Hope you have enjoyed Part-1 and Part-2 of this series. Here we bring the last part of Odisha diaries. And soon Anushka will be back with more exciting PHOTO JOURNEYS. Don't forget to follow her on Instagram to know what she is exploring these days.
Day 5- Raghurajpur Village/Udyagiri Caves
One of our family friends who happens to be a journalist, mentioned Raghurajpur when we were planning Orissa in one of those drawing room conversations. He created a stunning imagery in my head and most obviously this was added on in our itinerary even before we had booked our tickets and hotels. Raghurajpur is a heritage crafts village in Puri district known for the Pattachitra painters, an art form which dates back to 5 BC. These pattachitra paintings are made over a piece of cloth known as ‘Patta’ or a dried palm leaf which is first painted with a mixture of chalk and gum. Over the prepared surface, colorful and intricate pictures of various Gods, Goddesses, and mythological scenes with ornamentation of flowers, trees and animals are then painted. Undeniably- this was my favorite experience on this trip. I had a firsthand opportunity to see the artists paint stunning and detailed paintings- day and night of untarnished labor and an impeccable display of fine arts passed through generations. Today, this is a dying art. There is no royal patronage or no benevolent art enthusiasts to support this dying art form. The houses are shabby and dilapidated yet painted in such stunning masterpieces only to tell a saga of our current state of cottage industries.
I bought a painting and a few other gifts from the Village, had a cup of tea with the artisan brothers and drove back to Puri to see the Udyagiri and Khadgiri caves, the oldest historical landmark that I have seen until today.
The caves are partly natural and partly artificial. It is believed that most of these caves were carved out as residential blocks for Jain monks during the reign of King Kharavela. Udayagiri means "Sunrise Hill" and has 18 caves while Khandagiri has 15 caves. You can take a little hike on these beautiful caves and old structures dating back almost 2200 years old! The brahmi inscription from 2nd century BCE from the reign of Raja Kharavela will blow your mind. Stay the evening and grab a tea from outside vendors and enjoy a stunning sunset from these hills! Beware of langurs who might snatch your cameras- they are a notorious tourist attraction in the area.
Power packed itinerary. We did a private darshan with the panda at Lingaraja and stared at the amorous love making between Shiva & Parvati at the Raja Rani Temple. Before we knew, it was time to hit the airport. Driving back we were joking and laughing about our trip to this scenic part of the country. To anyone with an appetite for history, architecture, culture and art- Orissa is highly recommended.