Wood comes alive in Tamil Nadu
The riches of the forests of Tamil Nadu are numerous. Wood is the most versatile material, lending itself to diverse uses. In the hands of the wood carvers of
Tamil Nadu, wood transcends beyond the realm of utility and becomes a work of perfectly executed art.
Craftsmen belonging to communities of woodcarvers who have mastered the art over centuries carve splendorous facades and interiors, doors, beams and brackets for temples and the homes of the rich merchants of
Madurai. Idolatry is naturally the most popular theme for the wood carvers and their communities flourish near religious centers such as
Tirupati where small idols of Lord Venkateshwar are in demand.
Woodcarvers of Salem are engaged in lending an old world charm to modern buildings with their intricately carved doors and beams.
Wooden toys, miniature trucks and autorickshaws, are all very popular with children at local fairs. Crude but attractive, with their bright and shiny colors, these toys bring joy to many a village child.
You'll find carvers of wood right through the country. Life in India, one is forced to acknowledge, simply cannot happen without them. They are so vital to the Indian way of
life : because they model wooden deities; they decorate our places of worship; they fashion all sorts of utensils like ladles, cooking spoons, and the critical rolling pins to make
chapatis ; they carve windows and doors of many a home in rural India; and they make exquisite furniture.
Woodwork goes back a long time. In the good old days of kings and nawabs, any palace or
haveli worth its name had to have incredibly carved doors, windows and
jalis . The Mysore Palace and the havelis of Old Delhi, Kashmir and
Jaisalmer in Rajasthan are a good example of such work. In recent times due to lack of appreciation , artisans have turned their hand to more commercially viable options like
artefacts, wooden plaques and furniture for urban homes. Master craftsmen can, however, still be found in the states of Kashmir, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Tamil
Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka.