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Orissa .... Paradise of art and craft.


Orissa, Utkala , kalinga and also "land of arts and crafts" . These are all the identity of Orissa. Extremely rich tradition and amazing art, craft and culture of Orissa has made this state worldwide unique... matchless . The artistic skill of the Orissan artists are unsurpassable in the world. This title that is apt even today because, one can see a variety of very distinctive arts and crafts representation almost in every nook and corner of Orissa. Due to the reigns of many different rulers in the past, the culture, arts and crafts of the state underwent many changes, imitations, assimilations and new creations . The discovery that traditional artists still live and work throughout Orissa, producing various objects and excites lakhs of tourists.

Stone carving.

Stone sings...dances....and defines. Because stone have life.... stone feels... speaks also . And this is the tremendous creativity of Orissan craftmanship , which has been proved for generation . carvings on the several temples. monuments throughout Orissa are the unspoken example of oriyan stone carve. All these has been refelct for years in stone figures of Gods and Goddess, miniature temple invitations and several lifestyle related items. It is also evident from the innumerable archaeological monuments, rock-cut sculptures, caves and temples built for centuries and embellished with most beautiful and intricately carved statue and other adornments. Bhubaneshwar, Puri and Konark still inspire the modern craftsmen. These sculptures find their way in to intricate carvings on soapstone, stones, hard Conchilla etc. Similarly in Puri, Kichhing and several part of Orissa, one can find numerous items carved on stones, like jewellery boxes, figures of Gods and Goddess, small boxes, trays etc. Designs on them with the use of fine silver wire, colored stones and even jali- work are used on the stone items.

Silver Filigree.


Orissa has a distinction for its exquisite silver filigree work. This work is popularly known as Tarakasi in oriya language. The thousand year old city cuttack is famous for this filigree and widely known as Silver city of India. It is an intricate process being processed by specialised artisan of the trade.Silver is melted in a mould and poured into a narrow tray, beaten on an anvil and elongated into a tar or a hair like wire by passing it through a steel plate wire gauge. then the two thin wire are welded together , pressed and flatened till they look like one wire.Then it is bent to various shape. Silver wires, extremely delicate, are shaped into intricate designs. Forms of animals and birds, articles of daily use like vermilion receptacles are also made out of silver wires- Filigree ornaments.

Wood carving .

Wood carving of Orissa are also very popular. It has a very unique style which is different form products of other states. Various items of wood, intricately carved with inlay work are a favorite with the Orissa artisans. Replica of Lord Jagganath temple and Rath Yatra, animals, birds, temples, Gods and Goddess are common themes made in wood. Exotic ivory inlay work has now been replaced by plastic. Colorful ‘Paper-mache', masks of deities and animals are a favorite item made by the craftsman and find a good market in both Indian and foreign buyers.

Metal work .


This is an alloy of tin and copper . Though it is widely known as metal work,in some part of Orissa this item is called Dhokra. Various items of brassware and bell metal like utensils etc. is easily available in Orissa . Boxes, vases, decorative plates etc. made of metals are also available. Items made by tribals by their unique metal casting method called the dokra style also easily available in some parts of Orissa.


Orissa has an age old tradition of Painting which stretches from the prehistoric rock shelters to the temples and various mathas . Out of these the traditional painters , the tribal painter , the folk and rock painters are of significance. It is also says that the painting of Orissa is as old as its sculpture. Here the painters of Orissa produce fine murals for temples and manuscripts on paper and palm leaf. The "Patta Chitras" made by painters from Raghurajpur village near Puri is famous. In such paintings a specially prepared cloth is coated with earth to stiffen it and finally coated with lacquer after painting, to give it a sheen and a protective coating from the vagaries of nature. Attractive playing cards are also made by the above method. Cheap mementos to suit each pocket are made by the artisans for economic reasons, which are crude. The best painters get an opportunity to paint the Puri temple and deities and their "Cars" each year. The painters look forward to this honor of painting the temple and the ‘Rath’ or cars each year.

Patta Chitra.

Besides mural paintings, there is miniature paintings which is called patta chitra . Pattas are now used as wall hangings. The subject matter of Patta paintings is limited to religious themes. The stories of Rama and Krishna are usually depicted on the pattas. "Rasa Lila", "Vastra Haran", "Kaliya Dalan" , Krushna lila are some of the recurring themes of Patta art. Near Puri the pattachitra artists mostly live in the village Raghuraj pur popularly known as craft village.

Sand Arts .

