Orissa treasures an opulent artistic heritage that has specimens from the temple architecture as well as the edifices. Due to the reigns of many different rulers in the past, the culture, arts and crafts of the state underwent many changes, imitations, assimilations and new creations, from time to time.
Skillful artists and craftsmen of Orissa still maintain their native art by continuously processing it to adapt to a changing taste. Be it the applique artists of Pipli or the stone carvers of Orissa, imperious progeny of artist hands carve the magnificent patterns and designs on Orissa’s most renowned temples.
The hereditary skills of artists has bequeathed traditional Orissan arts and crafts like weaving of Ikat, Bomkai and Sambalpuri Sari. Stone carving, applique and embroidery are equally famous, silver filigree work, palm leaf incised design, metal work, lacquered craftsmanship all have acquired a unique place worldwide. Glimpses of the craft technologies that date back over several thousand years can be had from the shop windows of Bhubaneswar. A visit to the Raghurajpur artists’ village and Pipli, near Puri, is definitely a revising experience.
Wherever one goes in Orissa, one can find almost the entire range of arts and crafts in the market places of the main towns and cities. Co-operative societies have played an important role in preserving the rich craft heritage of the State by ensuring easy access to customers and thus sustaining a continuous demand for products. But perhaps the secret of Orissa’s crafts lies in their fascinating combination of beauty and utility-a tribute to the vision of the craftsmen. Instead of being merely decorative reminders of another age, the crafts of Orissa are gloriously alive-suited to modern tastes and yet retaining all the essential traditional links with a checkered past.