Situated on the southern bank of river Bhargavi and surrounded by coconut, palm, mango, jackfruit groves and other tropical trees, Raghurajpur, a small village in Puri district of Orissa, occupies a unique place in the cultural map of India. The village is inhabited by artisans producing sheer poetry on pieces of treated cloth, dried palm leaf or paper.
Besides producing these unique works of art, this village has a living tradition of performing art known as Gotipua, the earlier form of Odissi. Guru Kelu Charan Mohapatra, an exponent of Odissi dance, was born in this village and had his early trainings in Gotipua tradition here. Now a Gotipua Gurukul Dance School has been established here under the guidance of Guru Maguni Charan Das. The trainees of this school present their performances in different cultural events, in India and abroad.
The government of India has selected Raghurajpur village for the promotion or rural tourism in the country as a part of a program to highlight tourism potential of villages. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) takes an active part in this initiative as part of it’s Endogenous Tourism Project (ETP).
all images © Sephi Bergerson / UNDP India