It is believed that the existence of toys and dolls in India is dated back to the civilization of Indus in around 5000 years ago. The phenomena of this art practice and its advancement with the time reflects many secrets of the history of evolution. It also describes the depth of the cultural heritage on this soil. Toys and dolls are not for the sake of entertainment of the kids only, but have more relevance in the traditional aspects also. A large scale of diversity is found in the style of toy and doll making in India because of its diverse cultural and traditional practices.
This particular form of toys & dolls are made of woods and mostly manufactured in the beautiful town of Channapatna near Bangalore. It is one of the most celebrated folk forms of toy making in the state of Karnataka.
The enormous amount of popularity of this toy has given Channapatna town where it belongs to a special identity of ‘Toy Town’ or locally known as ‘Gombegala Ooru’. It is said that some pieces of Channapatna Toys are found even in White House of America. But it is praised in almost everywhere both for its traditional values and the colorful exterior.
The traditional making process of these toys used to be done with the locally found glazy ivory woods of ‘Aale Mara’ which is also known as Wrightia Tinctoria.
Besides being attractive toys for the children the amazing Channapatna Toys also drags the interests of the elderly people who prefer buying them for their household craft collection.
Among must buy things from Bangalore , these toys have now diversified themselves from ivory-wood to other woods like cedar , teak , pine and rubber.
The Dolls of Tanjore is as famous as the big temples, architectures and the paintings of this territory are. The famous traditional folk art of Tanjore Dolls, made of Terracotta materials, is locally known as ‘Tanjavur Thalaiyatti Bommai’ in Tamil language and it has several mentions in Tamil literary works also.
People from outside of this region often refer it as the ‘Tanjore Head Shaking Dolls’ or dancing dolls of tanjore as the heads of these dolls keep shaking when they are touched or disturbed from outside. The complete manufacturing of the Tanjore Dolls is found quite funny. The lower portions of the bodies of Tanjore dolls are usually bigger and egregious in comparison to their heads and this is actually the most important and distinctive part of these dolls which attracts everyone. The nodding heads of Tanjore Dolls never fail to attract the kids and the folk art lovers from different parts of the country. Tanjore dolls are also praised in different foreign countries in the Roly-Poly Toys Category.
Ghurni Clay Dolls
The old and traditional art form of Ghurni clay dolls is a widely appreciated folk practice which attracts millions of people from all over India and even abroad. Ghurni is located in Nadia, a small district in West Bengal and proudly bearing its glory since 18th century.
According to the history, Maharaja Krishnachandra, after whom the name of the town derived from helped East India Company in the battle of Plassey against Nawab Siraj ud-Daulah. He brought some families of skillful potters here in 1728 from Dhaka and Natore to build up the village of Ghurni and no sooner it became known to everyone as the village of clay doll makers.
The clay dolls made in Ghurni are distinctive and unique by all means from any other style of clay doll making in India and for that reason, Ghurni clay dolls are found in most of the museums in the world in comparison to every other.
The famous Statues of Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore which are seen in the cities like Washington DC and Moscow, inaugurated by Bill Clinton and Mikhail Gorbachev respectively are actually made by Kartick Paul, a son of this proud soil.
Kondapalli Toy is one of the most popular forms of toy making in India which actually belong to the land of Andhra Pradesh. Kondapalli is located at Vijayawada and the makers of these beautifully designed toys are known as ‘Aryakshatriyas’ who are said to have migrated from the western state of Rajasthan many generations ago.
Kondapalli Toys are made with bright and vibrant colors which portray the diversity of the village lives and the themes connect the spirituality. In earlier times, these toys were actually used during the festivals of Navarathri and Sankriti.
But with the progress of time they have find their way into the houses of common people. Several categories of toy making are practiced here among which ‘Kondapalli Dashavataram’, Kondapalli Papier Machie Doll’, ‘Kondapalli ambari elephant’, ‘Kondapalli Bullock Cart’, ‘Kondapalli Assorted Soldiers’, ‘Kondapalli milking lady with calf’ and few others are sold in highest frequency.
Nirmal Toys and Craft
The art of Nirmal Toys and Crafts is bearing its glory of around 400 years in Adilabad district, located in the newly constructed state of Telengana, when the Naqqash artisans used to produce beautiful toys from ‘Poniki’ or ‘White Sander’, a local variety of softwood. The delicately carved figures and the exquisite paintings on the Nirmal toys and other crafts have taken this form of art to a worldly frame. The style of fine touches in Nirmal art has been deliberately taken into the other forms across the country and it is also used in making beds and furniture. This form had also been used in making cannons during the period of Nizam of Hyderabad.
Rajasthani Puppet Dolls
Rajasthani Puppet Dolls are considered as the most recognized dolls worldwide as they have strong connection with the traditional theatres practiced in this state.
‘Kathputhli’ is the name by which it is referred in string puppet theatres which complete native to Rajasthan. It is also described as the most popular form in the scenario of Indian Puppetry.
The puppet dolls are made of woods and usually attached with single cotton or metal string which is controlled by human fingers. These dolls are praised in the foreign toy markets also for its traditional beauty and vibrant colors. It is believed that the art form of puppet dolls is originated around thousand years ago by the indulgences of Bhatt Community.
Toys are not just the tool of entertainment associated with the kids, it is a classic symbolization of the ancient art, which has been passed down in India among different localities. The traditional toys are more or less, becoming a talk of the town and has been receiving a worldwide attention. Every art is unique to its origins and display a huge amount of diversity of the country. These art may not place a huge importance in our eyes, but it holds immense traditional values, which has only restricted to specific commodity. A sad, but real truth is that these traditions are rapidly dying from our nation and many efforts are being made from the government to revive the centuries old tradition.