Toy story: As ‘boycott China’ chorus grows, hopes revive for Channapatna industry

Channapatna toys
Channapatna toys, made of ivory wood, has a long history tracing back to the times of Tipu Sultan, and has been accorded the geographical indication tag | Photo - Prabhu Mallikarjunan

On her first visit to India in 2010, former US first lady of the US, Michelle Obama, who accompanied the then US president Barack Obama, picked up a indegenious wooden toy made in Channapatna, Karnataka.

When they visited India again in 2015, the couple were gifted the handcrafted Channapatna toys, which got a geographical identification tag in 2006.

Known as ‘Gombe ooru’ in Kannada, the toy town located between Bangalore and Mysore in Karnataka houses nearly 3,000 artisans who make the toys.

The Channapatna toys have a long history. Erstwhile ruler of Mysore kingdom, Tipu Sultan is believed to have brought Persian artists to add creative bits to the artwork and train the local artisans.

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