Origin: The 400 year old tradition of Kondapalli toys migrated from Rajasthan in the 16th century to Kondappali, a village in Andhra Pradesh.
The toy making artisans are titled Aryakhastriyas (also known as Nakarshalu). The Brahmanda Purana, a Sanskrit text and one of the eighteen major Puranas mentions Aryakhastriyas.
It is believed that, these talented handicraft makers have originated from sage Muktharishi, who was awarded in craft skill by Lord Shiva. Rulers of ancient times have encouraged this craft. Traditionally, these toys are assembled during the festival of Sankranti and Navratri.
Present Day: The recent times have witnessed a metamorphosis in the Kondappali craft. Today, the village of Kondappali is home to only 56 families that are carrying forward this age old tradition of making the famed bullock cart. For many years, this vibrant bullock cart was presented by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister to visiting dignitaries.
The Government of India has adopted to various steps to ensure this craft does not fade away due to the difficult competition from Chinese toys. One such action was inviting designs from artisans making these handicrafts items. A reward of Rs 2 lakh was given to the winning design. Government is also assisting them in marketing these toys.
It was registered as one of the geographical indication handicraft from Andhra Pradesh as per Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999
The artisans have joined hands to form societies to preserve and promote this craft. These artisans associations and other self-help associations also market Kondappali craft.
The demand for Kondapalli Toys are is escalating in national and international markets. The various kinds of Kondapalli toys made are palanquin bearers, caparisoned elephants, farmer couples etc.
Procedure: Tella Poniki, a soft wood found in Kondapalli hills is used to make Kondapalli toys. This is a white coloured wood. Firstly, this wood is carved and then the edges are smoothed. Sawdust and tamarind seed paste is used to stuff the wood.
For smoothing, it’s painted with edible oil or natural colours such as vegetable dyes. Then enamel paint is applied depending on the design.
The most common designs are mythology figures, animals, birds, bullock carts, rural life etc.
Bring Home Kondapalli Toys of Andhra Pradesh: The Kondapalli toys can be purchased in various styles and shapes from Andhra Pradesh Handicraft Development Corporation Ltd., Lotus Handicrafts, Andhra Pradesh, Lepakshi Handicrafts Emporium, Gandhi Nagar Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, N. A. Exports, Andhra Pradesh, etc.