India has a rich legacy in toy-making. Historically Indian toys date back to 5000 years. The excavated toys and dolls found in Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro included small carts, dancing woman, etc.
India has a rich culture of storytelling through its toys. Our ancestors have been preserving this culture by making toys which show a perspective of life. The religious influence also led to a different set of toys depicting stories from epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata.
Toy Story of Jammu & Kashmir
Walnut wood carving is an ornamental and delicate craft process that is unique to Kashmir due to the concentration of walnut trees in this region
- There are five main styles of woodcarving: Undercut (Khokerdar), Open or Lattice work (Jalidahr), Deep carving (Vaboraveth), Semi carving (Padri) & Shallow carving (Sadikaam)
- Paper Machie is one of the unique crafts in the entire world. The product is protected under the Geographic Indication Act 1999 of Government of India.
Toys Extension Centre is working with local people to manufacture the traditional toys
- Various exhibitions are organised to promote traditional toys of Himachal Pradesh. They are selling at Government centres and State emporium all over India as well.
Toy Story of Uttarakhand
Damru (Large) is a unique, rustic toy and a miniature version of an Indian hand held drum
Wooden toy-making is a traditional craft of Uttarakhand, India. Bright and colorful lacquered toys are made by clusters of skilled craftsmen. According to the craftsmen, their ancestors specialized in ivory carving that enjoyed good patronage during the reign of the Mughal emperors and the British.
Toy Story of Punjab
Folk toys of Punjab are the products of the perfect amalgamation of artistry and social values. The earliest handmade toys of Punjab can be traced back to the Indus Valley Civilization, from 2500 to 1700 BC
- Folk toys are available in a variety of designs; all of them having the most desired appeal. They usually depict animals, birds, equestrian and wheeled vehicles, with variation in quality and purpose.
- Handwai is a localized version of what we today call the kitchen set.
- Chankana is a toy whose traces were found even in the era of Indus valley civilization. It is a lollipop-shaped whistle toy with ghunghroo onto it.
- Lattu is a spinning toy, designed to spin rapidly on the ground.
- Ghuggu is a traditional form of rattlebox.
- During the fairs of Punjab, you can find a beautiful collection of folk toys representing vibrancy and enormous culture of Punjab. A lot of foreign tourists as well as Indian tourists buy these toys as souvenirs. They are easily available across Punjab.
Toy Story of Haryana
An innovative range of toys and dolls such as babushka dolls, lacquer dolls, string puppets, clay Indian toys, leather stuffed toys, traditional dolls, cloth Indian dolls, matryoshkas dolls, wooden dolls, collectible Indian dolls, nested dolls, wooden puppets, cotton dolls, papier mache dolls, wooden toys, handmade toys, Russian dolls and stuffed toys can be found in Haryana
Toy Story of Chandigarh
- The UT has some manufacturers and proprietorship firms which are engaged in manufacture and sale of handicrafts
- These range from Wooden Boards, Wooden Jali, Sunmica Boards, Wooden Showcase, God statues, foot scrubers & other home items.
Toy Story of Delhi
The NCT of Delhi has many small manufacturers and proprietorship firms which are engaged in sale of handicraft
- Most of the prominent firms have stalls established at Delhi Haat. These firms make hand made toys as well as home decors and craft items
- Toys for Social Upliftment: Kailash Pandey, an Artist is manufacturing his toys through local slum area woman in need of jobs They make unique and beautiful design toys and home décor using daily usage clothes and cheapest materials.
Toy Story of Rajasthan
- Udaipur is a big centre for wooden toys. The craftsmen use the local wood doodhia which is soft and can be finely chiselled and shaped. The toys are lacquered and polished with leaves of a flowering cactus to give them a better look and increase their life.
- Bassi in Chittorgarh district is another noted centre for wooden toys where the entire village is engaged in wood-carving and in making wooden products. Jaipur too is very well known for cloth dolls and toys which are generally dyed and stuffed with waste material.
