The toys of Channapatna


Passing through Channapatna, you will be unmoved by the nondescript dusty landscape. A blip on the Mysore Road, this town is however well known for its unique wooden toys and lacquerware. Located 60 kilometers from Bangalore, Channapatna is located in the Ramanagara district. The town is also known as Gombegala Ooru in Kannada, literally meaning the toy town. Interestingly, the craft owes its existence to Tipu Sultan, who invited Persian artists to teach the craft to local artisans.

If there is one thing that rivals the Pipli lamps as an increasingly ubiquitous Indian souvenir, it is the Channapatna toy. The toys come in a multitude of shapes and sizes, and the bright happy shiny colors make them irresistible for any age group.

After much avoidable procrastination, I finally landed up in Channapatna last month; curious about how exactly the toys are made. The experience in the toy making unit was an eye-opener, a reiteration of how skilled craftsmanship alone, without any fancy tools, technology or artificial enhancements, can result in such extraordinary outcomes.

Here are a few images of my attempt to capture the essence of this traditional handicraft industry.

A chained dog protects the precious wood logs

As the shape emerges, the coloring process starts...Each worked specializes in one toy and completes it end to end

As the shape emerges, the coloring process starts…Each worked specializsd in one toy and completes it end to end

The final touches….

Color me red

Ready to take on the world

A Channapatna doll – Lord Krishna

4 thoughts on “The toys of Channapatna

  1. Hi,

    I have added a pic on this blog to my website. Will give a link on my website to your blog. Very nice pics. will drop a mail with details.

    1. Hi Noor

      My images are not for free use. Hence, I had requested you to drop me a mail. Request you to not use my images as they are subject to copyright.


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