MSME Intellectual Property Facilitation Centre and NABARD’s Madurai Agri Business Incubation Forum supported Kulala Handicraft Artisan Welfare Association, who has applied for the Geographical Indication (GI) tag for the famous clay toys made at Vilachery in Thiruparankundram, Madurai.
The toys are made of clay from the Vilachery tank and nearby places. All the artisans here make dolls by using mould and paint them by hand.These artisans live around the villages of Vilachery, Melamathur, Keelamathur, Melakuyilkudi, Keelakuyilkudi, Thuvariman, Sambakudi, Karadipatti, Tattanur and Vadivelkarai of Madurai West taluk.
According to the historical details given in the application, the artisans of Vilachery worshipped at a Karuppannaswamy temple, which was 300 years old. The statue of the main deity of the temple was made of burned clay. The temple was developed and administered by Vilachery villagers. Inside the temple, one can see colourful mud horses of various sizes, which are donated by potters during the annual festival celebrated in the Tamil month of ‘Purattasi’.
Every year, new horses replace the older ones, which are dissolved in the pond. These are the evidence that people from Vilachery have been making clay dolls for long time.