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Channapatna Wooden Toys - A Brief Glance

Channapatna Toys: Unique Status

With the Geographical Indication tag from the World Trade Organisation, Channapatna toys enjoy a unique status in Indian wood art form and handicrafts. Made of ivory wood (known as alae mara ಆಲೆ ಮರಾ in Kannada), the manufacturing of the toys dates back to over 200 years. Interestingly, the wood of ivory tree cannot be used for any other purpose than making such toys. As local small-scale toy-making entrepreneurs and artisans of Channapatna explained, the tree grows naturally through wind dispersion and takes about 10 years to grow.


Initially, starting as a home industry with the toys being made manually, this handicraft caught global attention during the regime of Tipu Sultan, who is said to have encouraged the export of toys. Tipu Sultan created Daria Daulat Bagh (meaning 'water' or 'overseas money garden' or 'meeting spot') to hold meetings with overseas traders to promote local craft as well as invite foreign expertise to develop his kingdom. After the fall of Tipu Sultan's empire, an enterprising young man of Channapatna known as 'Master' Bavas Miyan visited Japan a couple of times to learn the technology of wooden toy making.

Growth of the industry

'Master' Bavas Miyan started a training institute to impart skills training to local people to improve the art of toy making. His training encouraged local artisans to set up small-scale industry using lathes to manufacture the toys. Thus, grew the art of Channapatna toy making. Interestingly,  'Master' Bavas Miyan also trained local artisans to use non-toxic, non-chemical colouring processes to make the toys attractive for people of all ages.

Threats, downturn and revival

The once-thriving Channapatna toy-making industry suffered a jolt with the arrival of cheaper China-made toys. Some of the China-made toys were imitations, but were much cheaper than the high-skilled, labour-intensive original toys. However, the poor quality of the China-made imitations ensured that the Channapatna toys regained some of the lost ground. Support from various entities and organisations, both government and non-government, has ensured the revival of the interest in the toys both in India and abroad. A few creative entrepreneurs have now reached out to export markets (some directly) to ensure that art form is sustained and the artisans get their dues.

Getting to Channapatna
  • Nearest Airport: Bengaluru
  • Nearest Railway Station: Channapatna (on the Bengaluru-Mysuru route)
  • Other Transportation: Frequent buses available or cabs can be hired
  • Distance from Bengaluru: 60 km
  • Nearest Accommodation: Mandya, about 40 km, or Bengaluru



Places of Interest in and around Channapatna
  • Wine Tourism at Gangedoddi Village's Heritage Grape Winery
  • Mangalwarpet Sri Krishna Temple
  • Bheemeshwari River Adveneture Camp
  • Janapada Loka Folk Art Museum
  • Kengal Anjaneya Temple
  • Kengeri Pyramid Valley and Big Banyan Tree
  • Bidadi Thate (Plate) Idli and Innovative Film City
  • Ramanagara Sholay Film Shooting Spot, and Ramanagara Cocoon Centre