and classical forms with a special feature of colour paintings on the wooden objects. A variety of decorative and utilitarian objects like toys depicting birds and animals-real and mythical, dowry boxes and bowls are fashioned by the carvers. A combination of skill and folk and classical styles makes these objects unique in the field of Indian handicrafts. And best occasion to flaunt the expertise the work of these carvers is the world-famous Rath Jatra.
Good read: Unknown Obsessions of 5 Odia Politicians
6. Thermocol work
In religious functions, craft of thermocol is used for decorating platforms, especially on Jhulana yatra,the mukti mandap and the platform where the deities swing as a part of yearly rituals is. Similarily, during Dussehera, the idol of Goddess Durga is given a colourful shape by using thermocol for her necklaces. Even during the annual Rath Jatra, the deities are adorned with thermocol headgears called Tahiya which are supplied by Raghava Das matha of Puri. The great wheel of Konark, temples of Puri and Bhubaneswar etc., are modelled out in thermocol during cultural festivals like the Puri Beach Festival which attracts and entices the tourists the most.
Interesting read: 6 Reasons Why Chandipur Beach is One of its Kind
7. Pattachitra painting
Chitrakars or folk painters of Raghurajpur in Puri belong to an indigenous school of painting. The age-old tradition is still preserved by the chitrakars and their women folk. The patta or the canvas is prepared by coating the cloth with a mixture of chalk and gum made from tamarind seed, which provides a leathery surface. On it the painter draws directly with his brush, with colours such as light red or yellow and then the forms are filled in with earth and with yellow, blue, red and white. Pattachitra, though basically a folk style, has been influenced by classical Odia sculpture forms. The subjects depicted in the pattachitras are mainly gods and goddesses in the Hindu religion, familiar episodes in the from the tales of Radha-Krishna and Lord Jagannath.
Also read: Pattachitra on Nails, Mobile Phone Covers
Terracotta is an art form universal in its scope, yet emblazoned with the distinct imprint of the native soil.The art of kiln burnt ware, graceful and harmonious, provides the perfect counterfoil to the amazing legacy of stone sculpture. Apart from supplying the earthen pot for the daily requirements in the temple the Kumbharas (potters) dedicate their entire time in carving out different images from clay. This category of people reside in a particular area in Puri called the Kumbharapara.