Toys of India

When I bring to you coloured toys, my child, I understand why there is such a play of colours on clouds, on water, and why flowers are painted in tints.

Rabindranath Tagore

Lalit Bhatt
Lalit Bhatt

India is a diverse country with a rich cultural heritage, and its traditional toy craft reflects this diversity. With the new age technologies and phone in every hand, many of these traditional toys have lost their significance and is a slowly dying art. Many government and non-government agencies are doing their best to preserve them. 

Traditionally toys have been used as part of storytelling. Traditional toys date back to Indus valley civilization. Toys and dolls were found in the excavation of Harappa and Mohenjodaro. The compilation of toys from various states of India is done in this blog. If you think there are toy crafts which are missing here, please send a message to us using the Contact us at the bottom of page. also if you find a mistake in the information, please let us know on the same.

Wooden Toys of Women - Odisha
Wooden Toys of Women - Odisha

Ladakh

  • Chogdrel: a traditional wooden spinning toy made from a wooden rod with a carved or painted top that is attached to a string.

  • Dre-due: a simple spinning toy made from a wooden rod with a carved or painted top that is attached to a string.

  • Manjira: a traditional spinning toy made from a wooden rod with a carved or painted top that is attached to a string. It is a hand-held cymbals made of brass, used in religious and cultural events.

  • Mask dances – Mask dances are a traditional form of entertainment in Ladakh, and the masks used in these performances are often collected as toys or decorative items. These masks are often made of wood and painted with bright colors and intricate designs.

  • Prang: a wooden spinning toy that is similar to a dre-due, but is often more elaborately decorated.

  • Ladakhi puppets: traditional hand-made puppets made from cloth and wood that are used in Ladakh’s folktales and performances.

Jammu & Kashmir

  • Wooden toys – Wooden toys, including cars, trains, and animals, are popular in Jammu and Kashmir, made by skilled carpenters and painted with vibrant colors. Wooden toys are made of walnut wood using traditional techniques, and feature intricate designs and bright colors. Some of the popular wooden toys from Jammu and Kashmir include puzzle boxes, wooden animals, and miniature models of boats and houses. These toys are not only enjoyed by children but are also highly prized by collectors for their unique beauty and cultural significance.

  • Dolls – Dolls, made from cloth or felt, are a popular toy among children in Jammu and Kashmir. Dolls made of wool, dressed in traditional Kashmiri attire, are used as toys and for decoration.

  • Papier-mâché toys – Papier-mâché toys, such as horses and elephants, are made by molding paper pulp and painting it with bright colors. Dolls made of paper mache, dressed in traditional Kashmiri attire, are used as toys as well as in religious ceremonies.

  • Knitted toys – Knitted toys, such as dolls and animals, are made by skilled weavers using locally sourced wool.

  • Pashmina Shawl Weaving – Pashmina shawls are a traditional craft of Jammu and Kashmir and are used for warmth and as a fashion accessory. Children’s shawls, made from soft wool, are also popular as toys.

Punjab

  • Wooden toys – Wooden toys, such as horses and spinning tops, are made by skilled carpenters using locally sourced wood. Lattoo is a spinning toy made with wood. 

  • Chankana is a lollipop shaped whistle with a ghoongro in it. Ghuggu  is a rattle box for babies. Handwai which is a kitchen set. Traditionally they were made of kharia mitti (porous mud), which is replaced by wood over the years.

  • Dolls – Dolls, made from cloth or felt, are a popular toy among children in Punjab.

  • Phulkari embroidery toys – Phulkari is a traditional form of embroidery from Punjab, and it is often used to decorate dolls and other toys.

  • Beaded toys – Beaded toys, such as necklaces and bracelets, are made by skilled artisans using colorful beads.

Himachal Pradesh

  • Wooden toys – Wooden toys, such as horses and spinning tops, are made by skilled carpenters using locally sourced wood and painted with vibrant colors. Gudkhi is a traditional spinning top toy made of wood, widely popular in Himachal Pradesh.

  • Dolls – Dolls, made from cloth or felt, are a popular toy among children in Himachal Pradesh. Dolls made of cloth or paper mache, dressed in traditional Himachali attire, are used as toys as well as in religious ceremonies.

  • Knitted toys – Knitted toys, such as dolls and animals, are made by skilled weavers using locally sourced wool.

