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Wood carving is Karnataka’s one of the oldest crafts and is well known for sandalwood carvings and many other varieties of wood. Since many parts of Karnataka are covered by dense forests and provide abundant raw materials i.e. jackfruit wood, sandalwood, teak wood, white wood and rosewood. Woodcarving is traditionally practiced in Karnataka from ancient times, from old temples to the present date temples. It is believed that the craft was developed in the ancient temples, and used in the making of huge Ratha (Chariot), Doorframes, Pillar works and huge Mantapas (Pergolas). Udupi is also well known for its wood engraving.
Udupi is the main Centre of the Udupi district in Karnataka. The name Udupi is derived from the Tulu language, which means the ‘Lord of Stars’. The place Udupi is a hub for many traditional crafts like Woodcarving, Stone carving, Bhuta (Cult) figures and Metal Casting due to its historical background and also due to the famous temple of Lord Sri Krishna.
The artisans of Udupi are popularly known as Gudigars. Though the technology has improved a lot, the artisans of woodcarving in Udupi have practiced in the traditional manner using manual tools to obtain enchanting design works without using any automated tools and machines. Engraved designs are inspired by the Hoysala (A Dynasty of Historical Karnataka) style of the sculptor. The craftspersons also engrave the woodworks, which are required for house decorative, furniture, mythological figures and also for architectural purposes.