Art and Craft

Sambalpuri Saree: the pride of Odisha


Bhubaneswar: Sambalpuri Saree is a traditional hand woven Saree where in the warp and the wefts are tie-dyed before weaving. Produced in Bargarh, Sonepur, and Sambalpur and nearby districts of Odisha, Sambalpuri Saree is a traditional female garment in the Indian family which is 4 to 9 meters in length that is draped over the body in various styles. This is not only liked by the women of Odisha but also liked by everyone in India and also in World. Just like the Bollywood actresses including Kajol, Aishwarya Ray Bachhan and Hollywood actresses Anjolina Joli and Madonna wear this Saree.

Due to demand of this Saree many popular politicians also wear this Saree. This Saree was gifted to Late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi inside a bamboo pool due to its softness, smoothness and unique handwork. The former President of India Prativa Singh Patil and Congress leader Sonia Gandhi also like to wear this Saree.

Today the Bandha fabric is popularly known by its geographical and cultural name Sambalpuri owing to the pioneering efforts of Sri Radhashyam Meher, who brought about a radical improvement in the skills of the craftsmen and the quality of the products. Other master craftsmen who contributed to the development of Sambalpuri textiles were 'Padmaahree Kunja Bihari Meher’, 'Padmasree Chaturbhuja Meher', 'Padmashree Krutartha Acharya'. In the year 1954 many weavers from Baragarh, Sohela, Atabira and Bijepur organised Sambalpur Cooperative committee in which above 700 peoples joined. Now-a-days this Saree is very popular among all. For this the culture and tradition of Western Odisha became very popular.

This Saree totally based on Indian thread. So it is best for human body. These Sarees are known for their Traditional subject like Sankha, Chakra, flowers etc. all of which have deep symbolism, but the highpoint of these Sarees is the tradition craftsmanship of the Bandhakala. In this technique the threads are first tie dyed and later woven in to a fabric with the entire process taking many weeks.

The varieties of the Sambalpuri Saree include Sonepuri, Pasapalli, Bomkai, Barpali and Bapta Sarees which are in high demand. Sambalpuri Sarees which are also in variety colours and traditional symbols inspired by nature are the most popular among the people. These Sarees are famous for their unique designs and beautiful colors. Sambalpuri cotton Sarees have a smooth finish and have a distinctly original border and pallu.


Reported by
Pragnya Priyadarshini Saraf

 

Music of Odisha


The treatise of Bharata, a pioneer of music and dance in India refers to the musical tradition od Odra substantiated by archaeological finds from the times (1st Century BC) of Chedi dynasty. The innumerable sculptures of the the walls of temples from 6th century AD to 13th century AD testify to the glorious tradition of music and its patronage by successive kingdoms in Odisha.

The Classical Odissi Music owes much to the great Saint poet, Jayadeva, whose highly lyrical Geet Govind, composed in Sanskrit in the 12th Century was ritually sung in many of these temples. By the 15th Century instead of Sanskrit, Odia language was being used for literary works and the poetry developed on the love theme of Radha and Krishna. The musical forms like Chhanda, Chautisa, Champu, Chaupadi, Bhajan, and Janana had developed.    The period between 16-19th century under the local patronage saw great composers of lyrical music based on raga (tune) and tala (beat).  Treatises on music like Sangitarnava, Chandrika, Gita Prakasha, Sangita Kalpalata, Sangita Sarani and Sangita Narayana were compiled.

Odissi music is an exemplary combination of classical Hindustani and Carnatic music. It is a synthesis of four forms of music- dhruvapada,chitrapada,chitrakala and panchal. The dhruvapada is the first line or lines to be sung repeatedly. The Chitrakala is the use of art in music. Kabi Surya Baladev Rath, the renowned Odia Poet was an exponent of Chitrakala form of music. The other important exponents of Odissi music are chhanda, combines bhava (theme),kala (time), and swara (tune). A distinguish feature of Odissi music is the padi which consists of words to be sung in druta tala (fast beat); others include navatala (nine beats), dashatala (ten beats) and egara tala (eleven beats). Thec ragas of Odissi music differ from those of Hindustani and Carnatic music, the Chief Odissi ragas are kalyana, nata, shree gowda, baradi, panchama, dhanashri, bhairavee, shokabaradi and darnata.

Reported by
Abhishek Mohanty
Special Correspondent

 

Golden Grass


Odisha is a land of culture , art , and , beauty. It is famous in the world for its hand crafts.

It is believed that the crafts men of odisha have magical powers in their hands.  The crafts made by them are very popular and precious. The workers are very hard working and they have dedicated their whole life to make the art and culture of odisha to survive. They are the persons who give us a reason  to feel proud in the world for our art and culture. But today they are struggling for their lively hood. Most of them belong to the below poverty line catagory. so we can imagine the struggle they are doing  to live and make the art and culture survive.