  • Woven baskets – Woven baskets, such as dolls’ beds and cradles, are made by skilled weavers using locally sourced grasses and fibers.

 

Uttarakhand

  • Wooden toys – Wooden toys, such as horses and spinning tops, are made by skilled carpenters using locally sourced wood. These are hand painted with bright and vibrant lacquered color. Damru which is a hand held drum and associated with Lord Shiva is famous.

  • Dolls – Dolls, made from cloth or felt, are a popular toy among children in Uttarakhand.

  • Knitted toys – Knitted toys, such as dolls and animals, are made by skilled weavers using locally sourced wool.

Below is a glimpse of various toy forms in India in different parts of the country. Please note that this is no way an exhaustive list. India is such a diverse and culturally rich country that it is impossible to capture all the variations in one map. Check the text for details on per state basis. If you find we are missing an art form please do contact us via the contact form at the end of the page. Art and culture is the best form of deliberation to connect humankind. 

Toys of India
Toys of India

Haryana

  • Wooden toys: Haryana is famous for its wooden toys, including carvings of animals, birds, and human figures.

  • Dolls: Dolls made from cloth, paper mache, and other materials, decorated with colorful clothes and jewelry, are popular toy crafts in Haryana. Clay dolls are also known as “mitti ke golu”.

  • Handmade toys: Other traditional toy crafts include handmade kites, spinning tops, and board games made from wood and other materials.

Delhi

  • Dolls: Delhi is famous for its dolls made from cloth, paper mache, and other materials, decorated with colorful clothes and jewelry.

  • Handmade toys: Other traditional toy crafts include handmade kites, spinning tops, and board games made from wood and other materials.

  • Marble toys: Delhi is also known for its marble toys, including miniature marble statues of Hindu gods and goddesses, as well as other decorative marble items.

Uttar Pradesh

  • Wooden toys: Uttar Pradesh is famous for its intricate wooden toys, including carvings of animals, birds, and human figures. Varanasi is famous for lacquered toys and miniature utensils. Chitrakut and Mirzapur are other famous centers for wood work.

  • Dolls: Dolls made from cloth, paper mache, wood and other materials, decorated with colorful clothes and jewelry, are popular toy crafts in Uttar Pradesh.

Bihar

  • Dolls: Dolls made from cloth, paper mache, and other materials, decorated with colorful clothes and jewelry, are popular toy crafts in Bihar. In rainy season, sisters make dolls for their brothers which are known as Kanyaputri dolls. Sisters will throw them in pond and brother has to bring it back.

  • Handmade toys: Other traditional toy crafts include handmade kites, spinning tops, and board games made from wood and other materials. In sikki, riverside wild grass is turned into toys and decorative.  Bamboo is wildly used as it is abundantly available. 

  • Terracotta toys: Bihar is also known for its terracotta toys, including figurines of Hindu gods and goddesses, as well as other decorative terracotta items.

Jharkhand

  • Dolls: Dolls made from cloth, paper mache, and other materials, decorated with colorful clothes and jewelry, are popular toy crafts in Jharkhand.

  • Handmade toys: Other traditional toy crafts include handmade kites, spinning tops, and board games made from wood and other materials. Raja-Rani painted on wood are known for vibrant color. Bamboo is widely used for making toys and other items. 

  • Terracotta toys: Jharkhand is also known for its terracotta toys, including figurines of Hindu gods and goddesses, as well as other decorative terracotta items.

West Bengal

  • Dokra toys – made from a blend of brass and metal alloys, these toys are known for their intricate designs and durability.

  • Galar Putul – Shellac dolls or galar putul is a unique art of doll making. Brindaban Chanda is the lone artisan remaining practising this.

  • Babu Putul – These are clay toys and apart from other toys are famous for Durga idols.

  • Terracotta toys – made from clay, these toys are known for their earthy color and versatility. They can be shaped into various forms and are a popular souvenir among tourists.

  • Nakshi Kantha – a traditional form of embroidery, Nakshi Kantha is used to create colorful, hand-stitched quilts and toys.

  • Alpana toys – made from rice paste and colored powders, Alpana toys are a type of traditional folk art that are used to decorate homes during festivals and special occasions.

