Sep 30, 2009

Navarathri - A festival of dolls

In school days, apart from 2-3 weeks of mid-term holidays, Dasara was a special season - full of celebration, decoration, nice things to eat, lot of visitors at home....

Dad, mom and we would all arrange the steps, decorate walls and ceilings with color papers, hang silk curtains out of mom’s sarees, get down the big carton of dolls, stored in the attic, arrange them all, put serial lights, help mom with making many varieties of snacks and sweets for guests.....

And this was one time of the year when I would take my friends home, mom and dad would invite their friends, our teachers, relatives, people in the neighborhood, and the house will be full of visitors.....
It had been missing it all from the last few years. This time, I made up my mind to do it all, albeit in a smaller scale, in my house and relive those moments again. I convinced Dee and in-laws on this, got home a part of the packed dolls from mom’s place and started out the venture. Dee, who was reluctant in the beginning, had his creativity coming out of from some hidden corner and got so fully involved and made such good arrangements.

Top view of our park

We started out making a park first time, not sure how much of sand and mud should go in for some ragi to grow, and look green!!! With a lot of phone calls to mom, and suggestions from in-laws, we got it to a decent looking form.

We got little niece Hima on our side, by involving her, and giving her a role to watch out for anyone touching the dolls, and complaining about them to me! This made her feel responsible and engaged, and she never disturbed the set up. She in fact was so delighted that she kept on hugging me and telling me, “Atte, gombe super!!” Ahh... what a moment it was!
And she called this doll in the park, with a dog as "Hima and Bruno"...
Ok, so we arranged everything, in whatever little time we got. I realized how difficult it is to take out time for all these, after a tiring day at work....... We invited some friends, but couldn’t invite many more And managing so many visitors was also a challenge! But after all the efforts, it was rewarding. I felt great pride in saying these are my parents’ collection, most of them over two decades old, when someone asked about them. Overall, it was a good start, and hope we continue with it.....

Navarathri or Dasara is a festival of dolls in South India. Most of the households have a tradition of decorating and arranging a collection of dolls, during this festival for 10 days. A pair of wooden dolls of bride and groom, which is passed on to the girl during her wedding, is the most important one. In households having constraints of making a full fledged arrangement, at least these two dolls will be kept along with kalasa (kalash) and goddesses are prayed. During this period, friends and relatives, especially kids will be invited and sweets and snacks distributed to them.


  1. Wow !! What a wonderful tradition. I never knew there was such tradition of decorating dolls during Navarathri or is this your family who does it? I love the collection of dolls you have...its unbelievably good. Am glad you revived the tradition :-)

  2. Thanks Ricky.... To answer your question, i added a small note at the end of the post, giving s small detail about the festival in South India...

  3. sum.. nice one..

    but where is my copyright ?

  4. awwwwwww!!! I also just wrote a post on my childhood memories of golu...ayooo missing missing aiditchi after seeing ur post!!! So cute ya! Nice work!

  5. wished i would have come to ur place to see such a splendid decoration like this....

  6. dolls with heritage and history!glad to see them. Brings back childhood memories

  7. wow.. the golu is awesome.... brought back the memories of my visit to my friend's home back when i was a kid... esply I used to go thr for the food ;)

  8. Yea, read about it. Great !!