Lake City is famous the world over not only for its lakes, palaces, museums, Havelis and temples but also its handicrafts that include wooden toys. The makers of these toys and other articles deeply impress the visitors. Kharadikala, the art of moulding wood in various shapes with rounded edges is unique. It has a long history of about 250 years in Mewar and is said to have started in Marwar. The locality in which these worker reside and work is known as Kheradiwada. There used to be a large number of such workers in Udaipur. There were Khirni trees in abudance in the forests of Udaipur. But now the restrictions on cutting trees has affected the industry badly.
The workers used to get incentive from the govt. During the tenure of Chief Minister, Mohanlal Sukhadia every worker was given one ton wood free of cost. Subsidy for transport of wood was given by Chief Minister Harideo Joshi. When Vasundhara Raje Sinhdia was Chief Minister, automatic machines were given to the workers free of charge. In addition to this, they got free training.
Khirni wood is soft and flexible. First of all it is cut into small pieces and then they are heated and given the desired shape. The colours are made by the artists themselves. After colouring, the toys are polished.
Khirni wood is used as it is cheaper, soft, flexible and light. So the toys made with it are also cheaper and beautiful.
The toys have a great variety such as idols of gods and goddesses, animals and birds, puppets, small pretty boxes, colourful toys for children, flower pots, chess boards, Chaupad, table lamps, bangle stands, lamp stands, Jhoomar, tops, chandelier etc. They are in great demand in foreign countries, especially U.K., America and Gulf countries.
However, the non – availability of Khirni wood in the required quantity and the competition with wooden and plastic toys made in China that are much cheaper has become a big threat to the industry. All this has resulted in going down in the number of persons engaged in the industry and loss of jobs.