By Srikanta Mohanty: Brahmagiri Tehsil of Puri has in its vicinity the small village- Manika patna. Legend has it that Manika-the famous milkmaid had once sold yogurt to Lord Jagganath and Lord Balabhadra, when both the brothers went on the offensive to “Kanchi”. Being part of the famous anecdote of “Kanchi Vijaya”, the village also houses the excellent craftsmanship of shell bangle making. From time immemorial, the shell bangles have stayed irreplaceable in the make-up of married women. The umpteen designs in the conch bangles have forever showcased the sensitivities of femininity. Sharing a ride with historical perspectives, Manika patna, has always stayed important on the cultural map of coastal Odisha.
“Turbinella pyrum– the scientific name assigned to chank shell goes through a delicate process in the manufacturing of shell bangles. The basic stages are chipping and sawing. In the first stage, the outer portion of the shell is chipped away. The next stage is sawing of anterior shell. Moving through a gradual process, the ultimate design of shell bangle gets ready and then polished with delicate chipping with other semi-precious stones and other items. It is hard and a very delicate task”-explains Trilochan Sahoo who owns a jewellery showroom in Nimapada.
The business has gradually evolved in to a major trade in Odisha. As the bangles have found appreciation from every part of India, it is the first item to get picked up by the visiting tourists to the holy place of Puri.
“The bangles are really magnificent, especially the gold plated ones. There is a wide assortment of gold-plated bangles which are simply irresistible because of their designs and polished finish. But the natural conch simple bangles are the first among the equals as every married woman loves wearing them. Last but not the least, the studded bangles with semi-precious and precious stones also come in wide categories as those could come in costly and cheaper categories”-Says Seema Parija- the housewife who has several designs in conch bangles to suit different occasions and clothes.