THIS PRETTY VILLAGE , famous for its painted wooden toys, is dominated by the 8thcentury Hill Fort built by the Eastern Chalukya dynasty. Encircled by ramparts and towers, the fort was an impor tant stronghold in the Krishnan Valley under the Quth Shahis of Hyderabad , in the 16th century. At the crest of the hill, a steep climb up, is the mined Tanisha Mahal palace. The path descends past a deep tank, the granary and the armoury, to the Golconda Gate, which faces northwest towards Hyderabad.


The craft of toy-making has been passed down for many generations in Kondapalli. In the hands of the deft artisans, the light yet strong and flexible ponied wood is fashioned into distinctive figures of gods and goddesses, fruits and Meg- Stables , which adorn many r Andhra homes during festivals. Each part of the toy is E whittled into shape, and then glued together using a special tamarindseed glue. The piece is then covered with lime glue, which gives it a smooth finish. It is allowed to dry before being brightly painted in vivid blues, greens, reds and yellows, with touches of black.

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