7 Odia Handicrafts You Probably Never Knew About!

Did you know? The business owner and the business are two separate entities. Don’t we, the commerce students know that? But some things are just inseparable. Like, Odisha and its ultra rich handicrafts. These are both a part of one parent, LEGACY! With this preposterous.

By Aug 25,2012  19

Did you know?

The business owner and the business are two separate entities. Don’t we, the commerce students know that? But some things are just inseparable. Like, Odisha and its ultra rich handicrafts. These are both a part of one parent, LEGACY! With this preposterous introduction let us move into more real stuff.

Every part of Odisha smells of unadulterated culture.The whole stretch of Odisha has an exquisite line of handicrafts. And each piece of that meticulously designed art tells us a story. A story that’s nothing short of a documentary! From the North Odisha to the Southern Part, from the easternmost region to the westernmost region, Odisha flaunts thousands of such stories!

This is not a story to celebrate what is already celebrated. This song is about the unsung. The rich handicrafts of Odisha is not limited to Pattachitras, pipili or Silver filigree. These are the most celebrated ones and are best identified with Odisha. But our job here is to show what Odisha handicrafts actually look like.

Here are a few of those unsung handicrafts of our state which we ought to know, and share. Its a list of my personal favorites here.

Dhokra Casting: A mere alloy of brass and bell metal coupled with the skill of the artisans produces amazing pieces of art. These are mainly made in Khurda,Puri, Dhenkanal and Ganjam. The Dhokra art generally symbolizes folk culture and requires a lot of patience. Next time you see a tall golden man with extra long legs do enquire, it might just be a masterpiece by one of our tribes.

Golden Grass work: Another piece of real beauty. It surely would not have missed your eye so far. Ever seen the golden yellow baskets, boxes or coasters? Golden grass products are extremely loved amongst all the people irrespective of gender or generation. Sometimes the artisans come up with brilliant designs with this grass which makes them a ‘must have’ for the perfect ethnic look of your room.

Horn Works: The products of Parlakhemundi, these are exquisitely designed artifacts made up of animal horns. The inception of this art has been more than a century ago and its popularity has only grown year after year. Many utility as well as decorative things are made in this form and mostly the finished products look like the filmfare lady. Black and beautiful!

Lacquer Toys: Lacquer is nothing but the refuse of insects which are collected by the tribal women and then colour is mixed in Balasore and many other areas nearby and the final product is given out for sale. This turns out to be a tremendous show of creativity with various geometric and religious patterns on it.

Tassar Painting: The brilliance of paint on silk and the stories and intricate designs exhibited through that, weaves a spell and sweeps you off your feet. This unparalleled work of beauty is famous and is produced largely from a village called Raghurajpur,near Puri. Raghurajpur is an arts village and deserves a visit from all of us! It houses many artisans and has a story in every household! Tasser Paintings from this village are exported all over and are considered as a highly valued piece of art.

Papier Mache: A magnificent show of artwork by the artisans does make wonders! This art form actually converts waste paper and waste materials into these unbelievably beautiful relics. Mostly done in areas around Puri, Papier mache art is slowly losing out on its popularity, mostly due to poor advertisement!

Palm leaf Art: This is another of our exquisite and rich forms of art still practiced in some parts of Odisha. The ‘jataks’ or the destiny papers are made up of this and are preserved for generations. Many more utility products are actually etched in palm leaf and shown as a skilled man’s flawless talent! It is one of our oldest traditional arts

These are the less famous handicrafts which are equally beautiful and equally worthy of sharing. The artisans who have kept this rich heritage alive so far are now facing a dearth of promoters. Imagine some things so beautiful, so internationally acceptable are in the dark because of lack of promoters!! In this era, where everyone practically lives on the Web, we say there aren’t enough people to promote Odisha. Yeah, right! What can be worse than Odias not knowing about the richness Odisha possess. Thus we, have taken this small step to promote this amongst the youth.

If someone is interested to have a look at these or find out more about it where does he/she go? Don’t tell me that you don’t know. Ask Googleshwar baba, he knows everything. Plus, there’s this really useful place for us. Next time you visit Market Building, Bhubaneswar ask for a shop called ‘Utkalika’. It lies on your left when you enter from the Rajmahal side and is one of the first few shops. This place has been established by the government for the promotion of these ancient artworks. They ensure that the artisans and the customers get a fair value for the authentic product. Utkalika has its branches in most parts of Odisha and in other cities as well.

