If you have a day in Puri, visit Raghurajpur. You can see the Konark temple in history textbooks; you can’t see the little craft village with all its passion and creativity.
Raghurajpur is famous for painting on Tussar silk and for its palm-leaf engraving. Watching the process of engraving palm leaves was fascinating, as was noticing the attention to detail in each engraving. It was magical to see a splotch of ink on a palm leaf being transformed into a beautiful engraving that would last four hundred years.
Even so, more appealing than all this are the artists themselves. Yes, they try and sell everything to you, but the moment you buy something very small and show them that you love their art, they open their hearts to you. They joyfully show you their masterpieces even though they know you are in absolutely no position to buy them. They truly are artists, showing you their work just to create that aesthetic delight. I still remember the huge paintings of the life story of Krishna, the Dashavatar, the Ramayana and traditional Orissan folklore. They showed us everything with such pride. Gone are the businessmen, back are the creators.
We went to Raghurajpur only because it was praised in a French guide-book. We learned an important lesson: there exists a world beyond the history of the Sun Temple.