Destination India Karnataka

Reclaiming the Art of making Wooden Toys & Art Forms in Karnataka | Channapatna Toys | Janapada Loka

There is one place in the Indian state of Karnataka which is known for the toys that they manufacture. This is a world-famous place that has been featured in many media outlets, print media and social media channels is one of the pride towns of Karnataka. Located near Mysore Road, this town is called Channapatna.

Channapatna, the city located in Ramnagara district is famous for the toys that they manufacture and the toy-making has been featured in ‘Mann ki Baat’ by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. He stressed how to give a push to the toy manufacturing in India and also to explore e-marketing of the toys manufactured in India.

Along with Indian tourism, I had an opportunity to visit the world-famous, Channapatna town where Indian tourism had invited bloggers and tour operators. We left Bangalore early in the morning and the first stop was Janapada Loka.

Janapada Loka or Folk World is a dedicated place to promote, preserve and propagate the vibrant folk-art culture in India that has been present for a long time. The place houses various pieces of equipment that have been used by our ancestors which include hunting equipment, rustic and old-school agricultural equipment, traditional and creative household wares, colourful puppets and artefacts that revolve around the themes of folk literature, music, sculptures, festivals and lifestyle.

Spread across 15 acres of land, the art and artefacts present here are spread across different areas which include Folks Art Museum, Loka Mahal, Chitra Kuteera, Doddamane, Shilamala, Ayagaramala, etc. This includes a sparkling blue lake, lush greenery, local eateries serving traditional food and popular dishes of Karnataka and also houses a small children’s park which will make you feel you are amid old eras of Karnataka.

When we visited, we witnessed the famous Dollu Kunitha, tried a variety of Karnataka cuisines, explored the museums where the museums here reflects over 5000 different folk artefacts, antique collections of over 3 decades, and we were transported to old-age Karnataka.

Here we were given a museum briefing by Mr Pradeep and Dr Ravi, curator of Janapada Loka and during our trip, we made a visit to Malenadu Mane, Lokamata mandir, lokamahal museum, Halasooru Someshwar Ratha and also, we had a live demonstration of a pottery workshop.

Our next stop was the town of Channapatna which was our city in concentration where we visited one of the oldest toy-making companies called Bharath Arts and Crafts. Having roots from all the way back to 1700 where the primary function was manufacturing wooden dipping pens, Bharath Arts and Crafts has been built on the bedrock of hard work, exploration and innovation. Currently, it has been headed by Mr P Mohamed Ilyas along with his sons and these arts and crafts have been a part of people lives for over 5 generations. We had visited their outlet at Channapatna Craft village where we were initially briefed by Ms Vidyashree and a factory tour and explanation was conducted by Mr Soheal.

At Bharath Arts and Crafts we were shown a live demonstration of toy making from the artisans which made our inner child happy as this is what we had played and spent our childhood. During our tour here, we were explained more about the Channapatna Toys which has a GI tag attached to it. As we were given a live demonstration, we got to know how the toys are made which involved lacquering of the wood from the wrightia tinctoria tree. The wood from the tree is procured, seasoned, and cut into desired shapes and sizes. Once cut to desired shapes, the wood is then pruned and carved based on the toys that they want to manufacture and is given a finishing paint touch.

The paint used here is vegetable dyes which ensures that the toys can be used by children without causing any harm.

Our factory tour was done with loads of memories and our next pitstop was for lunch and later headed out to Sula Vineyards where all the bloggers and tour operators were provided vineyard tour, during our tour, we were provided with a taste of different varieties of wines and finally all of us were facilitated by the tourism board.

Our day tour of an interesting place came to an end after facilitation where we boarded back to Bangalore after a great learning experience.

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