This is the story we want to share today. For Odisha and for Art’s sake, we can’t let it die. Not for our ignorance! As my sister says, “You don’t realize the actual value now. But you will, once you see a Patta Chittra adorning someones wall in New York or the Paper Mache toy beautifying a foreigner’s living area! And then is when you proudly say ‘Hey! I hail from the land where these things are made’. That’ll be the ‘Odia moment’ in your life!”

Story by: Sourav Panda.
Sourav is an intern with the Broken Scooter.


Nukkad Natak


A Slut?

  • If some of you already knew that these handicrafts qualify as such profound and globally demanded subjects then great! We are proud of you! Share and let others also know of this TREASURE!

  • anshuman mohapatra

    awesome work…this is something that our people must know and should propagate in their pages so that they can be a via-media in this constructive and informative project about our own land.

  • ofcourse we know about it :/ If odiya people dont know these basic craft works then what do they know!

  • These are available everywhere, at least in the capital city. Most State handicraft exhibition displays these crafts. How come Odiya people don’t know about it! :/ Shadow leather puppet, Metal work of south Odisha, Solo work of puri are the areas you should document. The writer needs to add his/her words a little more appropriately and research well too.

    Dont mislead with such article headings. A lame article because of that.

    • Tanuja: Thanks for your valuable words.
      ‘Available everywhere- atleast in the capital city’? Odisha and the readership of TBS isn’t limited to just the capital city.The reason state handicraft association exhibits these crafts is because they need promotion. Now, how many of us(the youth) visit these exhibitions? You might be a regular visitor,but statistics fail to establish the footfall of young people. Thus, this article was an initiative,however small, to spread awareness among those unaware of these crafts. For the people who knew, I had posted a comment. Please go through that if you have time.
      The above mentioned handicrafts are my favourite and I felt these are as marketable as they are aesthetic. You may write about the shadow leather puppets used in Ravana Chaya or the puppets used as Kundhei or about your views of the other ‘lesser’ known craft works in Odisha in another article and I would love to read and share that.

      Nevertheless, I am sorry if you felt the title of the article was misleading and the article, a waste of time!

  • Mehak

    Aah!Thank you for this article.I have been exposed to these handicrafts but did not know what they were called or where they were from.

    Keep up the good work 🙂

  • Good work BrokenScooter team. I really admire Odisha handicraft and that is the reason thought of starting a venture to promote Odia handicraft in front of a larger audience, but the irony of the story is i am not able to reach to the proper artists for sourcing. If you can help us in spreading the word in Odisha among different artists then it would be great.

    • Hello!
      Thanks for your appreciation!
      I shall let you know if we can help you in any way.

  • The article is informative and well written. But u left sumthng out: Saura paintings, considered to be a form of rare Indian art and handicraft..ld be glad if u write sumthng about it. Thanx 🙂

  • Santosh K. Patra

    Hi Sourav,

    A quite informative piece of writing.

    One correction though. When you enter the market from Rajmahal square(ie Rajmahal square is behind you), Utkalika is on your RIGHT HAND SIDE. On your left there is a petrol bunk behind a row of small shops.


  • Anagha paul

    I am crazy after indigenous handicraft,textile,art and even objects of utility.already planned to visit Odisha in coming December.will explore all these places and things.thankyou for providing such valuable information.

  • Ashish

    Great work. I really appreciate the patriotism you carry for Odisha in your heart. Its rare to find the love for the great artistic culture of our state. I’m a Management trainee and working to publish a paper on Odia artisans and Odia handicrafts. Hope to get some help from you.

  • Ashish

    Really waiting an extended helping hand from your side(on my email).

  • pravati

    I am in US. I grew up in Odisha, so I would like import Dhokra and Horn items. How do I get a list suppliers?

  • Odisha E Store

    Our Online store is the leading online store of Odisha. Buy Odia books, handicrafts, handloom, Odia music & videos, Tribal products of Odisha online

    Visit http://www.odishaestore.com/

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