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Kondapalli Toys - Invaluable treasure of Collectibles and Art

Updated on April 19, 2016
Venkatachari M profile image

Venkat loves Arts, crafts, Music including traditional/classical music, dance, paints. He adores the age old heritage, culture, lifestyles.

Kondapalli Toys

Kondapalli toys displayed at a exhibition centre.
Kondapalli toys displayed at a exhibition centre.

Why Kondapalli Toys are great?

You might be wondering what are these Kondapalli toys and why I am giving so much importance to them. So, I must clear your doubt and prove why these toys are an invaluable asset to you.

  • Kondapalli Toys are a distinctive type of wooden toys which can be identified and isolated among a large group of toys.
  • They are famous for their unbreakable light-weight, their beautiful artistic work, the use of herbal colours and their mythological rural life themes.
  • They are the most appealing type amongst all vintage toys.
  • They can be preserved intact for ages and passed on to generations as valuable collectibles.
  • One more fact is that these kinds of rare artistic talents need to be protected by all of us by encouraging them so that they can earn their living and also pass on the tradition to their children with no fear of insecurity.

Introduction to Kondapalli the hub of Toys

Kondapalli is a small town/village near Vijayawada of Andhra Pradesh in South India. It is 16 km away from Vijayawada on National Highway 221. It is famous for its toys known as Kondapalli toys which are cherished as rare collectibles by royal families as well as common people. It is also famous as a tourist place because of its historical fort and a large reserve forest which is the hub for many varieties of leopards, wolves, and jackals. Presently this historical fort is in ruins and steps are being taken to protect it as a heritage structure.

Kondapalli toys depicting a tradesman and his wife

The couple depict a businessman and his wife
The couple depict a businessman and his wife | Source
Toys on display at exhibition centre in Shilparamam in Hyderabad
Toys on display at exhibition centre in Shilparamam in Hyderabad | Source
show route and directions
A markerKondapalli -
Kondapalli, Andhra Pradesh, India
get directions

The toy making village

B markerVijayawada -
Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, India
get directions

Kondapalli is 16 km from Vijayawada city.

C markerKondapalli Fort -
Kondapalli Kila, Kondapalli Reserve Forest, Kondapalli Khilla (fort) Ghat Road, Kondapalli, Andhra P
get directions

The ancient fort which is in ruins and is a popular tourist place now with wild animals in the reserve forest.

D markerShilparamam, Hyderabad -
Shilparamam, Jubilee Enclave, HITEC City, Hyderabad, Telangana 500081
get directions

The Kondapalli Toys and other handicraft works are exhibited and sold here.

The toy making industry

The toy making art of Kondapalli dates back to 16th century A.D. when the original skilled craftsmen from Rajasthan state moved to this place in search of their livelihood due to political disturbances and other reasons. They found the wood available at Kondapalli perfectly suitable for their art. So they settled down there and began making beautiful toys with their artistic skills.

  • Originally the toys were intended to be playful items for children.
  • But later they discovered that people from rich families and far off places bought these toys more for keeping them as collectibles and for doll houses and festival decoration purposes.

So they began producing more and more toys in large quantities by sharing and passing on their skills to their kith and kin. Thus, it became a famous toy making hub with entire members of their families participating in toy making and its popularity spread to all corners of the country through visitors and tourists and even to other parts of the world.

But later on, mechanisation of every field has resulted in decreased popularity of these toys as modern age children and adults favoured electronic toys more than these hand-made toys ignoring the artistic value of these treasures.

Recently the government is giving support to this art to protect and safeguard the interests of these artisans by spreading awareness and promoting the interest of these toys among public through exhibitions and sales counters at all handicrafts centres and tourist hubs.

A slide show of toys made at Kondapalli

How do they make Kondapalli Toys

Toy making is a very lengthy, time-consuming job with a lot of procedures and steps involved in it.

  • Just like you draw images, here, you are carving the images on wood with a chisel and knife.
  • It involves chiselling again and again until you reach out to the finest shapes that you may desire.
  • You may need to shape the face, eyes, nose, body, limbs of humans and animals that require great concentration and effort.
  • Much skill and patience are required for this job. Continuous practice combined with hereditary bequeath makes it perfect.

As I told you already, they make it from the locally available special soft wood known as "tella poniki" (a white wood) which makes carving a bit easier for them.

  • After the toy gets its complete shape, it is vibrantly coloured using home-made herbal colours.
  • The eyebrows, nasal linings, facial expressions, everything is artistically incorporated with these colours.
  • Mostly men do the carving work and then, women do the colouring work. Both are important for making it a perfect doll.
  • They take themes from the real life in the village and carve the patterns.
  • In some of the dolls, like the village maid, they incorporate springs also to make it a swinging doll with head and body movements making it very appealing.

It is difficult to express everything in words. Only, we can experience the entire thing by seeing these artisans while preparing the toys and then witnessing and enjoying the enchanting art and beauty of these toys.

