Get Ready for Navratri!

Get Ready for Navratri! October 7, 2015

Another one of my favorite holidays, it’s almost Navratri time. The festival starts October 13th and goes for nine days until October 21st. One of the traditions that I love most is the Southern tradition of collecting and displaying of golu (of kolu) dolls. It’s like a Hindu version of doing a Christmas village, which is such a fun way to dress up your house for the special occasion.

Traditionally what you do is get a series of steps in an odd number (3, 5, 7, 9, or 11) and put your murti and dolls on it in ascending order of consciousness. So you’d have Gods at the top, famous sages next, and animals at the bottom step. It doesn’t have to be exact. Then at the bottom around the steps you can create scenes and tableaux from life. The place of honor usually goes to a very special set of dolls that is passed on through the family called marapachi bommais or raja-rani. I don’t have a set of these yet but it’s in my plans to get some! (looks like they can be purchased here:

Here are some ideas for themes for the display:

Here are some ideas for crafting and creating golu dolls and village display items:

I was thinking perhaps this year Brad could get his class involved in creating some little houses for us to make a village scene! I found some templates for cardboard houses that you can build from cereal boxes or file folders. Here are some of those craft pages:


And here is detailed information on how to celebrate the holiday itself:

Plus: more detailed instruction for worship of Ma Lakshmi and more detailed instruction for worship of Saraswati.

More Golu information and stories from others…

I have an idea to do a much grander display at our house this year by using some built-in shelves we have. I’ll plan to do a video of me setting up my display and plenty of pictures!

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  • I’m excited about this holiday as well! We are having Garba and Dandiya next Friday. By the way, Navratri seems to be a Hindi spelling and pronunciation for the Saṃskṛta word, Navarātra. It seems to be you drop the vowel if the consonant with the inherent vowel is followed by a consonant with a non-inherent vowel (anything other than “a”). The changing of the last syllable from -tra to -tri going into Hindi, I don’t understand…

    • real

      Navratri is sanskrit word Navaratri means ‘nine nights’ in Sanskrit

      but Navarātra word is commonly used by Gujarati Hindus

    • Jay

      It is actually NAVARATRA meaning nine nights. Nava=9 and Ratra= plural of word ratri in Sanskrit. Navaratri is a misnomer.

  • vanavil Kalaikoodam

    Buy Golu Dolls in Online