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Debangana Sen Jul 19 2013

What are the famous handicrafts in Orissa?

Reema Bhalla Jul 19 2013
1 person found this answer useful Useful ?Yes

The excellence of the craftsmanship in the Konark, Jagannath and Lingaraj temples leave you wanting more. Fortunately, there is a long and rich tradition of handicrafts in Orissa, many of which survive and are available as decorative and utilitarian souvenirs in the tourist destinations in the state.

Stone carving
obviously occupies an important place in Orissa’s heritage. From highly decorative idols to utilitarian stone utensils, much is made with this centuries-old tradition. Soft soapstone and a hard stone called kochila are used to make reproductions of temple sculptures. Utensils are carved out of a semi grey stone. Look out for cups known as pathuri, said to be ideal for setting curd.

Photo of stone work in Konark Temple, Orissa

The finest and the most popular craft in the region, influenced by Orissa’s ancient maritime links, is the silver filigree work called tarakashi. This art is based on the process of drawing silver through consecutively smaller holes to produce fine strands of wire, which are shaped into different designs. Tarakashi products were once in great demand among royalty and merchants. Now the articles available — jewellery, tableware, models of temples — are more standardised but still exquisite.

Photo of Tarakashi

is a painting on specially treated cloth, depicting mythological themes, especially stories of Krishna and Lord Jagannath. This craft originated as a temple ritual and there is a tradition of pilgrims to Puri’s Jagannnath Temple carrying back pattachitras as religious mementoes. Besides pattachitras, the artists also make ganjifa cards.

Photo of Pattachitra

is an old card game played with circular playing cards. In Orissa there are 120 types of Dashavatara cards, based on Vishnu’s ten avatars. Pipli, a village on the Bhubaneswar- Puri Road (NH203; 15 km from Bhubaneswar), is famous for its applique work.

Photo of Ganjifa cards

In applique work, cloth is cut in the shape of decorative motifs like leaves, birds, animals and geometrical shapes and then stitched on to another piece of cloth. This craft is also intricately associated with temple rituals, used for making wall hangings of deities. Colourful, decorative handicrafts and utility items are also made.

Photo of Applique work

In textiles, ikat (locally called Cuttacki) from Sambalpur is the most famous. The word ikat has Javanese origins and speaks of Orissa’s old trading ties to the Indonesian archipelago. It is a tie-anddye technique in which sections of the yarn are knotted and dyed, before weaving them on the loom.

Photo of Ikat sarees

However, there still is gold embroidered work, horn articles (combs, pen stands etc.), solapith (soft wood sculpture) and many more famous handicrafts in Orissa to exclaim over.

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