Hyderabad: Kondapalli Bommala Koluvu handcrafted toys caught the fancy of several people at a mall in the city. On display were 25-30 dexterously carved Kondapalli toys that typified life in villages. Kids were especially keen to understand the stories behind the toys, which were painstakingly explained by the artisans.
Artist D Varma, practicing this art for 34 years, said that bullock carts, elephants and Krishna ten avatars are most in demand during Dasara.
He said, “We try to highlight lifestyle in villages, their tradition, culture and everyday chores. Our Kalyanam Mandapam also features the priest and musicians present during the ceremony. Lord Krishna, cows, Lord Ram, Lakshman and Sita are depicted during the Dussehra, Diwali and Sankranti,” he said.
Doll set-ups signifying a vegetable market, children learning music, boats, and pongal preparations of Pongal caught the attention of youngsters. Many of them were unique compared to the soft toys all over.
“I like to decorate these toys with my mother every year for Dussehra. Also I can connect with vegetable markets, cows, lord Krishna unlike soft toys” said Lalityha Sai Peddi.
Two more children Sri Nitya and Sri Ram said that they love watching such toys, which they have aplenty at home.
“We have so many bommalus. We buy at least a few every year. They are attractive. Our parents explain to us about the toys in detail,” they said.
The artisans said that demand for these toys have increased as people are taking more interest in knowing about one’s culture and traditions. It takes at least 2 months for the wood to dry first for making the toys.
“It is not an easy job. The weather has to support us. We need a dry climate so that the wood dries for 2 months. Then we design our own toys and handcraft them, do the whitewashing and polishing after which they are passed on to painters,” said senior artist U. Naga Raju.
Artist Varma added, “Earlier our monthly income was a mere Rs 5,000. Now, we earn around Rs 20,000, thanks to the increase in demand for Kondapalli toys....