Sandalwood craft, also known as Chandan in India, is one of the most fragrant trees known to human beings. The use of Chandan is abundant in every Indian household and the name needs no new introduction- from being used as an antiseptic to a fairness remedy and as a wood for craft work, it is indeed a crucial part of our daily lives.
sandalwood crafts of karnataka
According to Hindu mythology, Sandalwood trees are blessed by the Gods with its unique and heavenly smell which is why they are used for performing pujas, rituals, and yajnas as prescribed by the Vedas. There are two primary types of Sandalwood – the Srigandha or white wood which is used for carving and the Nagagandha or red wood used for oil extraction.
Chandan trees grow in warm tropical forest lands and thus Karnataka is the primary place of production for these beautiful trees- with the rest of them being cultivated in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Karnataka is thus known as Gandhadagudi or the Abode of Sandalwood and the main areas of production in the state include Bangalore, Mysore, Shimoga and Sorab.
Being of a very hard texture, the white sandalwood has given birth to the Sandalwood Carving and Crafts industry in Karnataka, and this is one of their prime sources of industrial revenue. The art of sandalwood carving is more than a thousand years old and some families in the state have been performing it for generations – creating beautiful figurines renowned for the beautiful fragrance and exquisitely carved details which adorn the bodies of the sculptures.
Though the industry is most famous for its awe-inspiring figures of deities from the Hindu mythology such as Vishnu, Kali, Durga and Krishna, the carvings are not limited to that of Gods and Goddesses but they have expanded to include a wide range of objects. Many containers and wall paintings of Sandalwood are quite popular as they can be displayed and flaunted in any settings. Other products widely available are animal figures, wall hangings and other mementos which can serve as perfect gifts for your near and dear ones.
The high price of sandalwood has emerged as an important deterrent for the craft and many families have started going away from the trade. As conscious citizens of India, we must endeavor to popularize this craft and help in reviving this unique and centuries old tradition of Karnataka.