theindialog

October 9, 2009

Raghurajpur — The Village of Artists

Filed under: Economics,Leisure,Orissa — loggers @ 6:55 pm

On our way back from Puri to Bhubaneshwar, we decided to 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.

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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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1 Comment »

  1. As we saw at a lot of places in Leg 1, and maybe you encountered thereafter, a lot of local places visited by the loggers are unfamiliar to the urban Indian. Raghurajpur is one of them. Yet, we find foreigners flaunting to them. What mode of communication advertises such a place to a person in Europe who doesnt speak a single Indian language, but cant find a large enough Indian audience from even a two state distance.

    Also, what can be done about this –
    1. By the government?
    2. By an NGO looking to promote India?
    3. By a business opportunist?

    Comment by Yash — October 14, 2009 @ 3:08 pm | Reply


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