Channapatna toys (also called channapatnam toys) are a type of handmade wooden toys. They got the name from the place they are made in – Channapatna of Ramanagara district in Karnataka. These wooden toys became so popular that the town Channapatna is called Gombe gala nagara (meaning: toy town). Here are some interesting facts and information about Channapatna toys.
History of Channapatna Toys
The origin of these toys dates back to the reign of Tipu Sultan, the ancient ruler of Mysore. He invited artisans of Persia to train local artisans on how to make wooden toys. The father of Channapatna toys is Bavas Miyan. He put his heart and soul into improving this art. He learnt and adopted different technologies to improve the art of making these wooden toys. Initially only ivory-wood (locally known as aale mara) was used for making these toys. Today along with ivory wood, other woods such as sandalwood, rosewood, rubber, sycamore, cedar, teak, and pine are also used in making these toys.
Making and Manufacturing
The making of these toys majorly includes procuring the type of wood you want to use and seasoning it. Then the wood is carved into desired shapes and sizes before sending them for coloring. The final step and the most important step is to apply colors and polish to the toys. For coloring, vegetable dyes are used which makes them eco-friendly. The polish is done using high abrasive property grass which makes them totally environmental friendly and appropriate for children.
Channapatna Toys and Handicrafts
The town Channapatna is quite a tourist attraction with the number of national and international visitors. The streets and roads with a display of these beautiful handmade toys surely is a sight to behold. Many movable toys, home decor, utility toys, etc. are made along with traditional kids’ toys and dolls. Prototypes designed by expert craftsmen are given to local artisans to create well-designed toys and crafts.
This craft is protected by Geographical Indication (GI) by the Government of Karnataka. The Karnataka Handicrafts Development Corporation (KHDC) provides assistance with marketing and to improve the skills of the artisans by providing training. Many companies and social enterprises have been reviving the Channapatna craft to suit modern needs and tastes. There is nothing that compares to original handmade crafts. Channapatna toys are not only pride to Karnataka but to the entire nation.