Located 15 km north of Puri in Odisha, Raghurajpur is a heritage crafts village, the first to be established in the State in the year 2000.
The village is best known for its master Pattachitra painters, who apply intricate cloth-based scroll paintings of mythological narratives and folktales. This art form dates back at least 2,000 years in the region.
Situated amidst groves of coconut, palm, mango and jack fruit, the main village has two streets with over 120 houses, but there are adjacent villages nearby that have sprung up offering items of art for sale. This is not just restricted to Pattachitra, here you can also see palm leaf engraving, tribal arts, paper and wooden masks, tassar painting, toys, and stone and wood carving.
It’s fair to say that after a while I started to crave seeing something new, a lot of the shops were selling very similar items. The key here is to spread your purchases around, and give a number of shops your business.
I can tell you from first hand experience that these villagers desperately need your custom. This whole region and in particular the villages around Raghurajpur were devastated by cyclone ‘Fani’ on May 3rd 2019, just seven months prior to my visit. It tore through the villages, snapping palm trees in half and wiping out any superficial buildings that had been erected. Many were rendered homeless with all their personal belongings lost, it’s beyond comprehension really.
Prior to Fani’s landfall, authorities in India and Bangladesh moved at least a million people each from areas within Fani’s projected path onto higher ground, and into cyclone shelters, which is thought to have reduced the resultant death toll and casualties. Sixty four people died in Odisha, a surprisingly small number considering the highest winds recorded were 250 km/h (155 mph). The resulting damage amounted to $8.1 billion in both India and Bangladesh, mostly in Odisha.
If you find yourself traveling anywhere near Puri, please try and make a point of visiting Raghurajpur and purchase a few souvenirs. Below are the contact details for three shop keepers, who are also able to ship items to anywhere in India and beyond.
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