  • Chau dance masks – used in the traditional Chau dance, these masks are hand-carved from wood and painted with bright colors. They are considered an important part of West Bengal’s cultural heritage.

Sikkim

  • Diki-Chhindo – A spinning top made of bamboo and wood

  • Ghyab-Dum – A toy bird that makes a chirping sound when wound up

  • Chorui-Jhyal – A bamboo horse with a string that makes it move

  • Ghyab-Ling – A toy drum that is played by rotating it using a string

  • Kauda-Dum – A bamboo toy that makes a sound when two pieces are struck together.

Assam

  • Bamboo toys – Bamboo is a popular material for making toys in Assam, such as bamboo horses, bamboo spinning tops, and bamboo flutes.

  • Dolls – Dolls made of cloth and clay are popular among children in Assam.

  • Kettle drum – A musical instrument that is also used as a toy.

  • Board games – Games like pithalat wa, a board game played with cowry shells, and dewli, a game played with sticks, are popular in Assam.

  • Mask toys – Masks made of wood, clay, and paper are used in traditional Assamese dance performances and also as toys.

Wood Carving for Lattu (Spinning Toy)
Wood Carving for Lattu (Spinning Toy)

Arunachal Pradesh

  • Bamboo toys – Bamboo is a popular material for making toys in Arunachal Pradesh, such as bamboo horses, bamboo spinning tops, and bamboo flutes.

  • Dolls – Dolls made of cloth, wood, and bamboo are popular among children in Arunachal Pradesh.

  • Archery sets – Archery is an important part of the cultural heritage of Arunachal Pradesh, and miniature archery sets are popular among children as toys.

  • Board games – Games like patti, a board game played with cowry shells, are popular in Arunachal Pradesh.

  • Mask toys – Masks made of wood, clay, and paper are used in traditional dance performances and also as toys.

Meghalaya

  • Bamboo toys – Bamboo is a popular material for making toys in Meghalaya, such as bamboo horses, bamboo spinning tops, and bamboo flutes.

  • Dolls – Dolls made of cloth, wood, and bamboo are popular among children in Meghalaya.

  • Archery sets – Archery is an important part of the cultural heritage of Meghalaya, and miniature archery sets are popular among children as toys.

  • Board games – Games like dae, a board game played with cowry shells, are popular in Meghalaya.

  • Mask toys – Masks made of wood, clay, and paper are used in traditional dance performances and also as toys.

Nagaland

  • Bamboo toys – Bamboo is a popular material for making toys in Nagaland, such as bamboo horses, bamboo spinning tops, and bamboo flutes.

  • Dolls – Dolls made of cloth, wood, and bamboo are popular among children in Nagaland.

  • Archery sets – Archery is an important part of the cultural heritage of Nagaland, and miniature archery sets are popular among children as toys.

  • Board games – Games like konrkum, a board game played with cowry shells, are popular in Nagaland.

  • Mask toys – Masks made of wood, clay, and paper are used in traditional dance performances and also as toys.

Manipur

  • Bamboo toys – Bamboo is a popular material for making toys in Manipur, such as bamboo horses, bamboo spinning tops, and bamboo flutes.

  • Dolls – Dolls made of cloth, wood, and bamboo are popular among children in Manipur.

  • Archery sets – Archery is an important part of the cultural heritage of Manipur, and miniature archery sets are popular among children as toys.

  • Board games – Games like sagol kangjei, a form of polo played on horseback, and chaphu, a board game played with cowry shells, are popular in Manipur.

  • Mask toys – Masks made of wood, clay, and paper are used in traditional dance performances and also as toys.

Mizoram

  • Bamboo toys – Bamboo is a popular material for making toys in Mizoram, such as bamboo horses, bamboo spinning tops, and bamboo flutes.

  • Dolls – Dolls made of cloth, wood, and bamboo are popular among children in Mizoram.

  • Archery sets – Archery is an important part of the cultural heritage of Mizoram, and miniature archery sets are popular among children as toys.

  • Board games – Games like chawnglaizawn, a form of chess, are popular in Mizoram.

  • Mask toys – Masks made of wood, clay, and paper are used in traditional dance performances and also as toys.

Tripura

  • Bamboo toys – Bamboo is a popular material for making toys in Tripura, such as bamboo horses, bamboo spinning tops, and bamboo flutes.