Creating excellent art and magnificient sculpture in using sand is called sand art. To carve a sand sculpture , the raw material is the only clean and fine grained sand mixed with water . With the help of this type of sand and by the magic of fingures , an artist can carve a beautiful and attractive sculpture on the beach. The theme of this art may be contemporary or traditional.In Orissa ,this unique type of art form is well developed at Puri which spreads all over the world .

Palm Leaf Paintings .


This traditional and unique Palm leaf paintings are very ancient in Orissa. An iron stylus is held stationary while moving the leaf to produce finely illustrated manuscripts. The leaves are prepared by drying, boiling and drying again and flattening before coating with shell. After the inscriptions had been inscribed with an iron stylus, the grooves are rubbed with soot or powdered charcoal. white color was added with a brush. These then would be strung together and placed between decorative covers made of wood. Here in Orissa the Palm Leaf illustrations are mainly of two types, simple engravings or illustrations in pure line on palm leaf and engraving with colour fillings. In these engravings, colours are muted and play a very minor part. Where colours are at all applied, they are just painted either to emphasize the inscriptions, or to fill up blank space. This unique skill is still practiced. Old manuscripts are also found well preserved in the museum in Orissa.

Jhoti, Chita and Muruja.


The folk art of Orissa is connected and bounded with its social and religious activities. Through out the year, the village women of Orissa perform several rituals for fulfillment of their desires. For each occasion a specific type of art is drawn on the floor or on the wall. In the month of Margasira, women folk worship the goddess Lakshmi. It is the harvest season when grain is thrashed and stored. During this auspicious occasion, the mud walls and floors are decorated with murals in white rice paste or pithau .This art is called Jhoti or chita. Similarly Muruja is prepared powder from different hues. Here indegenous methods are used to get coloured powders. WHite powder is obtained from grinded stone , green from dried leaves, black from brunt coconut shells, yellow form petals of marigold flowers and red colour from clay or bricks. In the holy month of Kartika generally women draw this Muruja designs near Chaura, i.e.Bearing Tulasi plant in their country yard.

Lacquer Work.

The work is executed in delightgul folk designs and form an important part of a girls' trousseau in Orissa. Trousseau means clothing for the bride. Among other beauties of this crafts are the bangles, necklaces and toys. All of them distinctive and hence in great demand . Bamboo boxes are also lacquered in various colours and shades.

Brass & Bell Metal.

In most orissa household one would find the artisary of brass and bell metal ware being used in daily life. The fine engravings on brass and bellmetal utensils, bronze bangles and pots are important aspects of Orissan art. Artefacts made of metal, particularly brass, find pride of place in the homes of Orissa. Beautiful lamps and lamp-stands are used during the worship of deities. Balakati, Belaguntha and kantilo are famous for ballmetal craftsmen and their extraordinary craftmanship. Dhokra metal craft is another beautiful craft of Orissa people. It ia a tribal art form of Dhenkanal district. Alloy, brass or zinc is melted on a clay model and threading is done by the waxing process.

Horn work.


Articles of daily uses like combs, flower vases, pen stands and manymore are made form the horn of cows, bullocks of buffalos.Process is the craftmen first collect the horns of dead animals. Then after putting it on fire it hammered and cut to sahpes. Then it is formed into various designs and polished . Cuttack city and Paralakhemundi town are famous for this horn work.

Textile weaving.

These cottage industries are found in all parts of Orissa. The unique "resist" method of dyeing the warp or weft thread or both, before weaving results in an interesting enmeshed pattern, typical of Orissa fabrics. Silk and cotton saris are made in some of the prominent centres like Brahmapur, Mayurbhanj, Nuapatna, and Sambalpur.

Craft village.... government emporium.. and many more.

At crafts villages like Raghurajpur one can get to buy & see palm leaf etchings or paintings. This Raghuraj pur village is about 12kms distance form puri. Pipli is 32km southwest of Bhubaneswar and is famous for its appliqué work. At Chandragiri near Taptapani one can get Tibetan carpets and wall hangings from the Tibetan community living here. Bell metal items from Balakati i.e.10 km from Bhubaneshwar, stone carvers village at the root of Lalitgiri hills, silver filigree work in Cuttack, master weavers work on their looms & sell these items in Nuapatna i.e.70 km from Bhubaneswar , all these items has distinction of their own. But these all can be obtained at one place i.e. the "Orissa Handicraft Emporiums" found in various cities of Orissa and in many cities of India.


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