Golu: The Hindu Festival of Dolls

Navratri -

Golu: The Hindu Festival of Dolls

The nine-day autumn festival of Navaratri honours women's empowerment. Even though the occasion is observed throughout all of India, the southern states' celebrations are distinguished by the long-standing custom of "Golu."

In Tamil, the term "golu" (sometimes spelled "kolu") describes how idols of gods and goddesses are displayed and decorated during Navaratri. Along with being popular in Tamil Nadu, it is also popular in Karnataka and the two Telugu states, where it is known as Gombe Habba (Kannada) and Bomma Koluvu (Telugu)

What is the significance of Golu Dolls during Navratri?

The brightly painted, hand-crafted dolls and figurines are traditionally set up on multiple steps, usually 3, 5, 7, 9, or 11 tiers.

During the sacred festival of Navaratri, Golu Doll decorations are put up to commemorate the triumph of good over evil when Maa Durga Devi conquered the Mahishasura.

How to set up a Golu Doll display using 5 tiers?

  • Set up golu steps either with 3, 5, 7, 9 or 11 tiers.
  • Maintain the kalasam in the middle. You should place idols of Ganesha, Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswathi next to the kalasam on both sides. Alternately, you might set the kalasam on a plank and keep it in the golu's bottom.
  • Keep a pair of male and female marapachi dolls in the centre, dressed in sarees, jewellery, and dhotis. You can further embellish the couples as you choose. On the second and third steps, arrange the other deities, such as the Krishna set, Vishnu, Shiva, and Dasavathar sets. There isn't a set rule on which deity goes where, but in general, deities are placed on the top stairs, while inanimate, animal, and human statues are placed on the lower steps.
  • You can keep sculptures of saints and gurus like Ramanar, Meera, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, and other mahans on the fourth step. Additionally, you are allowed to maintain monuments of world leaders and freedom fighters.
  • The chettiar bommai needs to be kept in the middle of the fifth (and last) step. Set up a shop-like setting in front of the chettiar bommai by placing dals, rice, and chilies on little plates. You are allowed to maintain statues of other people, animals, birds, and inanimate objects on each side of the chettiar bommai.
  • After placing each doll in its proper place, create a rangoli (with rice flour and coloured powders) in front of the golu. You should also maintain a large bowl with flowers and water nearby. Place two lamps (vilakku) on the sides of Golu and light them. Keep the mulaipari in front of or to the side of the golu.

Keeping the Tradition Alive

Golu dolls represent a divine presence in the home. They bring a lively melange of colour, womanhood and spirituality. Golu is a way for young people to learn about the myriad of deities and their significance as well as a chance to highlight the rich culture and customs of Hindus.

A time to ask for divine favours and spiritual fulfilment is what makes Navaratri what it is. Golu offers an opportunity for people to interact socially and participate in communal fellowship while also giving everyone a chance to learn more about Hindu mythology and religious customs.


Happy Navratri to all from India Sajawat & Puja Hut