Travelling back in time
Raghurajpur with Mahindra XUV500
After our enriching stay in Konark, we embarked on the first destination of our Odisha road trip - the craft village of Raghurajpur. After a smooth ride that spanned over 40 kms, we let our Mahindra XUV500s rest by the road and set out to explore the village on foot.
Elsewhere in the world, families often pass down antique tea sets or prized necklaces as heirlooms. But the ancestors at Raghurajpur passed on something more humble - an ancient art form that dates back centuries.
That’s why, as we gallivanted around the village, it felt like an art exhibition had come to life. Every single house in the village is decorated with unique yet gorgeous artwork. Surely the outcome from generations of artists that resided in every home. Art runs in the veins of every villager of Raghurajpur. Home to master Pattachitra and the Talpatri painters; the people of this village are striving to preserve intricate art forms that are centuries old. One such institution is the Gurukul we visited, where Mr Maga Nayak has been a practising artist for the last 60 years. We were told that artists often spend 6-18 months to create one painting, etched with episodes from the lives of Lord Jagannath, Krishna, Balabadra and Sulabadra. In fact, inspired by our gleaming red XUV500, one of the artists painted the XUV500 on a patachitra scroll. We could not have found a more unique souvenir.
Interestingly, the word Patachitra is derived from the Sanskrit language. Pata means cloth and Chitra means picture. It is a term given to the traditional, cloth-based scroll paintings of Orissa. On the other hand, Talpatri paintings are created on dried palm leaves (patri). Apart from paintings, as we walked around, the villagers also showcased their skills for making Tusser paintings, palm leaf engravings, masks, papier mache toys and toys made of cow dung.
Hospitality and commerce came together to satisfy our curiosity. Our stroll often came to a halt as locals warmly welcomed us into their homes in order to showcase their work to potential buyers. As we walked the streets, our photographer friends, Vibhor and Yash found abundant inspiration amidst the contrasting colors of the houses.
After a tour that left us full of creative energy, artists of the Gurukul handed out Patachitra paper, a type of paper that takes about 4 to 6 months just to make and we were immediately transported to our childhoods - laughing, drawing and painting together.
After enjoying a simple yet delicious meal prepared by the locals, we headed back to our convoy. It had been a long day and the sight of the welcoming, plush seats of our XUV500s brought a smile on our faces.