Thinking of going on a cultural trip rich with India’s ancient handicrafts anytime soon? If yes, consider visiting India’s very own ‘Toy town’ Channapatna in Karnataka, and get a first-hand account of India’s ancient artisanship. By Yagnoseni Das
If you’re planning for a small weekend getaway or a road trip from Bengaluru, Channapatna is a perfect destination to explore. Popularly known as ‘Gombegala ooru‘ meaning ‘town of dolls’ Channapatna is known for producing unique wooden toys that are a reflection of the special craftsmanship of the toymakers in the region.
Discover Channapatna, the toy town of India
This little town is located around 70 kilometres from the city of Bengaluru, and the telltale sign that you’ve arrived at Channapatna is when you see streets filled with shops displaying beautiful colourful toys. The toys here are made from wood and vegetable dye and will impress the kids and the adults alike with their sophisticated yet playful craftsmanship. The wooden toys are organic and eco-friendly, devoid of any rough edges that make them safe to play with. This speaks for the amazing craftsmanship that goes behind the production. And one can assume correctly that the craftsmanship behind these creative and quirky toys have been passed down to generations in the toymakers’ family. The toys range from traditional ones to modern well-constructed puzzles — perfect for kids’ playtime or as an exotic piece of home decor.
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To get your hands on some colourful Channaptana toys head to the Bharath Arts and Crafts, which stores a wide variety of the town’s special toys. And in case you are curious, you can get a glimpse inside the production process of these toys in the factory that lies next to the store.
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After you have filled your bags with a few of the special toys, set out to explore the other must-visit spots in the little scenic town. This little town is home to a few places of worship that attracts quite a lot of devotee travellers from around with its Navaneetha Krishna temple, Kanva Maharshi Math and the Malur Aprameya. Kanva reservoir and the Kokkare Bellur Bird sanctuary that offers visitors sights of pelicans and storks is also some of the must-visits in the town. The town also has scenic spots such as the Igloor Barrage, a perfect backdrop for walks or picnics. The Brrahmalingeshwara betta, a small hill near the town also serves stunning views of the surrounding picturesque terrains.
The Heritage Winery of Channapatna attracts a considerable amount of attention. Explore the winery and the entire grape picking, selection and fermentation process with the wine tours that are offered there. And with an added cost one can also experience the process of grape stomping.
Channapatna can be reached by train from Bengaluru and Ramanagaram. About 20 trains pass through Channapatna on a daily. Apart from tarins, you can also take a small two-hour long road trip to the town from Bengaluru. The routes to the town have some scenic spots that one can stop at their leisure and enjoy.