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 😉 .
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 ..