I decided to visit my friends Ganu and Hema, and their daughter, Janani, who’s recently come home for good, after having done her Masters’ degree at Pittsburgh. They always put up a lovely display for Navarathri:
A "kolu" or "golu" is supposed to be a representation of the universe, so anything you wish to can be put in….human beings, animals, gods, flowers….Here’s an idol which is half Ganesha, half Hanuman, that I’ve never seen before:
These dolls/figures are often sold in "sets". Here’s a beautiful set of Mamallapuram, or Mahabalipuram, on the shores near Chennai:
There is also a lovely seascape painting to be used as a background. Don’t miss the details like the lighthouse, and Arjuna’s Penance, or the various caves!
There was one display of a forest (Bannerghatta?) where tigers and giraffes co-exist peacefully:
There was one display of a temple procession…don’t miss the couple who are prostrating themselves on the ground!
Another tableau was of Kailash, the abode of Shiva and his family. Cotton-wool snow completels the icy look of the Himalaya:
I enjoyed seeing a wedding in progress, and childbirth seemed to have occurred almost at once, because the adjoining scene was one of the parents getting the boy’s ears pierced, ceremonially!
Visitors were given sundal ( a lentil preparation) and pAl pAyasam (a milk-and -rice sweet porridge) and ladies came to visit, and sang for the gods, and the worlds they saw before them. They were given betel leaves, areca nuts, turmeric and sindoor, and a large coconut, and a little gift, too.
Thank you, Hema, Ganu, and Janani, for letting me share your festival!
Culture and tradition is often misunderstood as a set of rigid and binding rules and beliefs which not many have an explanation for. I believe culture n tradition are in these practices which are being quickly forgotten. The essence of these rituals was to develop a healthy bonding among the neighbors, relatives and friends. But these days, we dont even know who lives across the hallway…
In a city which is rapidly shedding all its cultural roots, are these toy sets still being made and sold??? if so, can anyone suggest when can u buy them from?
if not practice the tradition, let me atleast have a souvenir of our culture in my display rack.