Raghurajpur, a small village in Puri, has reinvented itself within six years, setting a new benchmark in India's rural tourism circuit. In 2001, the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) began a small project to revive traditional mural paintings here. Cut to 2007, the village boasts of a transit restaurant, a small accommodation unit for tourists called Gram Kutir, a crafts centre for display and sale of crafts and an amphitheatre for live performances of Gotipua and Odissi. The Union Tourism Ministry has included the village in the rural tourism scheme.
Raghurajpur, a model crafts village in the country, is unique as almost all its residents are involved in the visual or performing arts. It is famous for patta painting, palm leaf inscription, paper-maché, mural painting, cow dung toys, coir works, wood works, filigree, appliqué, terracotta and bell metal works. It has also preserved the famous Gotipua dance of Orissa. Six of its natives have bagged national craftsman awards.
"Raghurajpur is a success. The idea is to propagate its success to other villages," says Mallika Mitra, coordinator of INTACH in Orissa.