As the day of Vijayadashami ends, another Navaratri Golu is over, and it is time to bid goodbye to the Golu dolls for this year. As we symbolically place a couple of dolls to sleep on the steps before packing them away over the next couple of days (ideally the next day, but now as energy levels and work schedules permit for me!), I am already thinking about ideas for next year.
So here is a photo-essay of this year’s Golu for all of you as we
to the Golu dolls for this year….
The Central Traditional Golu
Step One and Step Two
My ready-to-use decked up kalasam (mainly for another festival that comes around August – Varalakshmi Nombu) with the coconut on it along with the AshtaLakshmi (Ashta meaning eight; and Lakshmi being the goddess of prosperity) take up step one. In addition, statues of Goddess Saraswati (the white statue towards the back on the left) and Goddess Meenakshi (the green statue towards the back on the right) flank the Ashtalakshmi idols. Read more about the AshtaLakshmi here.
The Dasha Avatar or Dashavatara idols are on step two, depicting the ten (Dasha) avatars (incarnations) of Lord Vishnu.
Steps three and four
Dolls depicting the story of Lord Krishna (an avatar of Vishnu) take up step three, while step four is like a veritable, albeit, human-Noah’s-Ark! I mean, all couples, including the Marapachi dolls I talked about in an earlier post.
Here they are, placed in the sleeping position to indicate the end of the Navaratri doll festival.
Step Five and the lamps
A traditional south Indian wedding set is on the fifth and final step of my traditional central Golu. While lamps from my mother-in-law are on both sides of another kalasam – this one with a painted coconut from the artists village of Raghurajpur near Puri in the eastern Indian state of Odisha.
My Themed Golu One: Puri Trip Memories
We visited the famed Jagannath temple of Puri, Odisha as well as the beautiful Konark Sun temple earlier this year. And this mini-themed golu shows the chariot on the top stop depicting the annual Ratha (chariot) Yatra (journey) at Puri. The presiding deities of the Jagannath Temple, Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra, are taken on a massive beautifully decorated chariots to another temple two miles away, and then make a return journey back to their home. Read more about it here. The middle step shows the three deities themselves with a priest, while the last step shows vendors selling their wares (like you will find outside the temple). On the floor is a depiction of the beaches of the area (using photos I took at the Puri beach and thermocol) and Konark temple (the actual temple used is the Perambanan temple of Indonesia).
My Themed Golu Two: Ganges Journey From Sky to Sea + Kashi Trip Memories
Below is my themed golu showing the journey of the holy river Ganges from sky to sea, combining mythology and geography, and a bit of convenience for me as well! According to mythology, Ganga was brought down to earth to help cleanse the . However, her power would have been destructive on earth. So King Bhagirath approached Lord Shiva for help, who then took Ganga in his locks first before releasing her to earth containing most of her power.
She then flows on south-east from the Himalayas, and finally meets the river Yamuna (pictured green in the photo) at the Triveni Sangam in Allahabad (also called Prayagraj). Next up on my golu, the Ganga moves on to Varanasi or Kashi, one of the holiest cities of India. As the river moves further east to meet the sea, she splits into a few tributaries. One of them is the Hoogli. As the Hoogli, she flows into the Bay of Bengal through the city of Kolkata (Calcutta).
I also have commemorated India’s 75th Independence Day and INS Vikrant (Prime Minister Narendra Modi commissioned the nation’s first indigenous aircraft carrier on September 2nd, 2022)
On the ninth day of the festival, we worship Goddess Saraswati (the goddess of knowledge and learning) and place our books (under the white cloth and pink flowers here) as well as musical instruments in front of her. The following day, we are supposed to start/renew our learning journey with her blessings. As children, we enjoyed the day of the puja since we were not supposed to study on that day. However, circumstances don’t always allow for that 🙂
And then the Whole
Before the Saraswati Puja
And after (will bid goodbye soon….!)
And Now, the End of the Post
Dear reader, hope you enjoyed this photographic journey through my Golu display as I bid goodbye to the dolls for this year. I look forward to questions you have about any of these dolls/customs/traditions, as well as any and all comments about the post itself.