- Varanasi is known for lacquered toys and miniature utensils. The sets of birds, animals, orchestras, soldiers and dance ensembles are made in wood, gaily painted and packed in boxes.
- Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh are famous for their wooden lacquer ware and wooden toys. Design are created with the natural veins of the wood
- Chitrakoot in Uttar Pradesh has a distinct place in the country in wood craft. A well mixture of traditional way and modernity done and craftsmen of the districts added new horizons to this art.
Toy Story of Gujarat
Clay and Teracotta Toys
- The quintessential clay pots to a variety of clay figures and toys like horses, cows, bulls, buffaloes are the items which are very essentially a part of Indian pottery
- In Gujarat, tribes in the Dangs make and worship their own clay gods. Since pottery is made out of clay, which is an environment friendly and recyclable material, it is an art that will survive the ravages of time
Toy Story of Daman & Diu
Daman and Diu is famous for Mat Weaving Craft and Tortoise shell toys and crafts.
- The residents make use of traditional and folk motifs to make beautiful mats and toys
- The craftsmen make several decorative toys, household items using these shells
- The seashores on the coastline of Diu are home to a variety of tortoise and their shells are used by skilled craftsmen to create decorative toys and household items.
Toy Story of Maharashtra
Wooden Toys of Sawantwadi in Ratnagiri is famous and has followed traditional craft of Wooden toy making from centuries.
- Sawantwadi is popularly known for Ganjifa playing cards and wooden toys made from mango tree traditionally done by the Chitari or Chitrakar community.
- Bahatuktli is the miniature version of all household items put together
Toy Story of Goa
Goan artists make excellent toys from a wide range of materials such
as wood, cotton, coir.
- These products shows the aesthetic blend of Portuguese and Indian cultures. Some of the most exquisite items produced in Goan woodcraft include cradles, baby carts, toys, etc.
- These items are crafted by professional artisans in their ethnic ambience in the rural areas, and also by artisans working at the arts and crafts complexes run by the government.
Adivasi Gudia Hastashilpa (Dolls) From Jhabua
- Exhibits the dual phenomenon of the tribal way of life comprising of colorful ethnics and means of daily subsistence of Bhil and Bhilala tribes from Jhabua Dist. who make these toys
Betel Nut’s Toys from Rewa
- Developed by Kunder family in Rewa City this toy is made from betel nuts( Suparis.) Earlier these families had the task of making wooden toys. Later on experimenting with the betel, these people started preparing the betel nut toys.
- Most of the toys are made using machinery of gears and pinions
- The tin toys in India were extremely famous a few decades back as India didn't have access to any more evolved toys then.
Toy Story of Chhattisgarh
The tribes of Chhattisgarh are excellent artisans, experts in crafting artistic Toys/ Items with clay, stone, bamboo and metals.
- They express their deep talent and through Gharwha art, Wood art, and other with peacock feathers.
- Due to availability of bamboo in the state the tribals have been traditionally making Toys/Crafts form bamboo and wood based products.
The famous Kondapalli toys are made in Kondapalli of Krishna district near Vijayawada. Also Known as Bommala Koluvu
- The art is believed to be ancient with Mythological roots, originating from MuktaRishi who obtained the Knowledge from Lord Shiva.
- The style of these toys is a mix of Islamic and Rajasthani art, popular for their realistic expressions. The subject of the toys vary from Mythological scenes to Village life, Animals, Birds etc.
Popularly known as “Etikoppakka Bommalu” the Etikoppakka Toys got the Geographical Indications tag in 2017
- The wood used to make the toys is soft in nature and the art of toy making is also known as Turned wood Lacquer craft
- Today around 700 artisans are working on the Etikoppakka Toys
- Cannons, bullock carts, Lord Ganesha, Lord Balaji are very popular figurines
Toy Story of Telangana
- The style of Nirmal toys is a beautiful assimilation of Indian and Mughal art – used Ajanta floral and combines with Mughal miniature
- The material used is soft wood & enamel colours. Panicki and white sander is the local available softwood, easy to shape and give perfect finish. The enamel colours give the toy the shine.
