One of the things that is so special about India is that every state has its own unique handicrafts. In Orissa, this takes the form of Dhokra metal work, wood carving, silver filigree, palm leaf engravings and much more. So, whether you visit Puri during the famous Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra, or otherwise. along with clicking photographs of the beach and Jagannath Temple, don’t forget to go shopping in Puri. And definitely be sure to take back a few souvenirs from Utkalika.
Utkalika is a one-stop shop for handicrafts in Puri. This is run by the Orissa State Co-operative Handicrafts Corporation Limited as an Apex Cooperative Society. It is the result of the State Government’s effort to support artisans and co-op societies working with handicrafts. By providing them an outlet to sell their products and marketing assistance, working with handicrafts becomes a more feasible form of livelihood. This helps preserve our handicrafts, too. Apart from the store in Puri, they also organise and attend exhibitions in other cities across India.
Utakalika for choicest handicrafts
Brass curios and jewellery made using the dhokra technique (lost wax casting) are probably the most well-known handicraft from Orissa. This is used to make vases, curios, ornamental doorknobs, pen stands, boxes and jewellery. One also finds Bell metal artefacts here. Utkalika is well-known for its silver filigree, another metal work. Known locally as Tarakasi, this is an intricate and delicate art form. At Utkalika you can buy small pieces of silver filigree jewellery as well as larger curios such as models of Lord Krishna’s chariot and the Konark wheel.
A treasure trove of sarees
Utkalika is also a great place for saree shopping in Puri. There are many different types of handloom sarees available here. While light cotton sarees are ideal for everyday wear, you can find a number of exquisite silk sarees here as well, for special occasions. The Sambalpuri sarees and Kotpad sarees are particularly noteworthy. You can also find hand-painted sarees in the Pattachitra style of art. Some of the other varieties available include the Double Ikat, Saktapada, Khanduas, Passapali, Bomkai, Tarabali and Sonepuri.