Navarathri Golu

Its festive time everywhere in india with a difference that people call it with different names and celebrate differently . WIth the start of navaratri people are busy here preparing for Golu/kolu . Heck !! i dont know how it should be written ..tamil script is confusing 😦 . Anyways There are not many Tamil readers of this blog so i thought it would be a good idea to write a post about something that people follow here religiously .

Now don’t fall into conclusions that i am religious just because i am writing the post ,Infact i am the worst in my family when i comes to religious activities. Last two days i have been helping my cousin in his preparation for golu . So wrting the post about it seemed the most obvious for me .With my mom and my sister away from home I dont have any source of info now to go deep into this but i would share everything i know 😉 .

chettiyar pic
chettiyar pic

Golu is a custom that is practiced here in tamil nadu  during the navarathri days  to worship goddess shakti/devi as mark of victory of good over evil.Three – three days are allotted each for goddess durga goddess lakshmi and goddess saraswati . Relatives and friends are invited to the house usually ladies and girls . As far as i know , the festival is purely for girls 😛 .

The First part in setting up of a golu is to form a  base structure that is steps  called as Padi ,which is usually kept in odd numbers. My grandparents used to have wooden steps those days but nowadays people have gone way ahead . There are ready made Iron steps available which after use can be dismantled and used like a shelf  . Arranging it is a tough job though .. IT took me and my cousin about 3 hours to arrange the iron rods .

Once the steps are ready , each of them  is decorated with small idols or dolls of gods or goddess . The first step usually has a chettiyar doll like the one u can see at the right side. Other steps are decorated with various colorful dolls of various gods or anything that appears good ..

Shopkeepers keep their shops stuffed with dolls  well before the festival starts and the Creativity of the doll makers has added more beauty  . A group of women praying in front of tulasi plant , a ramayana set ,  DASAVATHARAM are some examples of innovations that doll makers have brought into this festival .  Dasavatharam set  being the latest craze  consists of 10 dols each portraying one of the 10 avatars of lord vishnu .Infact its the latest craze and my cousin bought a set too 😉 .

The creativity doesn’t end with just doll makers . Once their steps are decorated with thes colorful and lively dolls  people try something creative too  like setting up a  miniature park , zoo  ,a cricket match or anything else one could think of .

Once the Golu is set , people form the locality ,relatives are invited to the house . Mostly its the girls and ladies ( like i said before women’s festival) . On a lighter not guys are usually waiting  for this festival so that they could see some good looking girls  however i have been always unlucky on this part  😦  .


Girls sing kirthanais (bhajans !!! hope i am right) to please the gods. At the end they are given some gift and sundal to eat. Sundal is a dish made up of items like groundnuts ,peas etc. For each day a unique type of sundal is made which makes 9 different recipeis for the whole navaratri . Sundal is basically popular with the little ones. Although i had no interest in golus during my childhood i used to visit each home with my mom just to bring back sundal. The amount of sundal i collected those days was enough for me to survive on for a week . 😛

The festival’s end is marked by changing the position of a special doll (whose name i forgot) The doll is laid down horizontally which symbolically puts them to sleep . Then all the dolls are removed one by one and put into a trunk or whatever can hold them all . Next year same thing is followed with the additions of new innovative dolls.

Oh …btw here’s the golu at my cousin’s house ..

38 responses to “Navarathri Golu

  1. Oh wow! this is an amazing set-up! Thanks for the detailed information and Happy Navratri!

  2. I am a Tamilian too dude. 🙂 And I will upload a picture of the Golu arrangement in our house too. 🙂 I too am not that religious. But The arrangement and decoration is fun. And the Sundal can also not be missed. 😀

  3. I don’t like festivals very much ….. loads of personal reasons 🙂

  4. Hey Happy Navratri to you, must add that is a wonderful setup.

  5. Wowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

    just amzing one!!

    beuatiful decorated ARvind..
    but was wondering if the festival is for gals…what u r doin here ?? 😉

  6. ha nice and simple…in my house too we have kept the kolu…will post about it soon 😛

  7. “three days are allotted each for goddess durga goddess lakshmi and goddess saraswati ”

    In Bengali culture we celebrate durga puja and then after few days laxmi puja and then in what North Indians call Diwali, we celebrate Kali Puja and Saraswati Puja is done in JANUARY.

    Thanks for the informative post! I never knew about Golus. Incidentally I too have posted on Durga Puja.

  8. Woah, a lot of effort must’ve gone into making that. Especially the bottom, the zoo and all. Very cool indeed.

    Hope you enjoyed the girls in the festival. Oops, I meant, the girls’ festival. 😛

  9. Hey this is a very interesting article and good description of the festival. Nice Golu, a lot of work must have gone in and I guess you might have enjoyed it. I used to see or make sometimes Golu with my friends in the street with toys instead of Gods. used to be a lot of fun.

