Posts Tagged ‘navaratri’

Navaratri (Nine Nights) Festival over the years…

October 9, 2013

I used to have small “golu” every year, until my daughter left home. By that time, it was difficult to set it all up by myself, without anyone to appreciate it, and even worse to put it away…so I gave up the yearly practice. (My golu dolls still lie in a trunk in the attic of my flat.)

I just received email invitations to several friends’ homes here, and I fell to musing on the festival…and I thought of this song from the movie,”Navaratti”, where Sivaji Ganesan plays nine roles.

Though I am not parituclarly fond of this rather contrived song, it shows the traditons of a few decades ago.

Golu, or Kolu

Apparently, the word means, “divine presence”.



is a post of mine, with a photo I took of my friends’ golus.


is a post I made about Navami (Saraswati Puja, in Bengali, Sorosshoti Pujo).

And, finally,


is a post from my blog on Citizen Matters, with a lot of photos associated with the 10-day festival.

Happy Navaratri to all my friends who celebrate it! I will be visiting some friends here in St.Louis over the weekend, and will share the photos, too.

Pujo in south Bangalore…Citizen Matters

October 10, 2011


is my writeup about two pandals in south Bangalore.

Kolu at Crystal, 290911

September 30, 2011

I decided to visit my friends Ganu and Hema, and their daughter, Janani, who’s recently come home for good, after having done her Masters’ degree at Pittsburgh. They always put up a lovely display for Navarathri:


<lj-cut text="want to see the kolu?"

Here it is, with the flash, which I don't prefer:


A “kolu” or “golu” is supposed to be a representation of the universe, so anything you wish to can be put in….human beings, animals, gods, flowers….Here’s an idol which is half Ganesha, half Hanuman, that I’ve never seen before:

S all kolu pics dublicate 290911

These dolls/figures are often sold in “sets”. Here’s a beautiful set of Mamallapuram, or Mahabalipuram, on the shores near Chennai:


There is also a lovely seascape painting to be used as a background. Don’t miss the details like the lighthouse, and Arjuna’s Penance, or the various caves!


There was one display of a forest (Bannerghatta?) where tigers and giraffes co-exist peacefully:


There was one display of a temple procession…don’t miss the couple who are prostrating themselves on the ground!


Another tableau was of Kailash, the abode of Shiva and his family. Cotton-wool snow completels the icy look of the Himalaya:


I enjoyed seeing a wedding in progress, and childbirth seemed to have occurred almost at once, because the adjoining scene was one of the parents getting the boy’s ears pierced, ceremonially!


Visitors were given sundal ( a lentil preparation) and pAl pAyasam (a milk-and -rice sweet porridge) and ladies came to visit, and sang for the gods, and the worlds they saw before them. They were given betel leaves, areca nuts, turmeric and sindoor, and a large coconut, and a little gift, too.

Thank you, Hema, Ganu, and Janani, for letting me share your festival!

Navaratri Kolu….

October 17, 2007

These were taken at my friend Hema’s place…one of the many visits I am making this week (I don’t “keep” this display of dolls any more!)…

Let’s start with the main display; the steps are always an odd number, 3,5, 7, I guess the days of 9-step Kolus are gone,except in the homes of large joint families!)

the main kolu

On the floor is the “rangoli” done with coloured powder, flanked by silver lamps on both sides.

The first step contains a tableau of Kailasa, the abode of Shiva; the whole family, Shiva, Parvati, Karthik and Ganesha, are there.

The second step tickled me mightily. It contains the ten avatars of Vishnu, but flanking those are: a Ganesha in a suit…and a figure of Winston Churchill, complete with cigar (to the left as you face the kolu.)

The third step has dolls of Karthik, and Krishna flanking various others.

The fourth step has, amongst the other dolls, the “kalasham” (pot filled with rice and other auspicious stuff, and surmounted by a coconut set amongst mango leaves) that many people install and worship, all the nine days.

On the top step are various forms of the goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity, the wife of Vishnu.

To the right of the main kolu is a tableau that includes a zoo, but what really caught my eye was the new tableau of…Mahabalipuram! Hema apparently bought the set along with the painted backdrop of the sea; please note the camera-toting tourist in front of Arjuna’s Penance!

mahabalipuram scene 141007

There is also a small navagraha (nine planets) temple at the left-hand corner of the picture.

To the right of the Kolu is this wedding scene:

the wedding scene

The bride and groom, wearing garlands, sit before the sacred fire with the priest; other guests are approaching with the nAgaswaram and thavil players.

On the ground under the wedding scene are two more tableaus:

the cricket and the Garuda Sevai scenes

One is, of course, a cricket match, cricket being the unifying religion of India!

The other one is “garuda sEvai”, the procession of Vishnu and Lakshmi astride his vehicle,Garuda (the brahminy kite, we think!) You can see the palanquin bearers, the decorative umbrellas, the devotees and the musicians in the procession.

Outside her home, at the front door, and at the gate, are these two beautiful kOlams done by her housemaid:

star kOlam

plus kOlam

Guests (usually ladies, but men do join in sometimes) get to eat some sweets and savouries (including that Navaratri speciality, sundal, a different one made every day!) and take home vetthalai-pakku, that is, betel leaves, areca nut, some fruits and a coconut, with vermilion and turmeric.

Happy Navaratri/Saraswathi Puja/Durga Puja/Dusshera to you!

Enjoyable stuff….

October 2, 2006


I used to think, when I saw funny notices or hoardings, ” I wish I could photograph that”…well, this time, I had the digital camera (well, the Pujo photos were by KM) and here are two delights:

IMG_0003 Free women....

Either they tailor free women and give them to you, or they don’t charge for tailoring women…take your pick. This is in Ulsoor. (and remember, this is only the nursery section; they have an advanced section somewhere.)

And now for the stall at the Pujo:

IMG_0020 Organied...hmm...

Er…would anyone like to try a Bengali organ? Or would you be filled with “concern”?

You can imagine my joy when I spotted these yesterday!

Durga Puja, 1 Oct 06…Ulsoor and Jayamahal, Bangalore

October 2, 2006


Here she is, the mother Goddess, Durga, destroyer of the demon Mahishasura (demon in the form of a buffalo)

IMG_0029 Durga Puja, 06

Durga’s vehicle is the lion. The decorations behind the idol are traditionally made of pith; nowadays, thermocole takes its place!

More pictures under the cut

Navaratri at another friend’s place

September 30, 2006


Here’s my dear friend and neighbour lighting the lamps in the evening, in front of her golu:

IMG_0001 Mythreyi lighting lamp

She has placed her daughter’s veena next to the doll-steps;I have never seen her playing it, I don’t know if she knows how to!…. I wish I had photographed it better! She is wearing a Pochampalli saree, made in Andhra Pradesh. My friend is very beautiful, quite apart from her sweet face and her lovely hair….I think she is beautiful because of unfailing helpfulness and ready smile. My picture of the golu itself is suffering from shake, so will re-do it tomorrow!

I haven’t been having “golu” since my daughter left home at age 17….but I enjoy looking at other’s decorations!

Population Explosion here too!

September 29, 2006

Here’s one display, at my neighbour Sujatha’s place:


Will be posting a couple more later in the evening..rushing off now!

I changed the subject title after wondernoon pointed out that the golu seems to be reflecting India’s population explosion, and lack of urban space!