Our nation and our pride, India has a rich history with a thriving civilization that dates to centuries ago. India has so much to offer with its booming industries, that all sorts of goods produced have a special Indian touch that is hard to not recognise. All products manufactured here exhibit a charm of their own and hold special value and heritage. One of the many industries amongst these is the toy industry of India, which is as timeless as India herself! We at India Circus by Krsnaa Mehta believe that this timeless industry deserves to be enjoyed by kids and adults alike, from every region of this beautiful country. Hence, we’re spreading awareness about this industry, so you too can be amazed by the tradition and ethnicity these toys hold!
The toy industry of India has been thriving since the Indus Valley Civilisation; Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, which was 5000 years ago! Dating back to so long ago, it still holds the same richness and hasn’t lost its charming appeal. Toys were, of course, made for children to play with, but the toys of India also helped children learn so much more about our history and heritage and showed them what life is all about. When it comes to adults, these toys and dolls were kept as highly valued collectables and were used to decorate their homes to give a traditional touch like no other.
When we’re talking about these Indian toys, we don’t mean the standard board games you get at your toy shop next door. We’re talking about traditional toys and dolls, which were all inspired by nature, and their design worked around the thoughts of children and how they could apply these toys in their actual life. These toys teach children survival as well as empathy and creative thinking! It’s hard to believe a child can imbibe so much knowledge from something so simple. Nowadays, it’s hard to see children of urban areas amusing themselves with anything but Barbie dolls and Hot wheels and Lego, but kids from the rural areas of India still enjoy a good time with these simple clay toys. It’s only in these toys that India’s true ethnicity can be admired.
It’s truly baffling how creative the craftsmen of our country are, with their ability to weave in any aspect of our heritage into our products and giving it a sense of true Indian bliss. This creativity and admirable imagination of these craftsmen have given output of crafted toys and dolls of varying shapes and sizes which depict tradition from the prehistoric times. By putting together natural elements in a timeless and smooth manner, the toys created mostly always referred to events from prehistoric times, and even imaginary events like myths and folklore. For example, Janmashtami, which was the story of Krishna’s birth was entirely related to clay dolls.
These toys were truly representative of wisdom and traditional heritage. These dolls and toys were generally made of all-natural materials, like stone, clay, wood, leather, and even fur! Sometimes, even a mixture of sawdust, clay, and cow dung was shaped into dolls and coated with paints. Every region of the country had a distinct process, with a distinct style and natural materials used. No one toy would be the same, and they all told an individual story of their own. Orissa’s tradition is rich in wood crafted dolls much to the likes of Varanasi in Lucknow, and Kondapalli in Andhra Pradesh.
These beautiful wooden toys came in the form of mythical creatures, animals, birds, etc. After carefully carving the wood, they were coated in bright and bold paints or vegetable dyes to add more essence. Varanasi is also famous for its lacquered toys and miniature utensils. Yes, those very miniature utensils you would’ve seen in videos where an amateur chef is making miniature food! Andhra Pradesh is also known for making leather puppets, which generally represent mythological characters. Their puppets were known to be as tall as even five feet! Madhya Pradesh is known for making dolls out of cloth, and they also make stuffed leather toys which are mostly in the form of wild animals. Regions like West Bengal and Assam are famous for terracotta toys, and most of their toys are made of pith. Rajasthan is known for making dolls out of unbaked clay. There is so much diversity in every region, it’s hard to list all. But it’s all very fascinating on its own.
It’s time you get your hands on one of these toys too! Add them to your home space to get an ethnic charm you didn’t know your house needed. For further ideas to rejuvenate your home space, you can click here.