The practice of woodcarving existed in India from olden times. The ancient temples and palaces stand witness for this art. Each state in India has developed its own style of wood structures and carvings. Locally available wood varieties and local customs influence this art a lot.
Kerala, with an abundant forest reserve, has one of the richest traditions in woodcarving. Early temples and forts are the best examples of the woodcarving styles of Kerala. Also, the ancient houses, which have carved doors, windows and ceilings, are memorial of the high level of craftsmanship and tradition of woodcarving.
This art is implemented mainly on sandalwood and rosewood, which is known for its natural shine. In some cases even cedarwood and teak is used. Life size idols made in wood show a high level of artistry with their detailed features and poses, reflecting the rich culture of the state. The most popular theme is Kathakali dancers. Other popular ones are the idols of deities and mythological figures.
With Kerala being an important tourist destination, small figures showing elephants are very popular. These figures form an important souvenir for the tourists. An extra ordinary piece of wood craft is the Netturpetti, a conical shaped jewellery box containing brass edgings at the corner. Other popular wood products include decorative furniture, paper weights, lamp stands and other similar accessories.