The toy town of Channapatna is a wonderful way to understand the craft of handmade wooden toys.
The ‘toy town of Channapatna’, located 60 km from Bengaluru and is known of its unique kind of wooden toys. These are made using locally grown wood and this is the city of artisans. The town is home to several artisans who have been continuing the craft.
Travelling on the highway from Bengaluru to Mysuru, it is impossible to miss the board that reads, welcome to toy city.” For me this is a town I visited as a child as this is where my father’s family had their roots. The toys here are made using local ivory wood and lacquer and are eco friendly and child safe.
Recently a lot of revival has happened, and the toy industry is seeing both domestic and international demand. This is a traditional art that actually has a geographical indication (GI) protection! And true to its soubriquet, this town is dotted with stores selling its unique handicrafts. It is impossible to miss these stores – a colourful display of rocking wooden horses a big hit with small children usually beckon you to shop and several of these stores are located on either side of the highway.
Historically it is said that the origin of these toys can be traced to Tipu Sultan who invited artisans from Persia to train the local artisans in the making of wooden toys. These toys are made using a white wood that is soft and malleable. Artisans are today experimenting with other woods like rubber, sycamore, cedar, pine and teak. Again these products have always been completely environment and child friendly – much before the world woke up to the concept. Vegetable dyes are used in the colouring process and the Karnataka Handicrafts Development Corporation (KHDC) provides assistance with marketing efforts. The colours are made with natural vegetable dyes.
Mohamed Farouk, Director, Indiatourism Bengaluru says, “Channapatna is home to a diverese variety of toys and the toy park that will be set up over a 400 acres at Koppal will also help give these toys a boost.”
Read the story of Channapatna and its surroundings in this story on Traveldine here: