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Friday, October 4, 2013

Navrathiri Golu - doll display and shops of Triplicane

There are many festivals and each are unique in their own way….. the  festival of “Navarathri” is now on in South India.  This comes at the ascendence of moon in the month of Purattasi.  This year the celebrations have started today ~ Friday 4th Oct 2013 with Mahalaya Amavasyai.   The festivities are to Goddesses Durga, Maha Lakshmi and Saraswathi.    It is customary in Southern States to keep a display known as ‘bommai Golu” (display of dolls) in most houses. This is an ornate exhibition of various dolls and figurines of Gods, National Leaders, Fruits, Vegetables, Animals etc.,  Traditionally the dolls used to be made of earthern soil, now a days many are of paper.  The dolls are carefully kept packed throughout the year and are displayed during these nine days of “Navarathri”. Generally the doll display is on odd numbered tiers …. [specially erected golu padis]

Every day, people invite their near and dear.  People visit the houses of Relatives, neighbours and friends for seeing the Bommai Golu and for exchanging pleasantries.  Gifts are also given to visitors ~ the famous being ‘blouse bit’ which could go in circulation around……

Each day,  many offerings  including various types of sundal are made to the dolls.  The 9th day is devoted to Saraswathi, the Goddess of Learning and special poojas are offered to  Goddess Saraswati - the divine source of wisdom and enlightenment. Books, pens, education oriented things  and musical instruments are placed in the puja and worshipped as a source of knowledge.  Also, tools are placed in the pooja as part of "Ayudha Pooja". Vehicles are washed and decorated, and puja is performed for them.  Most shop keepers also clean their shops, have them white washed and conduct pooja praying for their well being.

The 10th day, "Vijayadasami" – is considered to be  the most auspicious day of all.  It is the day of evil being destroyed by good.  It marks a new and prosperous beginning. New ventures started on this day are believed to flourish and bring prosperity.   Many have the initiation of education for their children on this auspicious day. 

There are many types of dolls – there are those high quality, non toxic ones as also the cheap cost friendly plastic ones …. Somehow the plastic ones are not greatly admired for Navarathri Golu…. Ever head of a bobblehead doll, also known as a bobbing head doll – it is a type of collectible toy with its head often oversized compared to its body. They are not fashionable in this part of the World.

The ones favoured are the mud dolls of Gods, Achievers, animals and more.  There is this ‘thanjavur thalayatti bommai’ – one which would roll not only its head but its body when moved…. Of course there are the ones made of papier mache, a composite material of paper pieces or pulp sometimes reinforced with textiles………. Still the traditional ones made with mud leads….

In areas like Thiruvallikkeni, Mylapore, T Nagar, Perambur, Kanchipuram and more……shops selling beautiful dolls spring up….  Here are some representation of the Gods seen in ‘Bommai shop’ in Triplicane – venue nearer the Periya Thiruther of Sri Parthasarathi Temple.

The mood is one of festivity and bonhomie.  Here is a photo of ‘golu’ in our house. Do visit our house and share our happiness..

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

4th Oct 2013.

Lord Krishna…… and Ranganatha

Acharyargal Udayavar (above) and Sri Manavalamamunigal below 

Sri Hayagreevar
 Sri Narasimhar

 Lord Srinivasa in Yaanai vahanam and Chandra prabhai

 ~ the golu at home…

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