Once known as Utkala, which means the land of excellence in art, Odisha is a treasure trove of exquisite handicraft and traditional arts & crafts, a rich legacy of an ancient culture.
Evolved slowly and gradually through disciplined efforts of generations, Odishan Hanicrafts have retained their beautiful traditional values along with the freshness and charm of their own. Beauty and utility combine in them.
Dedicated labour of the talented artisans scattered all over the state has made Odisha a fabulous market of souvenirs and mementoes.
Odisha offers a striking selection of decorative and utilitarian arts and crafts. Applique embroidery is one such crafts.
Appliqué work in Odisha originated as a temple art. Coloured cloth, after being cut and shaped into the forms of birds, animals, flowers, leaves, and other decorative motifs is stitched onto a cloth piece designed as a wall hanging, canopy, garden or beach umbrella, lamp shade,cushion cover and other utility items.
Tiny mirrors in a whole range of geometrical shapes and designs are then encapsulated by thread embroidery to create a striking work of great art.
Though the craft is not unknown in other parts of India, it is in Odisha and especially in Pipli(20 kms from Bhubaneswar and 40 kms from Puri) that the craft has a living and active tradition continuing for centuries.
As with many other handicrafts of Odisha, the roots of the applique art/craft form is intertwined with the rituals and traditions of Lord Jagannath, the presiding deity of the Puri temple.