are a particular form of wooden toys
) that are manufactured in the town of Channapatna
in the Bangalore Rural
district of Karnataka
. This traditional craft
is protected as a geographical indication
(GI) under the World Trade Organization, administered by the Government of Karnataka. As a result of the popularity of these toys, Channapatna is known as Gombegala Ooru
(toy-town) of Karnataka. Traditionally, the work involved lacquering
the wood of the Wrightia tinctoria
, colloquially called Aale mara
The origin of these toys can be traced to the reign of Tipu Sultan
who invited artisans
to train the local artisans in the making of wooden toys. For nearly two centuries, ivory-wood was the main wood used in the making of these toys, though rosewood
were also occasionally used.
The craft has diversified over time; in addition to the traditional ivory-wood, other woods -- including rubber
-- are now used as well. Manufacturing
stages include procuring the wood, seasoning the wood, cutting the wood into the desired shapes, pruning and carving the toys, applying the colours
and finally polishing the finished product. Vegetable dyes
are used in the colouring process to ensure that the toys and dolls are safe for use by children. As of Oct 2006, more than 6,000 people in Channapatna, working in 254 home manufacturing units and 50 small factories, were engaged in the making of these toys. The Karnataka Handicrafts Development Corporation (KHDC) provides assistance with marketing efforts.
With no proper backing or marketing, the Channapatna toy industry faced a financial crunch for more than a decade and was almost on the verge of dying out. However with the help of KHDC, the craft has been revived and the artisans involved are being trained on changing trends in the industry, to help them keep abreast of the current scenario. Prototypes designed by master craftsmen are introduced to the local artisans, who use them to create well-designed toys and dolls. The Government of Karnataka has also provided help by constructing a Lacquerware Craft Complex, which has a manufacturing centre with 32 turning lathe machines, at Channapatna. Financial assistance to the artisans, with help from the Dutch
Government and the Karnataka Government's Vishwa
scheme has also been provided.