To be bestowed with wealth of the mind, countless seekers of faith turn to Ganesha, the elephant-headed deity. The makers of this pristine handicraft have a rich history deeply rooted in traditional Indian woodworking. Gathering their sensory faculties, the sons and daughters of Etikoppaka combine the dexterity of a master artisan with that of a designer’s flair for detail and colour. Carefully lacquering the surface of the soft-wood toy, Etikoppaka artisans then get to the satisfying task of tinting the Ankudi surfaces.
Son of the mighty Shiva, India holds a special place for Lord Ganesha. Every student turns to him for strength and concentration of the mind, uniting the metaphysical with the karmic. For centuries, the artisans of Etikoppaka have been loyal to India’s immense diversity in the cultural context, making them an excellent choice for gifting at weddings and auspicious ceremonies.
The artisans of Etikoppaka have been ardent followers of this craft, turning it into their faith instead of livelihood. The incredible artisans of this craft toil silently in Andhra’s Visakhapatnam district, their voices drowned by the city’s bustle. Each Etikoppaka artisan is a product of excellence that can only be achieved with generations of practice. The occasion of Sankranti and Dussehra bestow great demand onto the Etikoppaka handicrafts, waiting to be lavishly presented upon the Bommala Koluvu dias. This Ganesha handicraft is a sight to behold, with its perfectionist approach to design and imaginative take on colour and form.
Having practiced this art for over 600 years, today’s version of Etikoppaka has suffered no contamination, making these toys both rare and unique. The artisan masterfully wields his tool to create seamless forms out of locally abundant softwood. The degree of sustainability is refreshing in today’s times. The artisans’ perspective towards nature, culture and art is a boon worth celebrating.