Origin: To the naked eye, toys of Punjab are a plaything for children. To those who know them, they are a perfect concoction of artistry and social values. The discovery of Indus Valley Civilization brushed off the dust from the earliest toys of Punjab. Dating 2500 to 1700 BC, the most remarkable toys of this ancient civilization is the copious tiny terracotta carts. Chankana - a kind of whistle and Ghuggu - a kind of rattlebox are some of the other unearthed toys. In the history of Punjab lies a tradition, according to which, village workers gift a new born a toys representing their trade.
Present Day: Folk toy handicraft industry of this state is one of its main sources of income in this state. These folk toys represent the culture and the dynamic persona of the Punjab. It is the aesthetic skills and innovation of craftsmen of Punjab that has made these toys very popular among tourists. In Punjab, families have tradition of making folk toys and this work runs from generation to generation.
Reviving the parandis are the dolls of Punjab, especially the Punjabi bride and the bhangra (a lively fold dance) dolls. Colorful and beautifully crafted, dolls are made all over Punjab, but the most important center for doll making is Chandigarh. Hoshiarpur is the land for wooden toys. Miniature clay dolls, kitchen utensils, and other toys are an integral part of religious festivities.
Demand for this age old craft is gradually diminishing. The reason being, they are facing tuff competition from the modern factory crafted toys. Nowadays people of Punjab are involved in developing this handicraft by introducing new method of making toys and adding varied items in this handicraft industry. Many schools have adopted the traditional method of teaching that involves folk toys. This method ensures students are attached to their roots.
Folk toy industry is given a lot of importance and is supported by the government of Punjab. There are a lot of different types of Punjabi folk toys like Terracotta carts, toy called Chankana, Punjabi dolls, toys in the form of Punjabi Bride and groom, rattlebox etc. Some of the other toys are lattu, tractors, guns, spinning wheels, learning cubes or blocks, miniature household items locally known as Handwai which consist of Parat, chulha, handi, tawa, dol andChanni.
Procedure: Cloth and cotton are the two main ingredients for doll making. In addition, with the help of glittery materials turbans and chunri are crafted. Dolls jewellery is made from beads, strings and sequins. With the help of a wooden base they can be placed on the shelves.
These toys are made of a lot of different raw materials depending upon the type of toy. Few common raw materials are terracotta, cotton, cloth, thermocol and straw etc. Many embellishments such as beads, threads, feathers, tassels, charms etc. are used to beautify the toys. Folk toys are available in a variety of designs, they find their inspiration in nature and is also seen in the form of Birds and Animals.
The export quotient of these toys is relatively low. Though, they have some demand in USA, Australia, UK, UAE, France, Germany etc.
Bring Home Toys: 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.