My first day in Bhubaneswar happened to be very rainy indeed. Such a dampener when you have so much to do in such little time. Thanks to Dr.Gadanayak’s(Director, school of sculpture) advice, I had a fairly reasonable list of locations for the crafts I wanted to visit. The closest craft was stone carving, so Girish (my friend) and I were off to explore it in the maddening rain!
The initial experience was mind-blowing and this was even before I had visited the Konark temple. Orissa’s temples are monuments of beauty, every bit of it sculpted by the ancestors of these gifted men, the worshippers of Vishwakarma, the divine architect of the world. The temples are made of sandstone (sanapattar, as it is locally called) and have a reddish-pink sheen.
The first stop was a well established set up owned and run by a master sculptor Dr. Sudarshan Sahu. Though we didn’t get to meet him, we were generously allowed a tour of his premises.
The craftsmen working under him were patiently creating the works of art. One of them, Murlidar explained that Orissa is rich in various indigenous varieties of stone. Anything from the super soft soapstone to the hard granite is available here.
Very simple tools like chisels and hammers are used to sculpt these beauties.
The detailing achieved using these simple tools..
Our next stop was a small workshop on the way to Pipli. The entire Bhubaneswar-Pipli road is dotted with such small workshops. We decided to take a random stop at one of them and we were not disappointed.
I met Rasamani Maharana, a master craftsman who runs a training school there. The rain soaked sculptures in contrast to the lush green of the surroundings was the first thing that hit me here.
During my discussion with him, I told him that I love these sculptures. However my tiny apartment cannot fit these in and so decided to try out something small for the city dweller! I am restlessly awaiting their arrival. 🙂
Here are a few designs..
Signature sculpture from Orissa. A lion sculpture guards the gate in every temple. It is a symbol of triumph and victory. Note the detailing on the waist band.
End of day one..
Please click here for more photos of my Orissa trip.