Odisha is a lesser-known cultural hub of India. It has so many handcrafted souvenirs that you can pick up that you are literally spoilt for choices. Be it the state capital Bhubaneshwar or the artisan villages like Raghurajpur or the pilgrim towns like Puri, you can find some or the other Odisha souvenirs to shop. A visit to the tribal museum in Bhubaneshwar will tell you how many tribal artifacts you can fill your home with.
Here are some popular and easy to buy Odisha souvenirs you may consider shopping while visiting the state.
Odisha Souvenirs Shopping in Bhubaneshwar & Puri
For Art Lovers
Odisha is one of the few places in India where the stone sculpting is still practiced. You can see many roadside workshops where the sculptors are busy carving stone images. Most hotels use these stone sculptures to decorate their interiors. Most temples have them as their deities. You can get one sculpted as per your requirements. They do even today the stone sculpting of the famous Konark wheel in all the fineries.
It is not an easy souvenir to carry back. Remember you have to commission the work and it takes them a few weeks to organize the input stones and sculpting. Do click pictures like me if you can’t buy them.
Filigree work is delicately carved jewelry and other items in silver. The carving is so fine that it almost feels like threads of silver are woven together. You can buy jewelry or small boxes in filigree work. They are easy to carry and a very elegant gift for close family and friends. You can buy filigree work in most high-end souvenir shops including the ones at good hotels.
I am told Nimchauri in Cuttak is the best place to pick up your Filigree souvenirs. Do note the best filigree work in India is done in Cuttak, if you are interested in these artworks in silver, make the most of your visit.
Pattachitra – Palm Leave Paintings
Odisha is known for Pattachitra paintings. These are intricate paintings done on palm leaves by piercing the palm leaf and then filling it with color. It is a technique that is unique to Odisha and requires an immense amount of skill and practice. Raghurajpur village near Puri has the whole village dedicated to this art. You can buy Pattachitra anywhere in Odisha.
Pattachitra – Cloth Paintings
Watch this video on the making of Odia Pattachitra on mediums like cloth, silk, paper, and even glass. The popular theme of these paintings remains the Jagannath Temple and the story of its deities. The best place to buy is Raghirajpur Village but you will find it in most places.
Pipili is a small village somewhere on the old Puri-Bhubaneshwar road. You will see colorful lamps, bags, and umbrellas with patchwork or applique work all around the town. It is done by sewing the patterns of different colored clothes on the base cloth. Traditionally, umbrellas of Pipili work were made for Jagannath Rath Yatra. There are all kinds of beautiful motifs that are created.
These days you can buy simple bags or lampshades or small pouches to take back home the art form.
Coconut shells painted with the colorful images of Jagannath, Balbhadra and Subhadra can be found in Puri. You can hand them on your doorway. It is supposed to keep the evil eye away from you. Someone gifted this to me and it is a part of my home temple now.
You also get a smaller version of it with painting on Arecanut or Soapnut. These make the perfect gifts for people and are easy to carry in bulk due to small size.
Wheels of Konark Sun Temple are legendary and who would not want to take them back home. Well, the real ones can be carried on the Old Rs 20/- or new Rs 10/- currency note. As a souvenir, you can get the miniature version of Konark wheels carved in wood or stone. You will also find a lot of fabrics including Saris with Konark wheel on them.
You can also get the miniature version of Sun Temple in stone.
Colorful wooden masks, mostly made of the popular deities can be bought at Raghurajpur village and some select souvenir shops.
Odisha Souvenirs for the Pilgrims
Prasad in Palm Leaf Baskets
Temples in Odisha, be it Jagannath temple in Puri, Lingraj temple in Bhubaneshwar, or Biraja Devi Temple in Jajpur all give-out the prasad in square baskets made with dried palm leaves. Most of them come with a cover and tied with a jute rope. You can carry it back home easily. This is how Prasad was carried for ages back home.
It is not really a souvenir, but this is the most revered thing to carry back from Odisha’s temples. To me, they are also a tradition that uses local eco-friendly material to weave baskets that you can not only re-use but also cause any damage when you dispose of.
These are rice tied in the pink cloth that has been offered to the deity. Devotees take these and mix it with their rice back home. Emotion is that after mixing, every grain of rice at home becomes prasad and is consumed with the same reverence.
