Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Reghurajpur, or Artist's Village. Odisha. ( former Orissa)

Reghurajpur, or Artist's Village. 

A traveler to Odisha, normally first goes to Bhubaneswar, and from there travels on to Puri or the Sun temple, and ends their journey there.  Generally, mention Orissa.. and it is the sun temple that comes to a malayali's mind.. In the same way, I too wandered around Puri and Konark. But my travel wasn't that of a tourist. I was just a traveler. I could direct my bike anywhere I wanted to. Wherever I went, as far as it was possible to, I distributed notices that  I was carrying with me. The notices had the message, 'Stop Child Abuse"  on them. (This time, in Hindi.) 

In Odisha, there were some places that I had planned to visit from the onset. (I will talk about that an other time.) 

I had shortlisted some roads and places not usually covered by a traveler from Kerala. But there was a name that evaded me. A place that I had come across in a Hindi channel.  However much I treid, I couldn't recollect the name of the place. A google search wasn't possible.. as internet connection was often disrupted during travel.  The night that I reached Odisha, I called up my friends and writer Veenadevi Meenakshi and mentioned the matter. The encyclopedia had the answer ready.  " Reghurajpur," she said.

Reghurajpur is in Puri district.  Along Bhuvaneswar - Puri route, 14 km before one reaches Puri, there is a small place called Chandanpur. One will find the place only if one searches for it by name.
There, on the left side stands the only hotel in Chandanpur. [there, we get lunch served on plates made of round shaped leaves stitched together.)
From Chandanpur, if one takes the road that lies to the left, and travel 4 kms, we will reach Chandanpur bazaar. That is the  place where one can get meat, fish, vegetables..  A very colorful place.
Leaving the market  crowd and its tumults behind, if one travels forward 2 km more, there is a road that turns right.  Go on forward, beyond that road, and you might feel as if was old world Kerala; uprooted and replanted there! A place of scenic natural beauty .
Again 'Tenzing'  surged forward....
The very famous Bhargavi river flows through this area. And we come across places that brings to mind the picturesque scenes from the novel, Malgudi days.

Occasionally passing small rivers and canals on the way I came across a board that said, 'This way, to Reghurajpur' .

Again, turning right, I moved forward. A small pathway through coconut groves.
As one went along that way..  a tower came into view.  Made up works of art. It kept growing larger as I rode forward and nearer.
Going through that archway, one enters a completely different world!!!
A world that is, oh..  so different from anything you would ever have seen.
Many houses lined the street that lay in front.  Each house with different artwork done on it.  Different forms and styles of painting, different methods.....!
That is a sight one has to see with one's own eyes.

A social map of Reghurajpur village. A contribution from an artist who lives there.

The painting here depicts different scenes from the Bhagawat Gita
Reghurajpur. The front face of a house there.

A small complete village made up of mural paintings. Each different.
Each person here is an artist. father, mother, son , daughter.. each and everyone.. an artist.
Each house decorated with paintings by those who lived there.

Even as I had passed the arch and got in, many people had come running forward.
With all the paraphernalia I carried, I must have been a strange sight indeed.
They were looking at me with some wonder and curiosity.
Noticing the number plate.. someone asked, ' aap Keral se aaya'..  [are you coming from Kerala]  
Yes.. this was the AAp parcel from Kerala, I joked.

 Got acquainted with each person who came to greet me.. Every single one of them, an artist.
One of them said that he had come to Kochi, and that he had done mural paintings at some hotels there.

Saying that I would see  them later, I told them that I would talk to them in detail after a round of the village on the bullet.
I set up Gopro and went forward.
In 5 minutes, the whole village was captured in the cam.

Then, from the group of young men that had greeted me first,  one person came near and said he would show me the place in detail. He kept his word and did exactly that. He took me to each house there.

The young man who took me around the village.
Here, when the young man helped with the gopro. He too is a good painter. The painting on the wall beside, is the oldest painting in the village. Almost more than a 100 years old. It is unique in that it has been made with vegetable juices.  

This, is the  creative place of the young man above.
This is how it looks from inside. 
And, the person at work there is his elder brother.
Everyone there is a traditional artist. There were those who  drew/sketched/painted.. those who wrote, those who sang, ...  all gathered together in one rare and special village.
The total number of houses there, was below 100.
While some did mural work, others painted on fabrics. some on palm leaves, other leaves.. on walls,,, and so on...... art and pictures created in many different ways.

By the time I finished visiting all the homes there, and it was evening..  I had become familiar to all of them. Like a friendly familiar neighbor.  

Everyone invited me to the next celebration and festival.
Even if not on a bike, , I would go there and stay with them for  a couple of days. I gave my word.
Bought many paintings..    and along with Tenzing .. towards the next destination.........

More pictures below. 

A young artist occupied with her mural work..... and along with the cameraman, 
a mad man :):)
The home of the wedding card designer.

 The color combination, that cycle and the picture  I somehow liked it very much. 

Isn't there a beauty in even how the cycle has been placed.
The backside of a house. 

The friend here opened up a world of  paintings to me.. 
That one can never have enough of.
Various and  beautiful to behold.. 
Now, for some works of art from the village.

This work here is special  silk,  dried.. and painted on with specially created colors. 
That is what they said.
And, all I know about it. If anyone has more information, please enlighten. 

 This is a work I liked very much. Bought it and brought it home.
Because it was a purchase without an intermediary .. and maybe because they considered me  as  theirs, they  took very little as its cost. .. a couple of mural works, a few embroidery works, were all gifted to me.
very kind of them.


  1. Hussain ikka u r really great and ur writings all are inspiring me a lot to travelling across india by my tensing

  2. Hussain ikka u r really great and ur writings all are inspiring me a lot to travelling across india by my tensing