  • Dolls – Dolls made of cloth, wood, and bamboo are popular among children in Tripura.

  • Archery sets – Archery is an important part of the cultural heritage of Tripura, and miniature archery sets are popular among children as toys.

  • Board games – Games like chailla, a board game played with cowry shells, are popular in Tripura.

  • Mask toys – Masks made of wood, clay, and paper are used in traditional dance performances and also as toys.

Orissa

  • Patta Chitra – Patta Chitra are traditional scrolls made of cloth or paper that depict Hindu myths, legends, and stories. These scrolls are often used as toys to teach children about the culture and religion of Odisha.

  • Dolls – Dolls made of cloth, wood, and paper are popular among children in Odisha.

  • Wooden toys – Many places are famous for wooden toys like Raghurajpur artisan village, Bargarh in Sambalpur and Subarnapur.

  • Archery sets – Archery is an important part of the cultural heritage of Odisha, and miniature archery sets are popular among children as toys.

  • Board games – Games like chaturanga, an ancient form of chess, and pachisi, a cross and circle board game, are popular in Odisha.

  • Mask toys – Masks made of wood, clay, and paper are used in traditional dance performances and also as toys.

Damru
Damru

Chhattisgarh

  • Dolls – Dolls made of cloth, wood, and paper are popular among children in Chhattisgarh.

  • Bamboo and wood based toys.

  • Archery sets – Archery is an important part of the cultural heritage of Chhattisgarh, and miniature archery sets are popular among children as toys.

  • Board games – Games like chausar, a cross and circle board game, are popular in Chhattisgarh.

  • Mask toys – Masks made of wood, clay, and paper are used in traditional dance performances and also as toys.

  • Terracotta toys – Terracotta toys, such as figurines and animals, are popular in Chhattisgarh.

Madhya Pradesh

  • Dolls – Dolls made of cloth, wood, and paper are popular among children in Madhya Pradesh. Adivasi Bhil and Bhilala tribes from Jhabua are known for making hand crafted dolls representing tribal life.

  • Wooden toys – Dolls made with betel nuts by Kunder family in Rewa city is well known.

  • Tin Toys – toys made with machine parts, gears and pinions.

  • Archery sets – Archery is an important part of the cultural heritage of Madhya Pradesh, and miniature archery sets are popular among children as toys.

  • Board games – Games like chaupar, a cross and circle board game, are popular in Madhya Pradesh.

  • Mask toys – Masks made of wood, clay, and paper are used in traditional dance performances and also as toys.

  • Terracotta toys – Terracotta toys, such as figurines and animals, are popular in Madhya Pradesh.

Rajasthan

  • Dolls – Dolls made of cloth, wood, and paper are popular among children in Rajasthan.

  • Archery sets – Archery is an important part of the cultural heritage of Rajasthan, and miniature archery sets are popular among children as toys.

  • Board games – Games like pachisi, a cross and circle board game, are popular in Rajasthan.

  • Mask toys – Masks made of wood, clay, and paper are used in traditional dance performances and also as toys.

  • Terracotta toys – Terracotta toys, such as figurines and animals, are popular in Rajasthan.

  • Wooden toys – In Udaipur the craftsman use doodhia wood which is a soft wood. The toys are lacquered and polished with flowering cactus for increase in life and better looks. In Chittorgarh, the entire village of Bassi is engaged in making wooden products and toys. 

Gujarat

  • Gudli – a traditional string toy made from colored threads

  • Thigda Dhingla and Dhinglis – These dolls are made from waste fabrics called thigdas. This art of doll making is prevalent in the interiors of Kutch. 

  • Kite flying – Kite flying is a popular recreational activity in Gujarat and is also a symbol of the state’s cultural heritage.

  • Earthen toys – Earthen toys, such as horses and elephants, are made by molding clay and painting them with bright colors.

  • Bamboo toys – Bamboo toys, such as dolls and cars, are made by skilled craftsmen using locally sourced bamboo.

Daman & Diu

  • Tortoise shells are used by skilled craftsmen to create decorative toys and other items. 

Maharashtra

  • Warli art toys – Warli art is a traditional form of tribal art found in Maharashtra, and its motifs are often used to make toys and other decorative items.

  • Clay toys – Clay toys, such as horses, elephants, and chariots, are made by molding and painting the clay.