Carving the face of a doll - A sample video

A woman shaping the eyes, nose of Kondapalli Dolls with colour

What do You think?

What is your Opinion about these Kondapalli Toys?

See results

Highlights of Kondapalli Toy art

  • These Kondapalli Toys are distinct in their nature and are not to be found at any other place.
  • These toys are made by skilled artisans with a special kind of wood available only at this place of Kondapalli.
  • Entire family members participate in this toy making with deep love and interest in this art.
  • This toy making art is their treasure which they bequeath to their descendants.
  • Entire work is based on real life themes and natural events.
  • Herbal, home made colours are used in colouring these toys making them eco-friendly.
  • These toys are collectibles and their possession is a pride for us.

Passing on the Kondapalli toys to coming generations

I hope you appreciate my presentation of the importance of this specific variety of vintage toys and recognise their value and beauty. These toys are definitely worth for your drawing room to increase the glamour and appeal of it. They are best for preserving them for many generations to come without any damage and pass on as a treasure to your heirs. You will be glad to see that they definitely appreciate this invaluable treasure of artistic toys you have gifted them with so much love.

References

1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kondapalli

2) https://www.dollsofindia.com/

Comments

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    • Venkatachari M profile image
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      Venkatachari M 20 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      There has been a broken link in it reported to me by the team here. So, I removed the link and kept the image only (the 1st image) by freshly uploading it from my photos. And added some more sentences here and there to make it updated.

    • Venkatachari M profile image
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      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Glad to know that you have come across these toys. And I will be waiting for your update after buying these toys.

      Thanks for the visit and taking time to post this nice comment.

    • Mellyunplugged profile image

      Melvin Augustine 2 years ago from India

      When I was working in Hyd I have seen the 'swinging dolls' being sold by the streetside vendors. I always wished to possess one. However, it didnt happen. After reading this hub I got to know more about these toys. Didnt know that these toys had a rich historical background. All in all a great hub. Voted up! Definitely I will buy these collectables in my next trip to shilparamam.

    • Venkatachari M profile image
      Author

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Thanks for the visit and comment.

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 2 years ago from India

      Hats off to the artisans. You have a well written colorful hub

    • Venkatachari M profile image
      Author

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Wow, Akriti! Your comment is very superb. Thanks for the visit and comment.

    • Venkatachari M profile image
      Author

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Thanks Padmaja, for your precious time taking and visiting this hub. You are doing a good job by teaching kids practically in innovative ways. Children grasp things more perfectly when presented visually and in types of small stories. This is a great way of teaching them. I appreciate you for this.

      Thanks for the visit and nice comment.

    • Akriti Mattu profile image

      Akriti Mattu 2 years ago from Shimla, India

      Awesomeeeeeeee

    • Venkatachari M profile image
      Author

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Thank you, Sunil. Nice to see your appreciation of my works. Really it is a great art work which requires support from people by buying these toys on occasions.

      Thanks for the visit and nice comment and sharing.

    • Padmajah Badri profile image

      Padmajah Badri 2 years ago from India

      This is my favorite topic .The hub makes us to travel and enjoy in the world of toys.Truly amazing.These toys are helpful in teaching special kids and improving their vocabulary skills.We used to make them play with these toys and create a story line to teach them using the toys.Thanks you.Happy Writing !

    • sunilkunnoth2012 profile image

      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 2 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      Your selection of topics is amazing and once again you proved it with this article. Though I have heard about it, only now I got some clear grasp on these toys. It is so nice to hear that these are made out of a special kind of wood of high quality. Keep on writing such nice stuff. Voted up and shared.

    • Venkatachari M profile image
      Author

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Thank you Hazel Abee. Glad at your visit and a nice comment.

    • Hazel Abee profile image

      Hazel Abee 2 years ago from Malaysia

      Beautiful indeed, I only know the 'Tanjaore Dancing Toys' .. probably should get them, they are good collection item

      Thanks

    • Venkatachari M profile image
      Author

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Good idea, Parul. I hope they may be available at some tourism sponsored exhibition centres nearer to your place also. Thanks for the nice comment.

    • sriv profile image

      Parul Srivastava 2 years ago from Lucknow,India

      Very Beautiful Toys.Great info.I would purchase them when I have opportunity to go South.

    • Venkatachari M profile image
      Author

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      But, this wood is of distinct quality. It is very light and unbreakable. If you drop them from height they do not break easily unless you throw with force in anger. That is why these toys are regarded as precious and they are so amazing and wonderful also. You can identify these toys with your smart sight from a heap of other toys.

      Thanks for visiting and commenting.

    • Venkatachari M profile image
      Author

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      But, this wood is of distinct quality. It is very light and unbreakable. If you drop them from height they do not break easily unless you throw with force in anger. That is why these toys are regarded as precious and they are so amazing and wonderful also. You can identify these toys with your smart sight from a heap of other toys.

