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Raghurajpur — The Village of Artists in Odisha
By   Published on: 04-Jan-2012 06:13:07
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On Puri - Bhubaneshwar, one can take a short detour to Raghurajpur-known as the village of artists. Inspired by Dr. Jagannath Mohapatra, every household in the village is engaged in some form of craftsmanship. The vibrant colors and the laid-back atmosphere were inviting, and the villagers were eager to show us their work. As we sat down with the artists, they discussed the philosophy behind their art while also pushing their merchandise.

Raghurajpur — The Village of Artists in Odisha

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The villagers cultivate their innate interest in art from an early age in order to develop the handicraft economy and promote eco-tourism.

Their materials are 100% organic as the colors used are extracted from sea shells, stones and plants, while the fabric is generally made of palm. In addition, each household holds expertise in a distinct art-form and has a unique style. For example, the first house we visited specializes in intricately designed bookmarks (which make for great gifts), while the last house offered an elaborate beer cooler made from the shell of a coconut. This distinctiveness has given birth to a healthy, competitive market.

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At the conclusion of our visit, a local explained that during peak season, foreigners visit the village nearly every day. He has also set up accommodation for such tourists to immerse themselves in the “real” Orissa for a few days and interact with the villagers. This is a heartening example of a society that is capitalizing on their natural abilities to generate revenue for the state and promote a different form of tourism.

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