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Tuesday, 5 March 2013

TRAVEL: India Part V

Raghurajpur is a crafts village in Orissa.

Here live and work the Chitrakara, a caste of craftsmen who have been in Orissa since the mid-16th Century.

Thanks to the State Government, there has been revival of traditional mural paintings, the colourful Pattachitra paintings, palm-leaf engraving and painting and exuberant papier mache toys.  The village is a tranquil place and its people charming.

Washing drying on the river bank close to Raghurajpur

Tribals in Orissa are ten percent of the population of over forty million. In the state capital, Bhubaneswar, there is a Tribal Museum [Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Research and Training Institute].  The Government has schemes to preserve and improve the lives of some sixty tribes, each with different traditions and forms of worship - they have names like BONDA, KADHA, CHUKTIA BHUNJIA, LANJA SAORA, LODHA DIDAYN, JUANG AND SAORA.

At Bhubaneswar in Orissa [Odisha] is the ancient tank [pond] of the Lingaraj Temple, known as Bindusagar, on whose West bank has been created a remarkable garden with all the plants and trees mentioned in Indian mythology which are, to this day, used in ayurvedic medicine.  It is called the Ekamravan Medicinal Plant Garden and is the brain child of my friend, the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.  All the plants are aromatic, all the paths and walls are made of laterite and sandstone - both local stones - and there are inset carvings of great refinement. It is a place of enchantment.  The path edging the water is to be extended all around the tank, making a unique promenade with views of the temples - lucky Orissians.

The 13th Century Konark Sun Temple, Orissa

Orissa papier mâché…. a leopard and  a tiger have entered my London house

A shawl from Orissa , India

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