Bommai Golu 2022: This Kerala home displays 100-plus theme-based dolls!

Arjun and wife Haridha with the golu display. Photo: Special Arrangement.

Enter this Kothamangalam home and one would feel like being transported into a colourful storybook, filled with numerous mythological stories, tales on ancient practices and Indian family functions, knowledge tidbits on Indian leaders… and whatnot.

There are more than 100 doll sets with each of the stories neatly labelled, making it easier for onlookers to be enamoured by them. 

This Navaratri, Arjun and family have set up their biggest Bommai Golu display yet, to beckon a heavenly feel into their home and it is a magnificent sight to behold.

The South Indian Navaratri tradition of Bommai Golu has families, religious institutions and societies setting up a decorated display of figurines on a small makeshift staircase covered with decorative clothes. 

Arjun, whose ancestors are originally from Tamil Nadu, says, “We have had golu in our home from my childhood, but for the past 10 years, it’s been getting bigger with every year. People’s interest in golu is increasing as it’s fun to do as a family tradition and at my residence, my wife Haridha too is quite passionate about golu like me.

Golu dolls of Mysore Dasara and Arupadai Veedu (armory house). Photo: Special Arrangement.

It’s not very common to find the kind of golu display we have set up this year. We have Ramayana stories on one side and Mahabharatha on the other. The dolls were sourced from Thanjavur, Coimbatore, Vilacheri and the like.” Golu means ‘Divine Presence in Tamil.’ 

Golu on Krishna's Geethopadesham aka wordings for Arjuna during the Kurukshetra War. Photo: Special Arrangement.

Arjun’s mother Seethalakshmi lists the kind of golu dolls at their place, and says, “I feel people these days are interested in them also because of social media.

Golu dolls on the traditional ear piercing function of South Indian households. Photo: Special Arrangement.

Many like to take colourful videos of these, put them as status and make memories. Here we have dolls on Rama’s birth, death of Ravana and Indrajeet, Ahalya’s salvation, Krishna Leela, Jalakreeda, Sooryanamaskar, Markandeya’s birth, Vinayaka’s marriage, Rudrathandavam, those that depict major Indian leaders… it goes on.”

Another set of golu dolls. Photo: Special Arrangement.

Interestingly, the family took almost a month to set it up, fully.

Arjun's parents Kannan S Iyer and Seethalakshmi with the golu display. Photo: Special Arrangement.

“It takes quite a bit of time to arrange them properly, making the steps for the same, putting them into right categories and more,” she explains. 

The family will also have puja in the presence of relatives and friends till Vijayadasami in the first week of October.

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