      Thanks for visiting and commenting.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      these toys are similar to the wooden toys that I used to have when i was young

    • Venkatachari M profile image
      Author

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Glad to know that your father was an artisan crafting all these wonderful toys. So, check out from the sites. I have already given links to two of the toys (collectibles) in the amazon capsules above. You can buy them instantly from them if you are interested.

      Thanks for the revisit and response. Wish you all the best.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Thank you, Venkatachari. I cannot visit India, though would love to. I will take your advice and look online at the sites you mention. These dolls are lovely. My father did a lot of wood carving of small animals and stagecoaches, cowboys, and pictures on wood . Your hub brings back fond memories of watching Dad carve. Thanks again.

    • Venkatachari M profile image
      Author

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Hi, Bill. Thanks for your revisit and concern. I also experience some problems like these especially with pstraubie48 hubs. I post comments and they do not appear there. So, don't worry. I know your full support towards me. So I will not mind it. I can understand things.

      But, now my joy is re-doubled at your revisit and praise for my work. Thank you a lot, Dear Friend.

    • Venkatachari M profile image
      Author

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Phyllis, that's a great idea! But, are you interested in visiting India somewhere at your own time? Otherwise, you should get them through on-line sites like flipkart.com, amazon, snapdeal.com, etc. You may also enquire from the government sponsored promotional website. The email id of this site is aphdcltd@yahoo.com They may guide you if any exhibition outlets are there in near future at US or any nearer place within your reach.

      Thanks for your visit and enquiry. Let me also know the results.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      There seems to be a problem with comments because I know I commented on this article when it was first published. Sigh! I'm just glad I came back and checked on it so you'll know I wasn't ignoring you.

      Wonderful article. I really do like these toys...art and culture rolled up into one....thank you for teaching us all about these. Well done!

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Venkatachari, these are wonderful little toys that I would love to collect. I would want authentic ones from Kondapalli artists. Do you have some advice for me on how to start my collection?

      Thank you so much for writing this hub.

      Voted Up, across and shared.

    • Venkatachari M profile image
      Author

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Nice to see you Patricia. Thanks for your nice comment and votes and sharing, etc. I wish you a nice day.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 2 years ago from sunny Florida

      I can definitely see why people began to collect them. The slide show contained some I would like to have to set about for folks to enjoy.

      I enjoy reading about your land...I would love to visit their some day.

      Angels are headed your way this afternoon ps

      Voted up++++ shared and pinned

    • Venkatachari M profile image
      Author

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Thank you, Marie Craig, for your visit and nice comment and votes.

      It's true that they were started as toys. But later on they became to be treasured as collectibles since a century because of their unmatchable artistic worth and durability.

    • Venkatachari M profile image
      Author

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Thank you, Jackie. I am glad that you wish for the life of that art.

      Thanks for your nice comment and vote and sharing.

    • Venkatachari M profile image
      Author

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Thank you, Nitya, for your visit and nice comment.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 2 years ago from New York

      I love toys, and although these dolls are definitely collectibles they started out as toys. They really are marvelous, the work that goes into them and the finished product, Wow! Thank you for sharing these lovely treasures with us.

      Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I love the businessman and his wife and the furniture and animals are beautifully done too. I sure hope the art is not lost. Excellent article, Venkatachari! Voting up and sharing.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 2 years ago from Dubai

      Kondapalli toys are amazing, carved so beautifully. The best thing as you have highlighted is that they are eco-friendly. Great hub, voted up. Great videos and images.

    • Venkatachari M profile image
      Author

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Thank you Chitrangada, it is nice to know that you had some of these valuable collectibles. Thanks for your nice comment, voting and sharing.

    • Venkatachari M profile image
      Author

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Thank you, Radhika. I am overwhelmed at your nice comment, voting and sharing. Thanks a lot.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 2 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Beautiful toys and really a treasure!

      I have seen them in handicrafts emporiums and we had some collections, when my children were small.

      Came to know a lot about Kondapalli toys through this hub.

      Thanks for sharing, voted up and pinned on to my crafts board!

    • radhikasree profile image

      Radhika Sreekanth 2 years ago from Mumbai,India

      I've read about these toys in a magazine and wondered how nicely the artisans craft them. Lovely hub including all details about these attractive dolls!!

      Voted up, beautiful and awesome! Shared too..

    • Venkatachari M profile image
      Author

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Thank you, Alicia, for your visit and nice comment. I am glad it appealed to you.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      What an interesting hub! I've never heard of these dolls before. Thank you very much for teaching me about them.

    • Venkatachari M profile image
      Author

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Thank you Aesta for your visit and nice comment. May be you saw them before. But in India? Have you been to India?

      Some of us here display them decoratively on festivals like Makar Sankranthi (Pongal festival) during December 16th to 14th January period or on Dussehra in October month. So you remember correctly.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I wish I have seen them before. They are colourful and each one tells a story. Maybe some of the Christmas decorations we get made in India are made in the same way.