Thrissur is not only known as ‘Poorangalude Nadu’ (the land of festivals) but also as ‘Aanapremikalude Nadu’ (the land of elephant lovers). This love for elephants is embodied in a village 12kms away from Thrissur town – Cherpu. The elephants in Cherpu are not real though, they are sculptures made of wood. The village is blessed with skilful artisans who make these beautiful sculptures.
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Since elephant sculptures are one of the most popular souvenirs for tourists who visit the state, several places make these sculptures. But what makes the elephant sculptures of Cherpu special is the unique way in which they are made. The sculptures from Cherpu are made from a single piece of wood. Another Cherpu speciality is the white colour on the nails of the elephants’ feet.
The artisans of Cherpu have been perfecting their craft over generations, and make sculptures of various sizes but always from a single block of wood. Eetti and Vaaga are the types of wood used to make these sculptures. The making process consists of various steps like finding the right type of wood, making a rough model, carving, detailing and polishing, and adding finishing touches.
The artisans of Cherpu have organised to form The Cherpu Carpenter’s Co-Operative Society that works as a production centre and sales outlet of Cherpu elephant sculptures. The price of the sculptures depends on their size.
If you are an elephant lover or you have a love for handicrafts, the elephant sculptures of Cherpu are should be a part of your collection.