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  11. Happy navarathri!!!! 🙂

  12. Wow !! Thats so cool !! I had made a zoo once during childhood for Dussehra….
    I’m glad we have it here in south India….who wouldn’t want 2 weeks of hols ?!! 😀
    || As far as i know , the festival is purely for girls ||
    As if !! Hahahaa so there are a lot of chicks visiting your place huh ?! Good for you !

  13. unlucky??? why ???

    Even we keep dolls on the starting of Dasara.. Like you said, the same set of dolls made of clay or “plaster-of-paris” are used…ooh, yes, the sundal is prepared everyday 🙂

  14. Great post!

    I read about this recently in a short story, but cant remember the name!

    Awesome post…very informative…and beautifully arranges too. The chettiar is cute 😉

  15. Lovely pics, man! I did not know anything about Navrathri!! Hehe! It was a nice read! 😀

  16. @ kiran
    thanks ..same to u too 🙂

    LOL.. .yes it is fun 🙂

    😦 .u dont like christmas too :O

    thanks .. 🙂

  17. oh i love golu festival ! its called gombe kursadu here 🙂 in layman terms !

    i think u r talking of d pattu gombai 🙂 which has a king n queen like look,they r first made to sleep 🙂 i too had kept these dolls once but now they r all locked up 😦 n we keep just 5 dolls —old times’s sake …

    hey i love sundal too 🙂 my mom makes it even for other festivals 🙂 its called “usli” in kannada 🙂 oh i love festivals 🙂

  18. btw sorry,havent been alive n kickin on the blog o sphere,readin all ur posts today 🙂

  19. @chakoli
    the festival is for girls but the physical work has to be done by guys … 😛

    post it soon buddy

    saraswati puja in jan. ???
    we celebrate it after dushera i guess.

    thanks dude 🙂

  20. @dinesh
    yes i enjoyed it very much … 🙂
    same to u too 🙂

    lol …thanks 🙂

    unlukcy because no i haven’t seen any girl till now in that function .. 😛

  21. @scorpria
    thanks ..and yes chettiyar is indeed very cute 🙂

    glad that u enjoyed 🙂

    oh thanks for the name..i have no clue what it is called..
    usli ??
    here usli is the name for some other dish i guess 😛

  22. happy navaratri Arvind. I didn’t know you celebrated navaratri. I hardly know anythng about this festival and it was interesting to read this and see the pictures.

  23. Thats a nice explanation about how we celebrate and how you enjoying navarathri 😉 U may have added that newly bought dasavatharam doll picture in this one.

    And Happy navarathri Arvind.

  24. I deliberately didnt comment here because I wanted to go for my first golu visit ever. The first few paras of urs kinda broke the suspense. You have mentioned almost everything man. But as u said, its not somethng we guys enjoy except for some of the sweets and snacks. and ya, the keertanas went on and on. But since everything was new to me, I didnt get bored. well described post buddy.

  25. btw, happy navarathri(better late than never, na?)

  26. @ nita
    thanks …and happy navarathri to u too 🙂

    happy navarathri ..yeah i should have added 😦
    forgot ..

    @ vimal
    happy navarathri ..
    thats good u visited and witnessed it all ureself…its always better to see than to aread 😛 😉

  27. Woww.. nice Golu!!!

    i had been to my friend’s house for golu and that is the only time i had fun… family i try to escape.. so boring….

    hope to meet u soon!!:)

  28. btw, just noticed the cute Koala on the elephant… nice!!! and the labels across the diff places… 🙂

  29. @ aarthi
    thanks …
    me too 🙂

  30. Nice post. Like the conversational tone. Plenty of reasons for guys to participate on some level:) I find it fascinating that some guys who have grown up [In India] with this in their family tradition have absolutely no clue about it when I ask them about it here (in US). Just because it’s ‘for girls’ it is part of your culture. Good job for you as a guy to know about all these things! Kudos. Being an American who lived in Chennai for a few years since I enjoyed Golu so much, I have also been doing this in my home here in US you can see my blog for more info 🙂
    Thanks again and Happy Navarathri!

  31. My parents stopped doing this arrangement long back. But it was anyways a lot of fun. Happy Dussera.

  32. Nice post & nice kolu 😉

  33. @jennifer
    welcome to entertainment (self proclaimed 😉 ) blog 😛
    yeah ..i know its quite odd to write a post on this being a guy,,
    thanks for visiting ,,
    happy navarathri .1!!

    @ varun
    even my fathers ancestors stopped doin it …only in my mothers side they celebrate it 🙂
    happy dussera to u too

    @ aparna
    thanks …
    Am i dreaming. .??/
    did u really comment or am i hallucinating 😛 !!!

  34. heheh.. don’t worry.. search for them 😛 i’m sure, u will find a good one…

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  36. That was beautiful 😉

  37. @ nova
    thanks 🙂

  38. Pingback: Final List of Nominated Posts « Visceral Observations

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