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Welcome to the toy town


Channapatna, also known as “Gombegala Ooru” (the toy town of Karnataka) is located in Rural Bangalore along the Bangalore- Mysore state highway. The town is famous for its hand-made wooden toys.

 Though the wooden toys of Chennapatna continue to sway in the music of global glory and fame, artisans who have devoted their lives to this art resonate their grief...

Meet Nasir Baig

Sitting in the dimly-lit room amidst the clutter of wood cutting machines and the noise of lathe machine belt-drives Nasir Baig, 43 is a skilled toy maker for the past 35 years. Baig learnt the art along with fellow toy makers in the factory.
The factory includes six machines and stacks of wood all over. Sacks full of colourful finished toys ready to be sold are scattered over the place.
“Everyone can relate to wooden toys, they are timeless. These toys are more durable, environment friendly and child safe.”

Chinese toys on the other hand do not have a good finishing. They often have sharp edges and use chemicals that are hazardous for children.
Nasir Baig along with his unit of artisans manufactures spinning tops, bangles, key chains, abacus, puzzles, showpiece items, gift boxes and components of bigger toys that are assembled in larger factories later.  The toys are delivered to wholesalers, retailers and local shops soon after the manufacturing. Wholesalers sell these toys further to emporiums.

“I hardly earn Rs300-400 a day, the amount is not sufficient in today’s time. I sell a toy for Rs 10 and the middle man makes all the profit”, laments Nasir, the father of three.
He has been returning from the doorsteps of the govt offices dejected and gloomy for being denied validation for the past 35 years. This validation could be a ticket to better sale, but ends don’t seem to meet. The toy makers who are associated to the government get a better price.meet. The toy makers who are associated to the government get a better price.

The art is fading away

"Three out of six benches in our factory are empty. We don’t get workers. They are rapidly vanishing "
Nasir Baig

The toy town has seen a constant migration of toy artisans. Five years back, toy makers in huge numbers migrated from Chennapatna to neighboring cities and other towns in search of better job opportunities.
Blooming glam of the Chinese toy world and the inability to match up to the jazzy crafts of contemporary market snatched the light off wooden toys. Artisans resorted to all sorts of odd jobs. Many of Nasir’s friends have migrated to Bangalore as electricians and helpers in small shops.



Time to revive the toy story

“We need support, the toys require reinvention”


The traditional process of wooden toy making demands a savior in form of government aid and startups. For the purpose of competing and being at loggerheads with the city lights, Channapatna toys require innovation in terms of design, progressive marketing strategies and schemes and support for the artisans.
These efforts can help the traditional toy makers return to their homeland, to their beautiful toy town.

#be the change #visit Channapatna # buy a toy











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