In a wintery afternoon of February 2017, I had the opportunity to enter in to the Unit -1 market complex of Bhubaneswar. Being a Sunday, the market was teeming with all sort of visitors and buyers specially the children and women were found bustling with the vendors. The market had varieties of vending places of textile products, toys, baby dress, cosmetic, tea makers, besides series of big shops. The people were joyful and busy along with their family, friends, and children. I was also mingled with the bustling crowed and looking at different articles displayed by make-shift shops. As I was often reading the sign boards, my eyes suddenly caught a sign board “Utkalika” dealing with handloom product and crafts.
That attracted me to cross the crowed and reached the door step of the shop having a big glass door and a security. No sooner I entered inside, I saw the sales men and other were indulged in their respective work. The cabinets and racks were attractively displayed with handloom products.
As I enquired from a sales man where were the articles of handicrafts? As he directed, I went to 1st floor shop and perplexed to see the stock of crafts, the tidiness of floor and roof .The different types of crafts made out of different materials and certain purpose were nicely displayed in several sections like bamboo articles, terracotta, stonework, Dukra materials, painting, wooden carved materials, filigree etc. Bamboo articles are highly in demand because the materials give a natural texture. Varieties of terracotta articles are not only shiny but of different sizes, colour which attract the visitors. The statutes made out of stones of different hues. These are costly but worth keeping.
Dukura art is exclusively dealt by local artist which are decorative articles made out of an alloy of Brass, Nickel and Zink. Articles are so polished that glitter like gold. Art of painting, especially from Raghurajpur village is a time immemorial craft of Odisha which are made on a certain mix of colour and a theme.
Filigree is an art of preparing models, idols, and showpieces by entwining the silver wires, highly appreciable due to its hand work and designs. Horn articles are made out of horns by cutting and polishing them in to animal, bird, pots, flowers like structure. They look like lustrous materials. Besides the above, many attractive articles are found made of lime stone, marble and slate which are worth seeing The staffs are very courteous and cooperative. Facilities of Wifi, AC and acceptance of card are there. Export facility is provided.
I was very optimistic to make good of my rest of the day after visiting Pal height, a beautiful Mall within hundreds meter distance from Jayadev Vihar traffic point on way to Nandankanan Zoo, another must see place of Bhubaneswar. I moved from shop to shop which were having very good stock of garments, Saree, decorative articles, electronic gadget, even books store and restaurant. By the time I covered many a shops it was 3.30pm by my watch, so hurriedly I came out of the Mall but to my surprise I saw the awesome traffic moving in snail’s pace .
Then my movement was restricted to footpath only and remained watchful to get an auto for my next trip to Nandankanan. On a little distance from the footpath, shady trees were standing and as I glanced at the greenery, a tall gate with a sign board “Sudarshan Craft village”. My mind was changed, and then I started entering the gate.
Soon after I went few steps, I could not discern whether it was a farm house or really a gallery of stone works. Definitely one will see a gigantic stone carved statue of Buddha at this entrance. It was so impressive that made me to explore the segments and few sheds being store houses of stone arts under the grove. As I approached inside, I saw an old couple sitting and perhaps mingled in their own thought .Ignoring them I proceeded further and reached a spot where few granite carved statues of Ganesh were spectacular to look at. In the meanwhile, a trader came there and the same old man was his attraction being the owner and internationally acclaimed sculptor.
With his permission I got a chance to enter into the real treasure stock of various stone arts The statues are made out of granite, marble, pink stone, sand stone, various forms of god and goddess are priority among them, but many decorative stone articles of lion, elephant, are no less in their look. Skeleton Bhuddha statue was really astounded.
Mostly the workers were tenacious and sincere as understood from a worker found engaged on a white stone though he was looking white being covered with white powder. The owner was so polite and simple having such intrinsic merit. The place gives a look of small village with sheds, cows, small pond etc where the workers stay happy and the statues are great witness to it.
It remains life time memory of great stone art and craft yard in Bhubaneswar.
This shop is one of the oldest handicrafts shops in BJB Nagar, Bhubaneswar. It was established in the year 1989 to provide the visitors with unique handicrafts produced in Odisha and to be one point destination for selling handmade crafts. The shop might be old but the exhibits for sale look refreshing and lively. I wonder, “How can our two hands be so creative?” To me hands can be used for creating such a masterpiece out of a single stone is beyond my imagination.
