Hindu-Muslim artisans work together to preserve art in Odisha’s Pipili

Updated:1 month, 1 week ago IST

Pipili (Odisha), May 14 (ANI): Situated in the Puri district of Odisha, Pipili village has become the fountainhead for secular kinship and communal harmony in preserving art and craft of the region. Around 10,000 artisans from the village are involved in the making and trading of ‘Chandua’ art or appliqué. Out of these, 40% are Muslims and others are Hindus. For the last many years, the artisans of both these communities have been working together to establish this art form that usually carry the imagery of Hindu God Jagannath (believed to be an incarnation of Hindu preserver god Vishnu) and his siblings, Balabhadra and Subhadra. These crafts are also used in Rath Yatra, a chariot festival dedicated to lord Jagannath in the state. The designing part in the craft is mostly done by the women in the villages. The finished products are then sent to local tailoring units in Pipili and then to wholesale dealers and finally, they end up as a beautifully designed handicraft for sale in shops. Other than decorations for religious purposes the market displays variety of products from canopies, to wall hanging, lamp shades and wooden products among others in 'Chandua', the traditional art of the state. These appliqué artisans were specially arranged for Rath Yatra and other works of Puri’s Jagannath Temple by the then Gajapati Maharaj or king of Puri in 12th century. It is also believed that when the art started rising to fame, the then Kalinga Emperor awarded a piece of land to these artisans at today’s Pipili, so that the art could flourish. Today the people of all the communities who like to be a part of art and craft are in this business. Thus, besides providing employment to thousands of people, this traditional art form of Pipili village has also become a medium of uniting different communities together.

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