Thanjavur Dolls

Thanjavur Thalayatti Bommai

The famous Thanjavur Dolls are traditionally handmade toys popularly known as the Thanjavur Thalayatti Bommai in the Tamil language. The doll’s continuous oscillating movement while shaking its head and body grabs our attention instantly. Thanjavur Dolls have been recognized as Geographical Indication (GI) by the Government of India as of 2008-09.

What makes Thanjavur Dolls so unique?

  • Thanjavur Dolls’ origination dates back to the early 19th century and forms a part of the rich heritage and traditional handicrafts of Thanjavur.
  • The exquisite style of the dolls is the work of skilled artisans and craftsmen of Thanjavur who are responsible for its wide appeal across the world. The dolls are made using plaster of paris, paper mache, clay and wax.
  • Thanjavur Dolls are generally a pair of king and queen. These lively, colourful dolls and their dancing style have a friendly welcoming aura. Their body movements especially shaking of heads is the most striking feature.
  • These dazzling dolls are so made that their core weight is at the bottom-most region and hence can manage to balance themselves elegantly. Also, the heads of these dolls are detachable from the body.
  • Thanjavur Dolls are of two kinds, the bobble-head style and the tilting doll style. The dancing girl and old man and woman dolls, which are a version of bobble-head, are very popular ones.
  • Thanjavur Dolls are perfect for decorating our home interiors and also to give away as gifts and souvenirs.
  • These dolls are primarily available at Punainallur Mariamman Temple in Thanjavur and are now available for purchase on online platforms.

Thanjavur Dolls are not just a beautiful piece of artwork but also signify the traditional Indian craft that we need to preserve, encourage and take pride in.