Keeping Golu During Navarathiri




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What is Navaratri?

"Nava-ratri" literally means "nine nights.".
Navarathri is celebrated in different ways in different parts of India.
Navaratri (also spelled Navratri or Navaratra) is a festival of dance and worship. The word Navaratri is made of two words: Nava (nine) and Ratri (nights).

During Navratri, Goddess Durga is worshipped in nine different forms.

Navaratri is divided into three-day sets, each devoted to a different aspect of the supreme goddess. The first three days are devoted to Durga (to destroy all our vices, impurities, and defects). The next three day set is devoted to Lakshmi (the giver of spiritual and material wealth), and the last set is devoted to Saraswati (the goddess of wisdom).


How Navarathiri is celebrated in Southern States of India?


In Tamilnadu and other South Indian states like Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, golu is one of the main aspects of Navarathri. Golu is a display of dolls of Gods and Goddesses, celestial beings, martyrs, saints, mortals, animals, reptiles, and other such dolls arranged on steps that are set up using wooden or metal planks.

There are a lot of theories behind this customary practice, some legendary and some homespun. Some say it is an invocation of the Gods into our homes, some say it is a way of reminding us of the hierarchy in life from the teeny-weeny insects to the omnipresent Gods, others say it is merely a social event that encourages the artisans who make those beautiful clay dolls.


The housewives commence golu with "Kalasam puja." Instead of icon or photo we represent the goddesses in the form of kalasam. What is Kalasam? The Hindu house holds will always represent God or Goddesses in kalasam. For Kalasam, they will choose brass or silver pot and fill the brass or silver pot with water. After this, they will place a coconut amidst mango leaves on top of the pot.

One theory says the dolls, called Kollu or Golu, represents the durbar or assembly of Goddess Durga. This assembly is held just before Mother Goddess ventures on her mission to slay Mahishasura, the buffalo-headed demon. Therefore when depicted along with the ‘kolu,’ Goddess Durga is also referred as Mahishasura-mardini.

The Navratri or Dasara Golu is displayed on stairs created from wood. The number of steps depends on the availability of the dolls. The maximum number is nine – representing the nine days of Navratri. Usually, the steps erected are odd numbers – 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 or 11.


There are no hard and fast rules for arranging the dolls.

Keeping 9 steps will be ideal as Navrathiri is for 9 nights.



The most important dolls in the Golu arrangement are the Raja-rani or the marapaachi bommais.



Stories from Hindu Mythology continue to be the favorite theme during Navarathri Golu.

The topmost three steps are dedicated to various gods and goddesses. In some areas, people place a ‘Purna Kumbham’ on the topmost step.

The next three steps – 4, 5 and 6 – are dedicated to Gurus, saints, religious personalities and other highly respected figures in the country and world.

The seventh step is dedicated to various social activities and festivals. People depict marriages and important festivals in this step.

Business, crafts and other economic activities are depicted in the eighth step. Creative women depict a buzzing market place and other activities.
The ninth step is dedicated to dolls made of wood. Dolls of men, women, children, animals and birds are placed in this step.

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An important ritual in Navarathri is the exchanging of thamboolam (betel leaves and nuts, turmeric, bananas and coconuts and optionally gifts). Everyday ladies and young girls are invited to see the golu and to sing, and then they are honoured with kumkum and sandal paste and given thamboolam.

Till the previous generation, it was common for young children to dress up as mythological and legendary characters while visiting the golus.

On each day of the Navarathri festival, ‘sundal’ or spiced pulses, lentils and legumes (a different variety on each day) are offered to the Gods and Goddesses as neividhyam and then to the guests as prasadam.

Again, it is difficult to arrive at a consensus about the reason or significance of offering sundal during Navarathri. One theory believes it’s purely for the nutritional value, that during the dull days of September-October, when the weather’s really not too peppy, people get easily tired and that the wise saints therefore prescribed that protein- and vitamin- rich sundals be served during Navarathri to rejuvenate people.

Another theory states that sundal is offered to appease the nava-grahaas or nine planets (some attribute the practice to the nava-shakthis). According to this theory, traditionally they cooked and offered only the nava-dhaanyas or lentils associated with the nine planets, namely wheat, rice, tuvar dal, moong (green gram) dal, chana dal, white field beans, sesame seeds, horse gram and urad dal.

What matters ultimately is that of all the dishes that are made from the nava-dhaanyas during Navarathri.

Sri Saraswathi Pooja and Vijaya Dasami

One practice that everybody still follows is the making of black channa sundal on Saraswathi Puja day (9th day of Navarathri), as it is known to be very special for the Goddess.

On the 9th day (Saraswati Puja), special pujas are offered to Goddess Saraswati - the divine source of wisdom and enlightenment. Books and musical instruments are placed in the puja and worshipped as a source of knowledge. Also tools are placed in the pooja - as part of "Ayudha Pooja".

Even vehicles are washed and decorated, and puja performed for them.

The 10th day, "Vijayadasami" - is the most auspicious day of all. It was the day on which evil was finally destroyed by good. It marks a new and prosperous beginning. New ventures started on this day are believed to flourish and bring prosperity. Kids often start tutoring on this day to have a head start in their education.

In the evening of "Vijayadasami", any one doll from the "Golu" is symbolically put to sleep and the Kalasam is moved a bit towards North to mark the end of that year's Navaratri Golu.

Prayers are offered to thank God for the successful completion of that year's Golu and with a hope of a successful one the next year! Then the Golu is dismantled and packed up for the next year.


Blessing from all three aspects of the divine mother is the only way to have all-round success in life



As 9 forms of Goddesss is worshiped during Navarathiri, 9 steps Gholu will be ideal .
Nine forms of Shakti are worshipped during the Navaratris. The Devis worshipped depend on the tradition of the region.

* Durga, the inaccessible one
* Bhadrakali
* Amba or Jagadamba, Mother of the universe
* Annapurna, The one who bestows grains (anna) in plenty (purna: used as subjective)
* Sarvamangala, The one who gives joy (mangal) to all (sarva)
* Bhairavi
* Chandika or Chandi
* Lalita
* Bhavani
* Mookambika

First three days

The goddess is separated as a spiritual force called Durga also known as Kali in order to destroy all our impurities.

Second three days

The Mother is adored as a giver of spiritual wealth, 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

The final set of three days is spent in worshipping the goddess of wisdom, Saraswati. In order to have all-round success in life, believers seek the blessings of all three aspects of the divine femininity, hence the nine nights of worship.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Navratri
http://gjanani.blogspot.com/2006/09/navarathri-bommai-golu.html
http://www.hindu-blog.com/2007/10/navarathri-bommai-golu-ideas-and-how-to.html


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