  • Woodend toys – Swantwadi is known for making wooden toys and Ganjifa playing cards. Wooden toys are madefrom Pangara and Mango tree wood. It is traditionally done by Chitrakar community. 

  • Bahatuktli are toy or miniature version of household items. Traditionally they were made with copper and brass. Now cheaper steel versions are also available.

  • Bamboo toys – Bamboo toys, such as dolls, are made by skilled craftsmen using locally sourced bamboo.

Goa

  • Goan toys are a blend of Portuguese and Indian culture and craft. 

Telangana

  • Nirmal paintings – Nirmal paintings are a traditional form of Indian folk art that originated in Telangana, and they are often used to make toys and other decorative items. It is aassimilation of Indian and Mughal art.

  • Wooden toys – Wooden toys, such as horses and elephants, are made by skilled carpenters using locally sourced wood.

  • Puppets – Puppets are a popular form of entertainment in Telangana, and they are often used to tell traditional stories and folklore.

  • Dolls – Dolls, made from cloth or paper mache, are a popular toy among children in Telangana.

Andhra Pradesh

  • Wooden toys – Wooden toys, such as horses and spinning tops, are made by skilled carpenters using locally sourced wood. Andhra is place to famous Kondapalli toys which are made in Kondapalli of Krishna district.  Kondapalli toys also go by name Bommala Koluvu. These are made of soft wood. Wooden pieces are heated to remove moisture. Different parts are carved separately and then glued. Ambari Hathi is a famous Kondapalli toy. The other variety is Etikoppaka Bommalu which is made by residents of Etikoppaka village located in Vishkhapatnam district. These are lacquer toys made using natural colors. 

  • Dolls – Dolls, made from cloth or felt, are a popular toy among children in Andhra Pradesh.

  • Puppets – Puppets, made from cloth or leather, are a popular form of traditional entertainment in Andhra Pradesh and are often used to perform traditional folk stories and songs.

  • Clay toys – Clay toys, such as animals and birds, are made by skilled artisans using locally sourced clay and painted with bright, vibrant colors.

Karnataka

  • Dolls – Dolls, made from cloth or paper mache, are a popular toy among children in Karnataka.

  • Wooden toys – Wooden toys, such as horses and elephants, are made by skilled carpenters using locally sourced wood. Channapatna toys is a well known name. It is primarily made from ivory wood though rose and sandal wood is also used. Because of its popularity Channapatna town is also known as Gombegala Ooru (Toy town).

  • Kinhal toys – Traditional wooden toys from the town of Kinal. Lightweight wood is used . Various parts are made separately and then pasted sing glue of tamarind, seeds and pebbles. 

  • Shadow puppets – Shadow puppets are a traditional form of storytelling in Karnataka, and they are made from animal hides and are used to create silhouettes of characters.

  • Gombe dolls – Gombe dolls are small wooden dolls made by the nomadic Banjara tribe in Karnataka, and they are often used as toys or as good luck charms.

Kerala

  • Dolls – Dolls, made from cloth or paper mache, are a popular toy among children in Kerala.

  • Wooden toys – Wooden toys, such as horses and elephants, are made by skilled carpenters using locally sourced wood. Coconut palm leaves, coir and coconut shell are used to create toys.

  • Puppets – Puppets are a popular form of entertainment in Kerala, and they are often used to tell traditional stories and folklore.

  • Kathakali masks – Kathakali is a traditional form of dance-drama in Kerala, and the masks used in these performances are often collected as toys or decorative items.

Tamilnadu

  • Dolls – Dolls, made from cloth or paper mache, are a popular toy among children in Tamil Nadu. From Tanjore Thanjavur dancing doll, traditionally known as Thanjavur Thalaiyatti Bommain are famous. Choppu saman are wooden utensils made of find wood and smoothened edges which are painted with natural colors. these are traditional role play toys for kids.

  • Wooden toys – Wooden toys, such as horses and elephants, are made by skilled carpenters using locally sourced wood.

  • Terracotta toys – Terracotta toys, such as horses and elephants, are made by molding clay and painting it with bright colors.

  • Shadow puppets – Shadow puppets are a traditional form of storytelling in Tamil Nadu, and they are made from animal hides and are used to create silhouettes of characters.

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