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Kondapalli Toys

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  • Original price ₹4,495.00 -Original price ₹4,495.00
    Original price ₹4,495.00
    ₹4,495.00
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    Current price ₹4,495.00

    Navratri Golu dolls of Goddess Durga (Set of 9)

    This original handmade Kondapalli bommala koluvu set of Goddess Durga depicting her nine avatars will add grace to your Navratri and Dusshera celeb...

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    Original price ₹4,495.00 -Original price ₹4,495.00
    Original price ₹4,495.00
    ₹4,495.00
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    Current price ₹4,495.00
  • Original price ₹1,030.00 -Original price ₹1,030.00
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    Current price ₹1,030.00

    Kondapalli Wooden Hanuman

    A symbol of courage and devotion, this Kondapalli Bommalu of Lord Hanuman is handmade using the native Tella Poniki wood. The craft was brought to ...

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    Original price ₹1,030.00 -Original price ₹1,030.00
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  • Original price ₹1,875.00 -Original price ₹1,875.00
    Original price ₹1,875.00
    ₹1,875.00
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    Kondapalli Dashavatar Set

    This original handmade Kondapalli bommala koluvu set of Dashavatar of Lord Vishnu is a fine reflection of our rich cultural and artisanal heritage....

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    Original price ₹1,875.00 -Original price ₹1,875.00
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  • Original price ₹940.00 -Original price ₹940.00
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    Current price ₹940.00

    Kondapalli Raja-Rani Door Stopper

    This classic Kondapalli pattern of king and queen in the form of a door stopper has been handmade using the native Tella Poniki wood. The heritage ...

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    Original price ₹940.00 -Original price ₹940.00
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    ₹940.00
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  • Original price ₹2,250.00 -Original price ₹2,250.00
    Original price ₹2,250.00
    ₹2,250.00
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    Current price ₹2,250.00

    Kondapalli Wooden Ganesha Playing Instrument

    Joyful and auspicious, this Kondapalli bommalu of Lord Ganesha playing different instruments is handmade using the native Tella Poniki wood. The cr...

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    Original price ₹2,250.00 -Original price ₹2,250.00
    Original price ₹2,250.00
    ₹2,250.00
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    Current price ₹2,250.00
  • Original price ₹1,125.00 -Original price ₹1,125.00
    Original price ₹1,125.00
    ₹1,125.00
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    Current price ₹1,125.00

    Kondapalli Wooden Bullock Cart

    This classic Kondapalli miniature bullock cart is made using the native Tella Poniki wood. The craft was brought to Kondapalli village in the 16th ...

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    Original price ₹1,125.00 -Original price ₹1,125.00
    Original price ₹1,125.00
    ₹1,125.00
    ₹1,125.00 - ₹1,125.00
    Current price ₹1,125.00

Kondapalli toys - crafting heritage from the Deccan 

Famous for their lightweight and vibrant colours, Kondapalli wooden toys trace their 16th century origins back to Kondapalli village in Andhra Pradesh. Made using the native soft Tella Poniki wood, the ancient techniques associated with the craft have largely remained intact. These vibrant handicrafts have sustained their appeal through time and one can easily buy unique golu dolls and Kondapalli bommalus (toys) online, apart from the other traditional figurines and new age home décor items. Their charm is not restricted to India and transcends borders. People seeking fresh bommala koluvu ideas from as far as the USA turn to Kondapalli to add splendour to their Navratri and Dusshera celebrations. Many Kondapalli articles are increasingly becoming popular as housewarming, wedding and birthday gifts as well as return gifts on special occasions. 

History of Kondapalli toys and cultural relevance 

The inception of the ‘Bommala Colony’ took place in the 16th century when skilled Rajasthani wood craftsmen migrated to the Kondapalli village, close to present Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh. The 400-year-old crafting tradition has since been passed on from generation to generation and the craftsmen claim their lineage back to Muktharishi, a sage endowed with skills in arts and crafts by Lord Shiva. These artisans are known as Aryakshatriyas and are also said to have found a mention in the Brahmanda Purana. 

Traditionally, the toys were themed around mythology, rural life and animals. From typical Rajasthani elements to faint Islamic features, Kondapalli articles reflected various cultural and social influences through time. Amongst the most significant items of cultural importance would be the handmade golu dolls, used for festive display of dolls during Navratri and Dusshera celebrations in South India. Also known as Kolu, Gombe Habba, Bommai Kolu or Bommala Koluvu, the decorative display of dolls is typically thematic. Traditionally, the dolls are placed on an odd-number of padis (steps) to narrate a legend from a Hindu scripture, court life, general life events like weddings or everyday scenes - all under the auspicious gaze of Goddess Lakshmi, Parvati and Saraswati, figurines of which are invariably central to the set up. 

The making of Kondapalli toys – materials and processes 

The soft Tella Poniki wood is sourced from the nearby forests, cut into pieces and seasoned by being kept in the sun for 20-30 days. Keeping in mind the article to be carved, the seasoned wood is cut into desired sizes using an axe which is further chiselled into shape using various hand tools. Different parts of the item are carved separately and each part is subjected to a slow process of heating on a wireframe to evaporate the moisture. 

Conventionally, a locally prepared adhesive called temma jiguru (acacia gum), a resin from tumma tree was used for gluing the parts together. To smooth out the edges and joints, a paste locally known as makku is applied using a horn burnisher. The paste is prepared by boiling a mixture of finely ground powder of tamarind seeds and sawdust in water. The smoothened, reinforced and dried piece moves towards finishing with skilful application of a coat of lime mixed with temma jiguru. The final step involves using soft and thin paint brushes to apply colours which are either oil and water-colours or vegetable dyes or enamel paints. 

Changes in the craft, present challenges and future of Kondapalli toys 
 
Barring occasional shortening of a step or changes in adhesive and paints used, the techniques, processes, tools and materials used to make Kondapalli toys and other articles have largely remained the same. Currently, the craft faces challenges on two fronts, one being the competition from factory produced products while the other is the restricted and dwindling supply of the Poniki wood. Another grave challenge that lies ahead is making it economically sustainable and worthwhile for future generations, who are increasingly becoming reluctant to pursue it. Even though these toys have gained global repute, inequitable market access and lack of credible information for customers to assess the authenticity of genuine, handmade Kondapalli toys is still a stumbling block for the craft and craftsmen to achieve their full potential. 

In terms of articles and toys, while traditional designs that touch upon scenes from daily life, animals, rural folks, deities and characters from the epics continue to remain relevant, artisans have improvised to create utility products with contemporary themes. Kondapalli soldiers, pen stands, miniature kitchen utensils, Dasavatar set and the ambari elephants are among the most sought-after items handcrafted by the artisans. These wide range of articles, including golu dolls, are available for shopping online in India, USA and other parts of the globe. As for tvami, we ship these products globally and also have a space at Bangalore Santhe. If you are in Bangalore, you can come, experience and shop unique golu dolls from our store near Swami Vivekananda Metro Station. All our offerings including Kondapalli collectibles, wooden toys and curios are sourced from small and marginalised artisans, to help them reach the right market and earn a just remuneration for their toil.