Channapatna – The Town of toys

I hope you had a fun Diwali – gifted “Assorted sweet” boxes to friends, watched a whole lot of movies and celebrity interviews on TV, ate lots of sweets and savouries and burst red forts. After a long time, I burst my favourite “sara vedi” (Red fort electric crackers) and it was fun. I hate the super-loud heart-stopping atom bombs. They’re too sudden and just way too loud. The red forts are quick, electric and have a wonderful beat to them – tappa-tappa-tappa-tappa-tappa. The blog has taken a backseat the past couple of weeks because of office work, Diwali and Nombu. I am back today with a really useful post for Moms. Party favour Alert!

On the speed-breaker ridden Bangalore-Mysore highway is the beautiful little Toy Town, Channapatna. Channapatna is home to the most beautiful, colourful, ingeniously designed wooden toys. These are handmade toys that local craftsmen have been making over several generations. 

channapatna toys

channapatna toys

You’ll find lots of traditional toys here – vibrantly coloured tops, the old-style wooden walkers, miniature wooden cars, scooters, bullock carts, beautifully painted nested wooden dolls (matryoshka dolls), several varieties of wooden rattlers, wooden barrel type piggy banks and so much more. You’ll also find a variety of beautiful articles in wood – fruit bowls, trays, rolling pins and rolling surfaces, spatulas, coat-hangers, intricately carved side-tables, key chains, mini-idols, hair clips, painted bangles and jewel boxes.

channapatna accessories

These little shops dot the sides of highway for about a few kilometres on either side of Channapatna town. These shops are little treasure troves of wooden toys and knick-knacks. I can spend hours in these shops but I can’t. I have my kids and we’re always in a hurry while travelling. We spent just under an hour at Channapatna and our already jam-packed car was near bursting at the end of it. But I was one happy mom. I’d picked up 60 mini tops as birthday favors for Yuvi’s classmates next year. He’s not even in school yet. But a Mom’s got to plan. Moms live from birthday to birthday to the next festival or function.

channapatna toys
Wooden tops – Next year’s birthday favours – done.

I also found these adorable pencil toppers – colourful animal and clown shaped toppers with tiny fans that you can blow to rotate. I grabbed a bunch of these as well. I was quickly going insane. Since Channapatna is so far away for home, there was an extra “Last day of Sale” feeling. I had to stock up as many pencil toppers and tops as I’d need for the next year. It’d be another year before we travel that way and what’d I do if I run out of those cute pencil toppers. Yikes!

channapatna toys
Aren’t these too darned cute?

I found the prettiest sun-flower shaped coat-stand that I simply couldn’t resist. It is not pictured here. It’s so beautiful I wanted to take a befittingly beautiful photograph of it hanging on a neat white patch of wall, but would you believe I couldn’t find one. My kids have scribbled all over. Hung on the wall, the coat-stand would make any room pop. I’d hate to hang my clothes on it though. My husband bought a wooden barrel shaped piggy bank although he never saves. We bought a couple of those cute little wooden cars and scooters for the kids.

Now you may find some of the same stuff in Handicraft exhibitions that are there almost year-round in many halls in the city or at some specific toy stores. But they’re all ridiculously marked up here. The best thing about Channapatna is that most of their stuff is so cheap, so reasonable, you cannot help but grab like I do. If I was in Bangalore or Mysore, I’d make a day-trip to Channapatna everytime there’s a kid’s birthday around. Seriously. If you’re on Bangalore-Mysore Highway, you absolutely have to stop at Channapatna. These shops are the best places for party favours, gifts, play things, toys and favours for your next Golu and wooden knick knacks.

channapatna toys, cheap kids party favors

You can quite easily find Channapatna on google maps. Or just keep an eye out for little wooden rocking chairs and mini-hammocks on the roadside. Stop right there.
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