Kanchipuram Murals – An Artistic Sojourn

Every year millions of tourists, art connoisseurs and heritage enthusiasts visit Ajanta, the mural capital of India located in Sahyadri Hills of Maharashtra. The mural heritage of Ajanta was however short lived, thanks to the fall of Vakatakas and their patronage. The features that were laid in Ajanta was however found in full bloom in…

Osakothi Rituals in Ganjam – An Anthropological Journey

A story goes – On the way to heaven, the five Pandava brothers had rested on the veranda of a Brahmin’s house, where no woman was ever blessed with the birth of a child. Arjuna came forward to intervene. He erected a kothi and a chammundia (a temporary shelter) with the help of arrows. Through…

Travel through Digapahandi – Ganjifa’s Last Bastion

In some corner of my heart, I have developed special weakness for Khemundi, an erstwhile historic territory in South Odisha’s Ganjam and Gajapati Districts with Paralakhemundi as the capital. Here I was born close to 5 decades before in Chitrakara (Artisan) Street. Though I did not live here for longer stretch of times, I used…

Illustrating Ramayana Katha – Biranchi Narayan Temple at Buguda

Raja Srikar Bhanja of Ghumsar! History might have forgotten him, but his contribution to art and culture even today stuns visitors and art scholars alike. A distant relative of Kabi Samrat Upendra Bhanja, Srikar came to rule in 1790. However after ruling 9 years in 1799 he renounced to led the life of an ascetic…

Papier Mache – The Story of Odia Mukha and its Master Artisan

Imagine Odisha or in that matter rural India before economy was made open in 1990s and penetration of cheap Chinese goods in rural market. Imagine rural Odisha before the flooding of television channels’ cheap entertainment shows such as Sas Bahu and the spread of much hyped social media and free mobile phone entertainment. Festivals and…

Etching Krishna and his Childhood

Tall and short, the tree grows in abundance on coast of Odisha, both in cluster and in solitary.  It is one of the palm trees, in Odia called Tala Gachha. The tree may not have cultural or religious significance unlike the sacred banyan tree but its leaves are the most sought after material for creative…

Odisha’s Tulsi Chauras – Devotion in Terracotta

Oh Tulasi You who are beloved of Vishnu You who fulfil the wishes of the devout I will bathe you You are the mother of the world Give me the blessings of Vishnu   Oh Tulasi Within your roots are all sacred places of the world And inside your stem live all the Gods and…

Kala Bhoomi – The Soul of Utkala

‘Punjab, Sindh, Gujarat, Maratha Dravida, Utkala, Banga’ When Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore composed India’s national anthem he preferred the name Utkala, instead of Orissa, the anglicized name of Odisha or Kalinga, an ancient kingdom from the times of Ashoka. An art connoisseur and an artist himself, Tagore’s choice indicates his appreciation for Odisha’s unique art and…