Sixteen kilometers (10 miles) north of Puri, Raghurajpur Crafts Village, a quaint rural village of thatched-roof houses, offers a variety of traditional Oriya crafts. Craftspeople will meet you as you emerge from your taxi or auto-rickshaw and lead you to their homes, which double as production centers for specific art forms. Along with a cup of chai, you'll be given a thorough account of the creative process. Patachitra paintings, the best-known of Orissa's handicrafts, fetch up to Rs 15,000 and are created on a cloth canvas, using a brush made from mouse hair. Vibrant colors are used to create extraordinarily detailed depictions of mythological events -- most of these revolve around the life of Krishna. Also impressive are traditional palm-leaf drawings made with an iron pen. These are typically presented as a concertina-style fold-up poster made from palm fronds and featuring concealed erotic images and Sanskrit inscriptions. Those who want to watch artisans at work can spend time at the Pattachitra Centre Handicraft Museum (tel. 0675/224-508; daily 9am-7pm; wwwpattachitracentre.com). Note: Although prices are reasonable, they are slightly inflated, and you shouldn't feel pressured to buy something you don't want. You can also try and get these at any of the Utkalika showrooms present in all the cities within the state. Although Sambalpur is the right place to pick up tons of gorgeous ikkat (traditional weaves from the region), if you can't manage going to this small town (77km/48 miles from Bhubaneswar), drop in at any State Emporium (Priyadarshini, V.I.P. Rd., Puri; tel. 06752/22-9982; or Western Tower Market Bldg., Bhubaneswar; tel. 0674/253-2140). Both the delicate silver filigree work (tarakasi) as well as crude brass and metal work crafted by tribal folk using traditional casting methods (dhokra) are extremely popular not just in India but abroad as well. While they are sold with almost a 200% markup internationally, in Orissa you will get them at far more reasonable rates. If you are traveling to Konark by road, you will come across a sudden splash of color spilling on to the blue tar -- welcome to Pipli, a tiny village where almost everyone is involved in appliqué work. The street is lined with shops on both sides selling massive umbrellas, cushion covers, bedspreads, wall hangings, and lampshades, all in bright colors and bold patterns. Every shop has a couple of tailors (often the owners themselves are on the machines), and it's fascinating to watch them at work. Finally large scale village fairs and haats (markets) held periodically (Ekamra haat Nov-Dec; Bali Yatra Jan) in Bhubaneswar as well as neighboring Cuttack, are simply delightful in atmosphere and the range of goods is bewildering. Ask the OTDC for further information if you want to time your visit with these.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.