Here comes a story of such great crafts men who are fighting against the fate for the glory of our culture. We are talking about the craftsmen of kamagad panchayat which comes under jajpur district of odisha. A  survay says that about 500 families are in the business of making beautiful crafts from GOLDEN GRASS called as ‘kaincha’ for about sixty years. They are renowned in the world for their beautiful crafts made out of golden grass.they have chosen it as their as their livelyhood since 1962. Even from the small kids to the elder ones every one is very skilled to make beautifull acessories with the golden grass. They make variety of acessories like matresses , flower pots, table chair , stands and many more. The products are not only look beautiful but also very strong and usable.  But this ancient art is dieing  nowadays because of little money involved in the business.The workers collect golden grass in the month of august from Rathia , Panchupandav , and Balichandrapur. And after drying them they starts the weaving work.

There was a time when 500 families of kamagad panchayat were in this business but in todays scenario only 40 to 50 families are remaining  who take it as their livelyhood. Todays generation is running after western culture so they are loosing interest in this beautiful art. So the art is at a stage of being extinct. And the biggest problem in this business is the  cost of the raw materials. The workers have to pay Rs 50/- per kg for the golden grass while the used to pay only Rs 10/- to 20/- per kg previously.so to make this art live government should take serious actions like giving a stiepend to encourage the crafts men economically. And should open a trainning institute where youngsters can be trained  to do beautiful crafts.

There are lots of policies and projects going on in our nation to abolish poverty but no one is paying attention to this small handicrafts. If the government  will give encouragement and motivation to the craftsmenthen it can help to abolish the poverty of India. Or else a day will come when this beautiful art will take its last breathe and we will only be able to see the pictures of the golden grass crafts in the history books.

 

Sumalata das, a 75 year old lady says ,  i am in the business for about 40 years.  And i have seen many ups and downs. She says the reason the art is being extinct is lack of man power and money. Government should take some serious steps to encourage the youngsters  towards this art.

Pranakrushna Mohanti, a craftsman  says we produce more than 100 items with trhe golden grass . we export them to the international market like chokslovakia , malesia etc. We are facing difficulties in the marketing area so we expect that government should take the responsibility for the marketing of our products.

 

Reported by
Purna Ch. Satpathy
Jajpur Reporter

 

Chhau dance...


Chhau is an ancient dance form, mostly prevalent in areas of Mayurbhanj district. Originated in the mock fights of the Odia warriors, Chhau is known for its masculine vitality. Chhau of Sareikala (Jharkhand) and Purulia (West Bengal) are slightly different dance form from that of the Mayurbhanj of Odisha, performed during the Chaitra Parba in an open air on a raised platform. This dance includes both tandava and lasya elements represented by Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati respectively.

The percussion instruments like the traditional drums and other musical instruments are generally played. Intricate feet movements, whirls and jumps depict the emotions rather than the facial expressions. Hence, the feet, legs and the waist are used to depict bhavas. It is a thematic dance presenting popular episodes from the epics and puranas.

The Chhau dance begins with ranga vadya, an ensemble of indigenous musical instruments which inspires the dancers followed by the orchestra taking up the initial tune of the dance in slow steps. In the next stage, nata, the thematic contents of the performance and drama is built up. The concluding stage is nataki when the vigorous movements of the dancers develop a high tempo.

An equally popular, a form of battle or martial dance, paika exhibits tactics of warfare.

 

Reported by
Abhishek Mohanty
Special Correspondent

 

Performing Art: Pala...


Odisha has a rich tradition of folk plays such as dance, drama and music in which the spiritual, philosophical and humane dimensions have merged to reflect a life style.

The Pala is a musical narrative by a gayaka and others called as palias, all dressed up in royal attire. The gayaka makes his appearance holding a whisk (chamara) which he wields with extreme flourish and a pair of cymbals in his right hand.  He narrates episodes from puranic texts, punctuated with explanations. The singer is adept at combining drama, song & dance and though not highly educated but thorough with knowledge of the theme and fluent in elucidation. The tale is occasionally interspersed with loud sounds of cymbals and vigorous beating of mridanga (a kind of drum). The performers dance in very small and simple rhythmic steps dance along with the singer. The performance begins by invoking the blessing of a deity, Satyanarayan in the form of Satyapeer and the whole atmosphere gets filled with an air of sanctity.

 

Reported by
Abhishek Mohanty
Special Correspondent

 

Silver Filigree Work...

A unique example of artistic excellence in Odisha is the best known metal work technique-silver filigree, acclaimed for its excellent finish, fine foil texture and delicate artistry. Locally known as ‘tarakashi’ the threads drawn of strips of silver as fine as spider-web are woven by silver smiths to create filigree ornaments, jewellery and utensils. Some of the designs are influenced by the Mughals and an identical art form of Indonesia, testifying age old existence of the art. Ornamental trees, pendants, peacock motif ships, chariot of Lord Krishna and Konark Wheel are among the popular pieces of silver filigree work of Cuttack.

Reported by
Abhishek Mohanty
Special Correspondent