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Taa’Poi Legend: Resurrecting Odia Tradition



  Aug 31, 2023

The Legend of Taa’Poi: Reviving an Age-old Odia Tradition


The legend of Taa’Poi is a primordial Odia folk narrative sung during the ‘Khudurukuni Osha' festival, also known as “Bhalukuni Osha”. This festival and its rituals reflect Odisha's rich maritime history, trading culture, and the expertise of medieval Kalingans in sea voyages and trade links with Southeast Asian islands.
 

The Legend of Taa’Poi: A Tale of Resilience

 
Taa’Poi, the central character, was the only daughter of a wealthy merchant mariner.
 
Her seven brothers were seafarers who left her with their wives (her sisters-in-law) when they sailed away.
 
Her sisters-in-law mistreated her, depriving her of food and subjecting her to suffering.
 
The brothers returned and punished the sisters-in-law for their wrongdoing, bringing justice to Taa’Poi.
 

Khudurukuni Osha Festival: Worshiping Goddess Mangala

 
Young girls worship Goddess Mangala during the festival.
 
Evening rituals include singing episodes from Taa’Poi's life.
 
In some villages, wooden images of Taa’Poi are worshiped alongside goddesses.
 

Crafting Taa’Poi Dolls: A Dying Tradition

 
The village of Manapur, near Badamba, has been making wooden Taa’Poi dolls for centuries.
 
Presently, only four families engage in this craft.
 
The dolls are carved from lightwood, painted in vibrant colors, and take about six months to make.
 
The craft is threatened by changing lifestyles and the popularity of plastic and machine-made dolls.
 

INTACH's Efforts to Revive the Tradition

 
INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage) is working to document and revive this dying tradition.
 
The craft was discovered during the Heritage of the Mahanadi Valley survey.
 
INTACH helps craftsmen by marketing the dolls and teaching them to adapt natural colors.
 
The organization aims to promote these wooden dolls through various showrooms and emporiums.
 
INTACH is also sending a report to UNESCO to include this tradition in the heritage map.
 

Preserving Heritage and Tradition

 
The legend of Taa’Poi and the crafting of wooden dolls not only tell a captivating tale but also provide insights into Odisha's history and cultural heritage. INTACH's efforts to revive this tradition showcase the importance of preserving age-old practices and craftsmanship for future generations.
 
INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage)
 
It is an organization dedicated to conserving India's rich cultural heritage. Founded in 1984, INTACH works to document, restore, and promote historical sites, monuments, and traditional art forms. Through various initiatives, including heritage surveys, restoration projects, and education programs, INTACH aims to raise awareness about the importance of preserving India's diverse heritage. The organization's efforts extend to architectural, artistic, and cultural treasures, fostering a deeper appreciation for India's past while ensuring its legacy for generations to come.


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