Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Online Navaratri Golu(display of dolls)

If  Dussehra for me is synonymous with  Mysore, then Navaratri is synonymous with Mylapore.This suburb of  Madras will be bustling with activity now. People throng to worship at the 7th century Kapali Koil(temple). Though everyday is a festival here, it is more special here during these 9 days with lots of devotees thronging to see the deity's Alankaram(decoration), the traditional music and dance concerts and the 'golu' at the temple. 

During this time all(most) tamil households arrange dolls in steps called  ' Golu'.  It is customary to buy a new set every year and add to the collection of the old dolls, some of which are heirloom. The streets around the temple called 'Maada Veedhi'   has lots of make shift shops and push carts selling dolls. For those of us, away from mylapore/tamilmadu and especially those living in faraway countries can buy all these dolls online too.
Following are some of the clay and papier mache sets made by the artisans of South India.

KAILAYAM ( Abode of Shiva - Kailash)  -  a 14 piece clay set 
Kailayam is the abode of Siva. The set includes Siva, Parvathy, his vahana (vehicle) Rishabam, his sons Ganesha and Muruga sitting on the Kailayam Mountain. The other dolls included in the set are Vishnu, Lakshmi, Brahma, Saraswathi, Nandi with drums etc.

This set tells the story when Krishna saved the villagers and the cows from the continuous downpour of rain. He is lifting the Govardhana mountain and holding it by his little finger like an umbrella. The villagers, the cow and calf dolls are also included.


Uriadi kannan set contains 5 nos of beautiful clay dolls.Put these dolls in centre steps of golu steps.Lord Krishna's cowboy friends are around and help him to steal butter.This is one of the games  Lord Krishna played in  childhood. This scene potrays the lord as a person who steal as a butter and cheese from the house of a cheese maker. Cheese[white color] symbolizes our clean and pure heart.

                                                                   Azhagar Veedi Ula [clay]
This is a 25 piece set which is a representation of a famous festival in the Temple city, Madurai, Tamilnad. The Azhagar veethi ula/ street procession of god  is the main event in the festival and the dolls depicting the event would be agreat addition in the Golu

The court of  chola king 'Manu' ( synonymous with justice)
Thiruvarur was the capital during Manuneethi Cholan.  Manuneedhi Cholan was a legendary Chola king believed to have killed his own son to provide justice to a Cow, following Manu needhi(Manu's law). Legend has it that the king hung a giant bell in front of his courtroom for anyone needing justice to ring. One day, he came out on hearing the ringing of the bell by a cow. On enquiry he found that the Calf of that Cow was killed under the wheels of the Prince's  chariot. In order to provide justice to the cow, he tried to kill his own son under the chariot as a punishment to himself, i.e. make himself suffer as much as the cow. Lord Siva appeared in front of him and gave the life back to the calf. This is one of Lord Siva's Thiruvilayadal (Holy play) to show the world the just nature of the king. 
A stone sculpture depicting the story of the Manu Needhi Cholan (the chariot, the king, cow, calf etc.)  is found in Thiruvarur in Tamil Nadu, India.

AMMAN KOLAM (Brahmin marriage)
The bride and groom are carried by the uncles or fathers to the marriage mandappam (in olden times). There was a musical group around playing instuments and singing songs.These dolls are bright and sure to make most people nostalgic

KALYANA SET (South Indian Wedding set)
This clay  set shows the South Indian wedding. The dolls included are the bride (Kalyana penn), groom (mappillai), bride's sister, bride's parents, groom's parents, priest, his assistant priest, agni kund, ammikkal with attukkal( grinding stone), pots etc. This set contains13 pieces.

This set contains 25 clay dolls. Types of village houses and washerman with donkey, thatched house, postman with post office, small temple with gurukkal , school with students,  milk maid with cow are interesting . Both the village and vayal set can be best displayed by making a landscape, by spreading some sand below and trying to make roads with used dry coffee powder and small water tanks/ponds by placing water in  shallow dishes and spreading some ragi and wheat sprouts here and there. These sprouts grow into lush green lawns, making the golu more attractive.

Twenty pieces in this clay doll set. Arrange these doll set on floor front of the golu steps of sides of the steps.This set suitable for arranging with mountain, park, pond and village set.Something interesting for children to know cultivation, harvesting and bullock cart withcows.This set brings the farm in Tamil Nadu to your home. The farmer, bullock cart carrying the hay, woman transplanting the rice plant, woman carrying the bale of hay, woman removing the weeds from the paddy field, a man removing the grains from the hay, a man chafing the rice from the bran and more are included in this set.

POIKKAL KUDHIRAI SET( False footed horse) - A folk art of tamilnadu

Poikkal kudhirai is a great art performed in villages.This set contains 8 pieces.

                                                          PONGAL SET [clay]
Pongal or Sankranti is a harvest festival celebrated in Tamil Nadu. The set comes with the mother making pongal on a wooden stove, father, boy and girl. The house, Cow and calf are also included in the set. All the above have to arranged on a landscape like in village/vayal set

This doll set represents all the important monumental structures of the mahabalipuram.
Mahabalipuram,derived from 'Mamallapuram' is a town in Kancheepuram district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It has an average elevation of 12 metres (39 feet).Mahabalipuram was a 7th century port city of the South Indian dynasty of the Pallavas around 60 km south from the city of Chennai in Tamil Nadu. The name Mamallapuram is believed to have been given after the Pallava king Narasimhavarman I, who took on the epithet Maha-malla (great wrestler), as the favourite sport of the Pallavas was wrestling. It has various historic monuments built largely between the 7th and the 9th centuries, and has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
ref : wikipedia

All the above sets and the corresponding texts are courtesy from an online site here  which sells the above sets online.

This is  my online golu this time and the next 9 days are time to feast,fast and soak the festive air.

For information on Golu, read here.


  1. Wow, Awesome golu bommais. I just returned from a short trip to Chennai and was baffled by the golus in Madaveedhis, check my blog for pics. U brought back beautiful memories of childhood golu at my place, thanks for sharing.

  2. it looks lovely....in fact i never knew about these colorful display of dolls during Navaratri.

    THanks for sharing.

  3. hi its nice to see all different kind of clay dolls.. may i know the online websites which gives good deals of all these?

  4. Simply beautifully captured shots...lovely!

  5. interesting blog...keep it up,cheers!

  6. Most of the pictures and text from this write up are from navarathri.com. These dolls were procured by Mrs Sumathy Nagarajan who is living in Thirunallar near Karaikal. She is an awesome photographer and web designer who did all the web work. She inspired may from South India to get into the practice of setting up golu regularly.

  7. @ love the life - thanks for the info about mrs. sumathy nagarajan. the here link in the above post takes to navarathri.com

  8. Hi, Its amazing. i need to buy these dolls, could you please suggest me where can buy these precious dolls.i would love to buy each one of them. please let me know.

    u can mail me the address to shree.bhavya@gmail.com

  9. Hi Asha,please mail me the address where i can buy these golu dolls.please

  10. It would be nice if u could include the websites for buying these products. Thanks...


  11. Dolls making, sales and servic can be don hear
    Golu dolls, krishna jeyanthi dolls, vinyagar sathi and autha pujai dolls etc... all dolls can be get hear
    In chennai (tamil nadu)
    Near purasiwalkam
    Name is lakhsmi
    contac no. 8124233499, 9884647086