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Village That Carves Tella Jilledu Ganapathi – Ganesha Idol In White Wood

Tella Jilledu is a type of white color wood and the Ganesha murti or idol from it is mainly made at Kadapagunta Village in Gangadhara Nellore Mandal in Chittoor in Andhra Pradesh. The murti is sold in important temple towns associated with Ganesh.

Today it is a small scale industry in the village. But the people who create the beautiful murtis were exploited by middlemen. But an NGO, Navodaya Yuvajana Seva Sangham, intervened in 2013, and is now offering them better options to sell the murti
P Hareesh writes about the origin of the Tella Jilledu and the village 
Story of how carving delicate Ganesha idols from white wood became a small scale industry in a sleepy Chittoor village started with one man’s efforts to learn something new. Twenty years ago, A Shanmugam went to Chennai to learn sculpting for a livelihood. Just a few months into his training, he got an opportunity to learn something unique. A group of sadhus approached his guru Subramanyam at Tiruvannamalai with a peculiar kind of wood and asked whether they could sculpt idols of Lord Ganesha from it. The wood—‘tella jilledu’—is considered auspicious. 
It took three years for Shanmugam to master the craft. He chiseled the idol much to the satisfaction of the sadhus. Armed with new knowledge and skills, Shanmugam returned to his village, Kadapagunta, in Gangadhara Nellore mandal, and started teaching the art to locals. Today, the village is famous for its ‘tella jilledu’ Ganesha idols. For the people, the availability of this wood in abundance at a nearby river is an additional boon.