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Raghurajpur Artist Village

November 7, 2017

The tiny heritage village of Raghurajpur is located a few kms from Puri, on the way to Bhubaneswar. It's a small village with several houses where local artisans work. The place has beautiful artwork based on Lord Jagannath and Krishna. But like several other reviewers have also mentioned, the locals create a ruckus and start forcing you to visit their house. All of them have almost the same things for sale, so my advice would be to just visit 2 artists at maximum and buy whatever you want to.

Objects to see: Tiny betel nuts painted with lord Jagannath, bigger Coconut husks, Small openable wooden temples, paper envelopes with traditional leaf paintings and of course, their paintings. Bargain, particularly with the paintings to buy one at a reasonable rate. We bargained and bought a painting offered to us for Rs.2200 at Rs.1600. The artists also work on silk sarees if you commission them for the same. It's definitely worth a visit, even if you decide not to but anything. Raghurajpur is less than half an hour from Puri (just couple of KM off the highway towards Bhubaneshwar). There are 2 parts of Raghurajpur - few houses / shops just before the main village and, the actual "Shilpi Gram" (artists' village) itself. The former is sort of a tourist trap, your car driver might simply stop there and refuse to go further (he's looking for a commission). But make sure to continue down the road and enter the artists village proper (marked properly on Google Maps). Some of the artists have probably setup their shops in first part to snare unknowing tourists. Vendors in the first part will literally fight with each other to get your attention - they will call you out, scream at you and try to pull you into their shops. It gets very irritating after a while. There's a difference in the prices of the 2 parts, but if you bargain hard, they all come down to the same price range.But here's the main thing: irrespective of bad salesmanship, the art is excellent in both parts, everything like pata-chitra, palm leaf paintings, shell paintings, coconut paintings, and betel nut paintings are top-notch. And the artists themselves (when you meet them) are humble, simple and seem to be hard-working. The pata-chitra (cloth paintings) are amazing - they mostly depict scenes from Hindu mythology and they come in different "qualities" - basic, apprentice and master. The master paintings are highly intricate and (obviously) cost a bomb, depending on their size. A few master paintings we saw (not for sale) were mind-blowingly intricate and detailed, with each costing more than Rs 25,000 (apparently, people from US and Europe had ordered them online). Some of the artists will eagerly demonstrate to you how they do their traditional art (like creating the canvas out of sarees or palm leaves, preparing natural paints and natural brushes); they are obviously hoping you'll buy something from them. If you do decide to buy, bargain hard, especially for the bigger items. You can also see a few artists practicing their art outside their houses or in the community areas. The 140 house village where generations of artists have been carrying on the tradition of intricately painting the details of Indian mythology and nature's beauty on local silk canvas using natural materials as colours, of hand sculpting mythological figures, animals etc. and teaching temple and Odishi dance must not be missed.

The place is unfortunately ignored by tour operators and taxi drivers who demand and are denied hefty cut from the local artists from their revenues from any purchases of their artworks (each piece can take anything from days to years to make). One can easily reach reach the place, just 3km off Puri-Bhubaneshwar Highway following Google Maps and should follow the blue boards along the way after leaving the highway and not let one be misled by anyone to any adjoining to any adjoining village or hamlet.

What Guests Say about it is as follows 

Visit this place for the sake of art and history and you would not be a bit disappointed. At around 11kms from Puri, Raghurajpur has been declared as the Heritage Craft Village. Although, mainly famous for its Pattachitra paintings, they also make palm leaf paintings, traditional masks, stone idols, paper mache, sculptures, wooden toys etc. With more than 100 houses, almost everyone is an artist and some are national award winners too for their impeccable talent. Most of the houses are decorated with mural paintings. The artists participate in various fairs and festivals across the country and even export their artwork. Take a walk into the village and pick up if you like something as chances are you would not get it outside at such lower prices. Autos and taxis are readily available from Puri. It is advisable to carry water bottles and some food of your own as nothing is available nearby.

 

This village is situated about 15 kms from the town of Puri and can be reached by hiring an auto-rickshaw or a taxi. Not sure about public transport.
The village itself is nothing more than two roads with houses, a small shrine and a pond.But each house is like a gallery of painting and art work. The style is pattachitra which uses natural colours on canvas. They also do artwork on palm leaf and coconut shells. The paintings are very good and the varies with the painter. You can visit different houses and buy the one that you like. The prices usually start from Rs 500/- and go up depending on the size and work involved.
Go there only if you are interested in paintings. Otherwise there is nothing much to see.

 

Raghurajpur is a heritage crafts village in Puri district, Odisha, known for its master Pattachitra painters, an art form which dates back to 5 BC in the region and Gotipua dance troupes, the precursor to the Indian classical dance form of Odissi. It is also known as the birthplace of one of the finest Odissi exponents and Guru, Kelucharan Mohapatra .
Situated amidst groves of coconut, palm, mango and jack fruit, the main village has two streets with over 120 houses, most decorated with mural paintings, where the painters reside and practice their pattachitra craft, besides many other that practices throughout the village, including traditional masks, stone idols, papier mache, sculptures, wooden toys.
New generations of artists will be waiting for you at the village gate and all of them will be requesting you to visit their places which are their studios as well. You can pay through digital payment platform also.

 

I had heard about Raghurajpur through tripadvisor. The village is around 10 km from Puri. The path leading to the vìllage is quite narrow with shops and a village market in both sides. At one point of time we considered returning back but since we had almost covered 90 percent of the journey we decided to complete it. We were glad we did. There are around a dozen houses in the vìllage selling patachitra and other paintings. The paintings are unique to the area and very beautiful. The variety on offer was also very large and we just could not decide what to buy. However the paintings are relatively costly and you would need to have good bargaining skills to land a good deal. We bought one mid sized painting and in hindsight we feel lucky that we bought it and unfourtunate that we did not buy more for family and friends back home. If you do not have the time and energy to go to the vìllage then Utkalika showroom in Bhubhanewar is a good place to buy the paitings at maybe a 10% higher price but yes going to the vìllage and buying directly from the artists is an experience in itself.

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