Art and Culture of Puri

Puri is one of four Dhaams as per the Hindu mythology due to the presence of the Jagannath Temple at the heart of the city which increases the cultural importance of the Puri. Puri is also famous for the beaches along with a long list of temples that makes it a richer city in terms of culture and heritage. The culture of Puri is based on the Jagannath Culture which is believed to be carved out of several Indian cultures also with the Vaishnavism. The culture of Puri is also reflected by the list of festivals that take place in the city. These festivals also portray the strong religious character of the entire district of Puri. Ratha Yatra - The Car Festival, Chandan Yatra and the Snana Yatra are some of the significant festivals of Puri which brings the spiritual Diasporas among the people of the city and also millions who visit Puri during this period. The art, crafts, handicrafts, handlooms and architecture of Puri also demonstrate the temple culture.

Art and Culture of Puri

Culture of Puri

The cultural history of Puri is believed to be of 3rd century old and it has been the most diversified cultures of country. The historical monuments of Puri and the lifestyle of people residing in Puri have a great traditional background which is said to be connected with the Jagannath Culture. Indeed Puri is considered one of the cultural heritages of Odisha. Puri is one of the fascinating littoral districts of Odisha. The district of Puri being a Hindu dominated district and also a religious place of Hindus, witness a communal harmony in the followers of all other religion. During the world famous Rath Yatra of Puri, people of all religion irrespective of their castes and creed take part in the holy festival. There are several Hindu monuments located in the city of Puri which are also visited by several other community people. Likewise there are also the Muslim festivals such as the Eid and Muharrum which is also celebrated by both the communities with the same level of enthusiasm.

Festivals Celebrated in Puri

Mostly all the cultural events of Puri seem to rotate around the legendary Lord Jagannath Temple of Puri. The world famous and heritage site of Konark Sun temple is another spectacular location for tourists and it demonstrates the one of the oldest monuments of Odisha as well as India. The gala celebrations of the Puri Beach Festival also take place on the coast of the Bay of Bengal on the golden Sea beach of Puri which is another awe inspiring event. The festival is most enjoyed by the art lovers across the world and the portrayal of the fine arts along with the talented dancers. The beach festival gives a platform to the talented artists of the place and also to the artist who visit here to perform.

Dance, Music and Art of Puri

The Performing Arts
The world famous Odissi Dance form is another hallmark of the Puri’s cultural legacy. It is an art that has been perfected over the years. Presently this dance form has been transformed onto very much elegant and a much more matured form and it also believed that the Odissi dance form was previously being performed by the Deadasi of the temples s it is one of the most loved form of dances of Lord Jagannath. There are several other form of folk dances being performed which has an influences of the historical dance forms of Naga dances and the Medha dances. The world famous Gotipua dances is also believed to have its roots in the city of Puri. Several others famous forms of dances that are performed since past are the Bhalunacha dance form, Pala Natya, and the Navarang dance forms, which are some of the most famous dance forms and performing arts of Puri.

Patta-Chitra Paintings
Patta-Chitra paintings are the folk paintings of Odisha known for its great history and also for being the most antiques among all other form of paintings done. The Patta-Chitra Paintings portrays the usage of very hard lines along with the combination of sparkling colors. The paintings of Patta-Chitra have their connections with the historical Kalinga dynasty of around 5th century BC. These are the paintings which are termed to be religious and also cover the theme of the events that have occurred in the past and are mentioned in the books of history. These incidents from the history and Puranas are picked and used as paintings on the silk or on the cotton glued paper.

These paintings of Patta-chitra is also done on the special cloth which the artisans prepare by coating them with a mix up of glue made up of tamarind seeds and chalk in order to bring out a surface of a leather type material with which the artisans paint. The Painting of Patta-chitra is done by using the paint brushes along with a combination of both, clay and powder which is derived from a stone which is rich in iron oxide and it is extracted by cutting a pattern on the raw pottery using some objects like combs or knife etc. A village near Puri named Raghurajpur is said to be the home to several artisans involved in the Patta-chitra work and the village is very much popular and have turned out to be a place of tourism to which people from every corner of world visit.

The Palm Leaf Painting
The palm leaf painting of Puri is considered as one of the treasured decorations. The palm leaf paintings are an art form known for the inscribed letters and the artistic designs being made on the leaf of palm. The palm leaf is initially cut in the shapes which are standardized and are detained jointly with two of the plank covers made of wood and then at the centre of it a hole is being carved. The unripe palm leaves are initially cut and then semi-dried in order to make them usable before being set for the paint work to be done on it. Later on the leaves of Palm are then buried under the swamps for a span of four to five days and then are dried under the shade.

After that the process of stitching starts accordingly. Rarely does it happen that these are stitched after the completion of etching is done. By using a pen made up of iron the process of etching is done on the lines of the leaves. A glue made up of the charcoal of burnt shells of the coconuts, bean leaves, turmeric and til oil are pasted on the etching which are the main attractions of the figures. There are no colors used as such and whatever is used are in subdued tones. For painting purpose vegetable and mineral colors are used.

Several topics are used as paintings on the palm leaves which includes the incidents which are mentioned as legends, figures of God and Goddess with each and every minute detains of their hairs, expressions of eyes, dressing are also being chosen as the theme of paintings. Trees, plants flowers and animals are also the inspirations to craft them as theme for the paintings. The image of Lord Krishna, Goddess Saraswati, Goddess Durga, Lord Ganesha and many such are also taken as theme for the paintings to be done on the palm leaves.

Appliqué Art Work
The world famous Appliqué Art Work is a form of art which deals with of decorating a piece of cloth by using pieces of glasses purposefully made to be used in decorating. It also has several other tools used to decorate the cloth which are the metals pieces, gemstones of different colors, wooden pieces of tiny size, pieces of colored cloth etc. Appliqué done along with fabrics involves placing a layer of fabric on the other and then sewing it. The items used in the Appliqué Art Work such as the metal pieces, glass pieces or the colored gemstones are also stitched on the fabric in the similar way.

It is believed that Lord Jagannath has a deep connection with the Appliqué Art Work. There are several traditions and rituals that are attached with Lord Jagannath which are being fulfilled by the art work of Appliqué. It is a form of art performed basically by a particular caste of professional tailors which are also called Darji. In the olden days the art work of Appliqué was used by the kings and royal people and it was also a symbol of pride.

Sand Art
It is a unique type of art form which is known worldwide which is developed at Puri. Carving a sand sculpture, requires only clean sand mixed in water. With the help of this type of sand and with the blessings of God and by the magic of figures, artists carve beautiful and attractive sculptures on the beach side of Puri. The stone sculpturing is treated as the first step of sand art. The carving on sand is more easier and quicker than carving on a rigid stone With the developments in tourism sector, this wonderful art form also receives a high prestige and popularity.

In the other art forms, the stone architecture, shell crafts and fine and depict the diverse cultural heritage of the ancient town of Puri. It is believed that even a single visit to this holy city of Puri opens up a treasure trove of cultural delights for tourists. The commonly spoken language of Puri is Odiya, and it is also the official language being used for all the government affairs. Hindi, Bengali, English are also spoken and understood widely in Puri.
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