Lord Jagannath and his siblings, Balabhadra and Subhadra, deities smile at me :)

jagananth_1413021999We covered many heritage toys stories from north, south and west, how could we forgot to Raghurajpur . On the mapping of traditionally rich heritage places, you will found Raghurajpur painted with bold strokes. Raghurajpur heritage craft village is in Odisha, 14 km away from Hindu pilgrimage town of Puri. Raghurajpur renowned to produce different varieties of handicrafts.

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This is the only village in India, where each family is engaged in one craft or the other such as patta paintings, palm leaf engravings, papermache toys and masks, wood carvings, wooden toys, cow dung toys and so on. Raghurajpur a place where arts and crafts have reached its stage of excellence.

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Photo credit: Abhimanyu Biriki

There are barely a hundred homes in this village. Narrow houses located on either side of narrow lanes, a temple on each lane, a sit out area in front of each house, total wooden interiors (beams, pillars, doors and the likes) and traditional decor is how Raghurajpur looks at first glance. but once u enter u will found every home is an studio and every another person is an artist or a chitrakar, creating and preserving the traditional art form of Pattachitra and other carft painted with Pattachitra. In this village you will found fascinating murals painted on the outer walls of every home.

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photo credit; Abhimanyu Biriki

The reigning theme is the portrait of the three faces that fill up every space on the walls: the triad deities of Puri – Lord Jagannath and his siblings, Balabhadra and Subhadra. Almost every art form in this village is inspired by them.

As I always talks about cultural art toys and artifacts over my blog, here also we will talk upon those features only.

Coconut n betel nut painting-  

coconut shell called  nadia are inexpensive in Orissa, given its long coastline where coconut trees grow in abundance. Decorative and utility items crafted from coconut shells work out cheaper on account of the low cost of raw material,and less labour involved in comparison to betel nut carving.

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photo credit: Abhimanyu Biriki

on these shells, where the triad deities smile at me.

Cow dung toys

From centuries, toys made from cowdung have severed as cheap substitutes to wooden and metal toys, especially for marginalized communities. The raw material is free and production cost is negligible almost. They are mostly made by womens of stone carvers community, these brightly painted toys are rustic in design. Birds, animals are popular motifs as are statuettes of lard jagannath and his companions.

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These are sold in local markets . cowdung enjoyed a great deal of value in india and is thought of as holy as well as having antiseptic property.

Papier-mâché masks

Like other handicrafts linked with Raghurajpur, this handicraft made from wet waste paper too has its origin at this heritage village. Local pattachitra artists uses natural colours & mythological figures to make this masks.

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Photo credit: Abhimanyu Biriki

It can be used as wall hanging, toys & as puja idol. Masks of demons can also be used in front of houses to ward off evil eyes.

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Photo Credit: Abhimanyu Biriki

Author: seemaawasthi

studied design at IICD (Indian Institute of Craft & Designs), Jaipur.while i am employed as a graphics designer in a IT company and my dream is to work independently to live my passion for CRAFT. https://www.facebook.com/www.handmadetoys.in/

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