Nirmal toys are world famous traditional wooden toys that are exclusively made in the town of Nirmal in Adilabad district of Telangana, India. Nirmal Art is 400-year-old rich tradition that encompasses soft wood toys and attractive paintings as well as furniture, occupying its pride and place in the larger world of handicrafts.
The toys are made of finely carved wood. The town of Nirmal in Adilabad district has always been famous as a production centre for many items, especially war cannons and toys. The foundries established her supplied ammunition to Nizam army of Hyderabad state while he Naqqash craftsmen as well as artists contributed their skill in the form of the exquisite wooden toys and duco paintings which is collectively named as Nirmal Art. Hence, the legacy of Hyderabad Nizam’s is also one of the reasons why this art flourished extensively.
There are many elegant toys and paintings which are produced by these Naqqash artisans in this town which is located close to National Highway No. 7 and situated at a distance of nearly 220 km from Hyderabad. According to local traditions, the Naqqash families of Rajasthan migrated here during 17th century and it is they who brought this art. The Naqqash artisans initially produced these toys from the local variety of softwood. These are called poniki or even white sander. Since they also make use of the duco colours, the Nirmal paintings are known for a typical shine. The Nirmal toys are even painted in enamel colours, which bring a unique identity to them.
The novel talent of the Nirmal artists especially in synthesizing the Indian and Moghul schools of art is admired very much. The actual origin of the Nirmal craft can be dated back to the Kakatiya era. The motifs which are used in Nirmal craft are derived from the floral designs and frescoes found in Ajanta and Ellora art forms and the Mughal miniatures. There are many utilitarian and decorative articles created in Nirmal style. Nirmal toys are also painted with an herbal extract, imparting golden sheen. Nirmal toys are popular as they are embellished with exclusive and rich oil colours. The Mughal miniatures’ painting on the white wood ponki is considered as very attractive and is sold widely to collectors of art.
Nirmal paintings and toys have received a good market and impetus in Hyderabad over last few decades. The ‘Nirmal Industry’ which comprises of Nirmal paintings, and handicrafts, today commands the international market with good prices being fetched for the artisans and others who are involved in this trade. In fact, Nirmal toys are considered the pride of Telangana and the town has become synonymous with quality art, toys, paintings and furniture. The toys made in Nirmal are considered to be ideal for gifts and souvenirs and hence they are widely popular.
The Nirmal Toys Industrial Cooperative Society established in the year 1955 is home to many artisans and it is the principal toy making unit. It is said that a visitor to the Northern part of Telangana state wouldn’t return without buying something from Nirmal. The strategic location of the town connecting North and Central India with South India from several centuries has also contributed for the variety and exclusivity as well as the popularity of this art. The Nirmal toys and paintings are believed to be a perfect attribute for creative living spaces, office spaces and art galleries. The tradition of toy making by the local artisans is a matter of academic interest for craftsmen from all over the world and these toys are a brand in itself, which makes it appealing and attractive for everyone.