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History and Making of Kondapalli Toys

Situated in the heart of Andhra Pradesh, the village of Kondapalli is home to one of India's most treasured artforms − Kondapalli toymaking. Sharing the honour of legacy are the families of Kondapalli, Vijayawada, bringing forth this ancestral tradition and striving to keep it alive in a modern world. Holding this traditional art form close to their souls, the Telugus of Andhra Pradesh take great pride in nurturing their timeless art of carving delightful toys out of wood. Colloquially known as Aryakshatriyas or Nakarshalu, the Kondapalli artisan finds mention in the legendary Brahmanda Purana. Such is the timelessness of handicraft, continuing to shape the identity of society by preserving culture. In 1999, empowered by the government's recognition of Kondapalli toymaking as one of India's geographical indication handicrafts, the beautiful art form sets higher hopes for the future of craft.

The craft of Kondapalli has undergone refinement over four centuries, igniting a sense of spirit among the artisans. No more divided by region or caste, today's Kondapalli community is a result of diversity and passion, speaking in varying dialects but sharing an unbreakable bond through art. In times kinder to the common artisan, handicraft enabled balance in society. A heightened sense of purpose remained the top priority while the artisans of Kondapalli delightfully seized the day.

Comparing it with today's economy where bland manufactured products have become conventional, these wooden curios handcrafted with the utmost care are the diamonds in the dust. One cannot overlook the artisan's attention to colour and style and ponder upon the brilliance of its sculptor. A swift influence of Islamic and Rajasthani forms can be seen in the woodwork and detailing of each toy. Starting off with blocks of Tella Poniki wood abundant in their region, the artisan leaves the logs under the sun for 20 days for seasoning the perfect wood. The wood feels magically light and easy to work with, after which the artisan begins chiselling out the shape of the toy.

He masterfully chisels the smaller components of the toy separately and fastens the pieces together with locally made acacia gum. Centuries of handicraft evolution has enabled the artisans to select the most suitable techniques for the cause. As the artisan softens the edges and perfects the angles, the charm of the toy starts to shine through the previously dusty log of wood. The Kondapalli curios are made waterproof with linseed oil and exotically rendered with vibrant colours to finish the look. Armies of iconic wooden toys are stacked at the end of the day, each unique and priceless in its own sense.

Global demand for authentic Indian handicraft is skyrocketing with the spread of awareness. Kondapalli toymaking is an invaluable asset to the rural communities of South India. It enables a life of self-sustenance to the illiterate population of Kondapalli by earning a livelihood out of what they do best. Their incredible flair for woodcarving is irreplaceable, giving us one more reason to treasure this cultural ethos of South India.

Our shopping catalogue at Artsytribe holds some of the most iconic Kondapalli toys − The famous bobbling-head dancing girl known locally as Kondapalli Aatabomma, the elegant women drawing water and the bullock cart − to name a few. When festivals are around the corner, Kondapalli bommalu get off their shelves and become the main attraction of the day. Sankranti is celebrated in vigour with an arrangement of Kondapalli ensemble, narrating tales of religion, society and folklore. With their creative take on traditional themes, the artisans devote a large portion of their work to rural life and spirituality. The enchanting village of Vrindavan with Krishna and Radha figurines, bullock carts and children engaging in indoor games are some of the most revered themes of Kondapalli.
Entertaining the young and the old alike, Kondapalli bommalu have certainly earned their spot as the most beloved form of handicrafts in India.

Kondapalli Bommalu, the signature speciality of Andhra Pradesh, fit right into your collection of authentic handmade art. They are also called by the name "Koyya Bommalu" locally. By emulating 'rural' into 'urban,' they add personality and joy to homes. Government venues are presenting Kondapalli Bommalu at social events as tokens of recognition and gratitude. Both a child's favourite and an adult's pick, Kondapalli toys are for everyone. We extend support to the local artisans of Kondapalli and deliver these carefully crafted memoirs of love to your doorstep. Whether thoughtfully gifted by a daughter to her nostalgic mother or by a mother to her little daughter, it brings an unforgettable smile.

Frequently Asked Questions about Kondapalli Toys

How old is Kondapalli toys making?

Kondapalli toys making is more than 400 year old tradition. It has been passed onto generations residing in Kondapalli Village near Vijayawada.

Who makes Kondapalli toys?

Kondapalli toys are made by artisans of Kondapalli Village located in Andhra Pradesh near Vijayawada city of India. Toy making is not specific to a community as such, rather it is crafted by the locals of Kondpalli Village.

How are Kondapalli Toys made?

Kondapalli Toys are hand made by chisel carving of Wood. Wood is first dried in Sun and then chiselled into various shapes which are later coloured with bright colors.

What kind of wood is used to make Kondapalli Toys?

A light weight wood from Kondapalli hills called "Tella Poniki" is used to make Kondapalli bommalu.

Which colors are used to make Kondapalli toys?

Depending on the toy, colors from Natural vegetable organic dyes, oil and enamel paints are used.

Which are the famous Kondapalli toys?

The most popular toys are Dasavatharam (set of 10 incarnations of Vishnu), Haridasu, Sankranti village, Farming, Dancing doll,Bullock Cart and Marriage set.

Why do people use Kondapalli toys in Bommala Koluvu and Golu dolls ceremony?

Bommala Koluvu is set-up among many houses during Sankranti and Navaratri festivals. In north India, it is referred as Golu Dolls where toys from various handicrafts are assembled in a staircase like set-up. Kondapalli toys are used to depict mythological stories and rural lifestyle.

How to buy Kondapalli toys online?

BWith advent of digital technology, one can purchase hand made Kondapalli toys sourced directly from artists of villages by placing order online. Artsytribe kondapalli collection is curated list of popular toys covering entire range of products including kids kitchen set to village themes.