You can find it inside the Jagannath temple and just outside it. Easy to spot with its bright pink color.
Around Puri temple, I saw a lot of cane sticks being sold. I first thought they were walking sticks, but they were too small for that. I asked and people said this stick is a marker of the people who have visited Puri. So, in a way, if you carry this stick home, this means you are Puri-returned. An interesting souvenir to pick from Puri.
Miniature Jaganath in wood, just like they are in the main Puri temple, is one of the favorite souvenirs from Puri. You will find the colorful Murtis of the three siblings mostly in black, white, and yellow colors as associated with each of them in almost every big and small souvenir shop. To carry back home the replicas of the revered deities is an ancient practice that also feeds the artisans making them.
You get Jagannath on paintings, on jute bags, on metal plates, and on just about anything.
You can also buy the miniature version of the temple in wood with the three siblings inside it.
These are great gifts for Jagannath devotees.
Remember in Bengal Souvenirs we told you about the artifacts made with Sholapith. In Odisha too you get them but the use is very different. We saw items made for decorating temples and homes with thin slices of Sholapith. Devotees also buy them to offer to the deities or take them for their home deities.
Chatai or Traditional Woven Mats – In my childhood, these mats used to be used for sleeping on the floor during summers. Now, you hardly find them. I was pleasantly surprised to see hand made mats in the souvenir shops outside Konark temple.
Odia Saris for Sari Lovers
For the Sari loving women, especially those who love the handlooms, Odisha is a treasure trove. You have so many varieties to choose from that you need a huge budget to buy them all. Let me give you a brief introduction to the choices you have:
This is the one with chess-like squares, traditionally in black and white with a dash of red. It is the most popular Odia Sari, the one that you would see with little variation with all Odia women. You get simpler versions with just the checks. The only thing I do not like about them is that they are expensive.
These Saris come from the Ganjam district of Odisha and are known for their exquisite borders and Pallas. You usually find fish motifs on them, which are considered auspicious.
These traditionally handwoven Saris, woven by the tribals of Odisha from Koraput. They are heavy and made of coarse cloth with the imperfections of hand made products. This also means each product is unique. I saw some at the souvenir shop of Tribal museum at Bhubaneshwar. It was beautiful and it was damn expensive.
Sambalpuri Ikkat Saris
These are Saris woven after the thread is dyed. The technique involves the precise design sense so that the right thread is placed at the right place for the design to emerge on both sides of the cloth. You get light as well as intricate designs in these.
Apart from these, there are Habsapur and Dongaria Saris that are not so easily available.
You can buy Saris at Boyanika – the Odisha handloom store or at any of the shops at Market Building in Bhubaneshwar. There are shops around the Jagannath Temple and close to the beach in Puri too.
Odisha Souvenirs for Foodies
Odisha is a foodie’s delight especially if you have a sweet tooth. Here are some of the items that you can carry back for those at home:
Rasagolla – On social media, I have always seen Bengalis and Odias fight to claim the spongy Rasagulla. In Odisha they say – In Bengal Rasagulla is made for humans, in Odisha for Jaganath and hence it is divine. You get a few varieties of Rasagulla here apart from the regular Rasagulla. There is Gurer Rasagulla which is made using jaggery instead of sugar. Then, there is a brown Rasagulla that I discovered only at the departure lounge of Bhubaneshwar airport, and got it packed.
Khaja – It is the most popular dry sweet that you get in the temples of Puri as it is easy to carry back home.
Chatia Peda – Sold outside the famous Kalki temple in the town of Chatia, this Peda is delightful.
Odisha Souvenirs – Tribal Artworks
Tribal Jewelry – This would be my favorite souvenir to buy but it is not easy to locate them.
Rice Grain Artefacts – Artisans create Murtis by pasting together the grains of rice. One can only imagine the patience it requires to put together one rice grain at a time. These delicate artifacts are not easy to carry but I did manage to get a small pendant that can be easily packed and worn.
Dokra Metal Art – Like most tribal communities, Odisha also creates its own metalcraft.
Animal Horns Artifacts – These are artifacts carved from the horns of the dead animals. I do not recommend them, but they can be seen in souvenir shops.
Odisha is one of the richest states of India when it comes to handicrafts, weaving, paintings, and all kinds of art forms including culinary. Go, spoil yourself with some Odisha Souvenirs.