This is the golu display in my maama’s house .
Navratri is a Hindu festival of worship and dance.In sanskrit, the word "Nava" means nine and "Ratri" means Nights . During these nine nights and ten days , nine forms of Goddess Durga / Goddess Shakthi are worshipped and are as follows :


  • Shailputri
  • Brahmacharini
  • Chandraghanta
  • Kushmanda
  • Skanda Mata
  • Katyayani
  • Kalratri
  • Maha Gauri
  • Siddhidatri.

 Traditions and Rituals of Navratri :

The festival of Navratri is celebrated twice in a year. Once in the Hindi month of Chaitra (March – April) and again in the month of Ashwin , ( Puratasi , September – October) . And this festival is celebrated in different ways throught India.
In North India : There are five Navratris devoted to the worship of Goddess Shakthi. of which only three are celebrated now :
  • Sharad Navaratri / Maha Navratri – September to October
  • Vasant Navaratri – March to April
  • Ashada Navaratri / Guhya Navratri – July to August
The sharad navaratri culminates Dussehra and Durga pooja. The Dussehra of Kulu in Himachal Pradesh is particularly famous in the North. In Westbangal of Eastern India, the last four days of sharad Navratri is celebrated in grand manner as Durga pooja. This is biggest festival of the state. Exquisitely decorated clay idols of Goddess Durga depicting her slaying the demon Mahisasura are set up in temples and other places. These idols are worshipped for five days and then immersed in river. In Western India of Gujarat, Navratri is celebrated with the famous Garba dance.

In Southern state of Tamilnadu and to a lesser extent part of Andhra pradesh, Navaratri is called as Kolu or Golu. The word Kolu is orgined from the word in tamil : Kolu and telugu : Koluvai, Which means a soverign sitting in his royal darbar. It commences on the Amavasya day of the month of Bhadrapada / Puratasi . On the Amavasya day after finishing the rituals, like offering tarpana etc. the custom is, to keep the Kalash filled with rice, toor dal haldi sticks, betel leaves and nuts or mango leaves with a coconut on it. The most important thing is to keep two wooden dolls specially brought from Tirupathy. The wooden dolls are anointed with oil and bathed and decorated as bride and groom. The right muhurtam is chosen before placing the Kalash and the dolls for worship, with which the Kollu festival begins. The dolls are given to the girl from her parents during her marriage and are called "Marapachi Bommai". From this day she starts collecting dolls and observes the ceremony annually from South. Marapachi’ means a special kind of wood which has medicinal value too and Bommai meant dolls. This is done by constructing wide tiers or steps in any odd number, maximum being Nine .From the day the married girl gets the Marapachi Bommai.

And in Karnataka  :

Dasara also called "Navaratri", is the most extravagant festival of Mysore. This festival has been celebrated in Mysore with great pomp and show since centuries. This tradition is still carried on. According to Hindu mythology the festival celebrates and commemorates the victory of Goddess Chamundeshwari after slaying the demon Mahishasura and the triumph of good over evil. The Dasara festivities have become an integral part of the culture and life in Mysore.To celebrate this festival they light up the Palace of Mysore with more than 10,000 light during that period.Which is ofcourse a treat to the eyes.

The first three days of Navratri :
These days are devtoed to the worship of the Goddess Durga. Kumari, ehich signifies the girl child, is worshipped on the first day. Parvathi,who is the embodiment of a young woman is worshipped on the second day. Goddess Kali is worshipped on the third day , who represents the woman who has reached the stage of maturity.

Fourth to sixth days of Navratri :
The mother is adored as a giver of spiritual wealth , Goddess Lakshmi, who is considered to have the power of bestowing on her devotees inexhaustible wealth, as she is the Goddess of wealth.
 Final three days :
On these days Goddess Sarawathi , the goddess of wisdom is worshipped. Sarawathi pooja / Ayutha pooja day ,all the tools of the trade , pen , machinery, books, automobiles, school, work are given rest and ritually worship them and fresh start on the last day which is considered as vijayadasami day. A period of introspection and purification, Navratri is tradionally an auspicious and religious time for starting new ventures.
In the follwing procedure the steps are arranged with dolls : (starting from top to Bottom)
 Step 1 – 3 :
The clay dolls displayed are mostly from mythological characters. All Gods and Goddesses of our Epics and Puranas are displayed on the tiers which are beautifully decorated and look spectacular and colourful. for example, Garuda Vahana’ i.e. God Narayan taken in Garuda Vahan or vehicle is kept. The Kumbham filled with fresh water and the kalash is covered with silk cloth and a coconut , mango leaves are placed on top of it. This is kept on first step.

Step 4 – 7 :
These steps are devoted to saints, demi Gods, great men and even national leaders ,One of the items exhibited is the Marriage Set called "Melam Talam" i.e. the marriage procession of relations and friends led by musical players of clarionet (melam) and mridangam (talam). Then there, is the Dashavatar’ set, episodes from Ramayana and Krishna Leela. One can add more dolls but should not decrease the number. The festival lasts for nine days with arti, prayers Prasad daily mornings and evenings.
Step 8 & 9 :
The eighth step is devoted to various business and crafts dolls, like chettiar dolls – a businessman and his wife are seated and their commodities like rice, pulses and other utensils are kept in front of them.
The ninth step is the last step where the traditional wodden dolls called marapachi bommai are kept. are placed. Dolls of animals, birds, reptiles and other forms of evolution are also kept on this step.
On the 10th night after the ceremonial arti and prayers, the dolls are put to ‘sleep.’ And the next day, the exhibits are packed carefully in cloth or paper and preserved for use the next year.

During these nine days ladies are invited and offered haldi kumkum,betel leaves with nuts and fruits. In the morning sweets and evening chundals’ i.e. different chanas are offered to the ladies. During Kollu, old traditional women observe "Valluku Anaya" Valluku meaning lamp and Anaya meaning not going up. That is the lamp or diya once lit is continuously kept burning for twenty-four hours for ten days. Some people observe it even today. On the tenth night after the ceremonial arti and prayers the, Marapachi’ are put to sleep. And, the next day the exhibits are packed carefully in cloth or paper and preserved for use the next year. Vijay Dasami and Navratri are also the auspicious time for buying new clothes and feasting. Unlike other Vrats, there is no custom of fasting during Navratri Kollu.
Navratri Katha / Legend to be continued in next posting ….

Thanks to Bhavani ,for sharing few points with me.

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