I didn’t have any hardships in finding the shop as it is well known in BJB Nagar. At the entrance, my eyes were surprised to see a life-size structure of Buddha accompanied by Goddess Durga and two horses. It seemed as if the two horses are just waiting for the permission to march into the freedom of infinity. I could hardly think of anything else in my mind. My eyes were busy watching the excellent sculpture works of artisans from Odisha. For a movement, I was engrossed with the beautiful statues. My meditation was broken by the welcoming gesture of the salesman in the shop.
The warm smile from the shopkeeper made me more comfortable to move around the shop. I was able to collect a lot of information from him. He is not an artisan but friendly with each and every product displayed in the shop. Never before, I had seen so many Shiva Lingas made of stone and properly lined up with minute precision. Not only God Shiva but I could also see magnificent statues of God Ganesha and Goddess Saraswati. Sometimes the creations look prettier than the creator. Almost everything was accurately and carefully stacked inside the shop.
One can get palm leaves inscriptions, traditional paintings, pots made of clays; statues made of sandstone, pink stone or granite and etc. Even I could catch some small miniature human beings and animals made of brass metal. Lots of hard work is required to produce one excellent piece of work. The artisan has to cut each and every single line and curve with geometrical precision. I think the handicrafts are priceless but it was pasted with some price tags. It varies from INR 1000-INR 50,000. I wish to become a sculptor and create such valuable piece of art.
Continuing my journey to explore the best handicraft emporium in Bhubaneswar was very rewarding for me. Not only are they treasure trove of the art of Odisha but also resembles the roots of the state. Very rarely we come across such handicrafts which are kept as a showpiece in our drawing rooms. My next destination took me to Ganesh Handicraft, a very well structured and furnished shop.
It wouldn’t be difficult for a visitor to find a handicraft shop as the front part of the shop is displayed with many life-size statues.
In this shop, I got the honor to meet a renowned artisan and owner of the shop, Mr. Sarat Chandra Maharana. He not only made me familiar with the advantages and disadvantages faced in this industry but also described some of the statues with an experts view. He pointed me the small structures which were not visible with just one look. I had never dreamed of miniature carvings in a small statue. He also narrated me the various types of orders completed by him for various big hoteliers and others.
Even you are not there to buy anything but also a window shopping will not disturb the shop inhabitants. Rather they will be happier to make you comfortable to move inside the shop. When I saw the Pattachitra’s nicely placed against the wall of the shop, I was bewildered. Such an excellent piece of art; it can easily divert the attention of the visitor for hours. At the first look, you can recognize some characters in the painting but a closer look will help you in meeting other miniature characters. Everything was very neatly placed in each corner of the shop.
A big dilemma is there in my mind, how a human being could create such beautiful paintings of God and Goddesses. My imagination drifted me to next level, if creating a statue requires such patience and focus than for the creation of human beings, God must have spent years. The shop will serve for all your needs dealing with handicrafts. The shop keepers were friendly enough to assist you on call. Apart from statues and paintings, I could also find wood carvings; small boxes made of golden grass and many others. I had a good experience in this emporium.
There are many places in Bhubaneswar which sell handicrafts. To select the best among them is like sacrificing the good ones to get the best . People always try to flock to the city on Sunday, being a holiday. One place which I couldn’t afford to miss is Ekamra Haat. It can be very well described as a combination of beautiful landscapes, handicraft shops, and eateries. When I entered the Haat it was bustling with the crowd.
The reason being, it is squeezed between the exhibition ground and nearby temples. It’s certainly the place where you can sit on the elevated grounds filled with grass and gaze into the open sky. Traditional handicrafts of Odisha with mouth-watering food served in restaurants make it an ideal choice for shopping and relaxing.
As the time was around 2.30 pm, some of the shopkeepers were taking their lunch and others were busy in an afternoon fiesta. So, I decided to just roam around this large compound and decipher its nooks and corners. Some people were busy celebrating the second Sunday of New Year. It reminded me of my college days when I used to celebrate my New Year at this place. The charm of the place is still magnetic and is getting better day by day.
I could spot a lone shopkeeper ready for the new customers. With a warm smile, he welcomed me inside the shop. He started displaying the various paintings to me done on canvas. I also came to know the technique of making good paintings. When I enquired, how he had such a vast knowledge on this paintings? He replied, “I am also a painter.” I was so baffled, to find an expert salesman and artist in front of me. Various painters and artisans are allotted different shops here. The shops are small but the handicrafts displayed are big and attractive.
There are many shops inside the Ekamra Haat, giving varied options to the visitors. Appliqué, brass works, wood carvings, palm leaf engravings and masks of different shapes and size will fill the bucket list. As the sun wasn’t bright enough, one could easily relax under the lush greenery at this place. I wanted to spend more time here but my search for other handicraft emporiums motivated to move on and on.
Photos copyright @Indiatweets