- The artisans are called Naqqash, they came from Rajasthan in 17th Century.
Toy Story of Karnataka
Referred to as the Lacquerware toys, Channapatna has become a household name in Karnataka
- Received a Geographical Indication (GI) under the World Trade Organization (WTO)
- The toys have ensured that innovation and being eco-friendly become the hall mark of this locally known Gombegala Ooru (toy town)
- The Hereditary artists are known as ‘Chitragars”.
- The wood, primarily used was ‘ivory-wood’, though rose and Sandal wood were also used.
Toy Story of Kerala
Traditionally, coconut palm leaves are used in making a wide range of toys & are the most popular toys played and are made at homes itself
- Coir is used in making eco-friendly toys & Coconut shell products are used to make animal shaped toys
- Woodcraft is another famous craft item of Kerala
- Lacquer Ware, the craft combining metal and wood, is a favorite among the tourists. A wide variety of lacquer products are produced in Kerala especially in Ernakulam district
- Leather is used to make puppets for Tholpavakoothu (shadow puppetry)
Toy Story of Tamilnadu
Thanjavur Dancing Dolls, traditionally known as Thanjavur Thalaiyatti Bommai, are a part of an eclectic heritage of beautiful handicrafts from Tanjore
- They are now listed in the Government of India’s Geographical Indications Registry.
- Choppu Saman is a traditional role play toys for kids. All the utensils are either made up of fine wood with polished edges or clay and painted with harmless natural colors.
Toy Story of Bihar
Dolls & Toys are made with different materials such as clay, cloth and wood with each material having its own style and designated areas where the craft is practiced.
- Kanyaputri Dolls (Champaran): This art form comes from Champaran. In the month of Saavan (monsoon), sisters make dolls for their brothers and dip them in the pond and brother brings these dolls back
- Sikki Work: Sikki work is a craft whereby the craftsmen turn unnecessary riverside grass into beautiful decorative objects
- Bamboo Work: Bamboo work has been remained a culture of Bihar throughout the ages and time. Right from the pre-historic time forest dwelling tribes are experts in bamboo and cane work.
Toy Story of Jharkhand
The Chota Nagpur and Ranchi areas are also known for their wooden toys.
- The most common figures are the mother and child and Raja-Rani that are painted on wood. The toys are notable for their artistic vigour.
- Many animal figures connected to rituals, Lacquered wooden toys modelled on folk tradition animals, birds, fish and bird figures are all carved.
- There is also a variety of toys made from bamboo.
Toy Story of Odisha
In Odisha, wood has been used for carving statues, idols and toys for time immemorial. Woodworkers were an essential part any village’s economy
- Raghurajpur Artisan Village is famous for Papermache Toys, Clay toys, wooden toys.
- Bargarh in Sambalpur district is famous for its artistic wooden toys. The animal figures are richly carved and, at times, even carry riders
- Subarnapur is known for making wooden toys. Generally wood from shamli, shavan and ghamandi are used in the making of these toys.
Bengal had a rich & varied tradition of making wooden-dolls and toys
- These figurines were mostly of 4 to 9 inches in height and were produced in large numbers, up to the middle of the last-century, by the local Sūtradhara-artisans
- Even today, they could be traced being made around various corners of Bardhhaman, Hooghly, Howrah, East & West Midnapore and Bankura.
Toy Story of Andaman & Nicobar Islands
An archipelago territory of India, Andaman & Nicobar Island is widely famous for a cornucopia of tropical destinations and tourist activities.
- These islands are known for many things from beach holidays to trekking to marine wildlife and sea adventures.
- Apart from these, the island houses a small but exotic range of local markets, handicraft emporiums and shopping stops (locally called gift shops) for tourists.
Source : Toy Story - Promotion of Indigenous toys of India