Navarathri (நவராத்திரி) is a period of nine days celebrating, feasting and worshipping
goddess Durga. The tenth day, after the Nava-rathri s celebrated as Vijayadasami
The Nava-rathri is celebrated in the North and the South India in different ways.
In South India, Navrathri is dedicated to Durga (துர்கா), Lakshmi
Saraswathi (சரஸ்வதி). A three-day pooja is offered to each of the Goddesses starting with
During this period, it is customary in many homes in Tamil Nadu to display a
‘Golu’ (கொலு). This is an exhibition of various dolls in odd numbered tiers (படி, ‘padi-s’).
The Golu-s vary in theme from house to house - from the elaborate, extravagant
ones to the simple, traditional and artistic ones.
Golu is adorned with dolls - predominantly with that of the Gods and
Goddesses depicting mythology. The most Common ones are Dasavatharam (தசாவதாரம்), Ramar
Pattabhishekam (பட்டாபிஷேகம்), Meenakshi Thiru-kalyanam (மீனாக்ஷி திருக்கல்யாணம்), Murugan and Valli
(முருகன், தெய்வானை, வள்ளி), Krishna-leela (கிருஷ்ண லீலை), etc.
Themes such as marriage, school, etc are also adopted.
Golu does not mean that the dolls are kept only on the steps. Innovation
plays a vital role. Creativity and divinity combine to form a veritable
Generally, when people come to a person's house to see the Golu, they are
given prasadam (பிரசாதம், the offering given to God that day), kumkumam (குங்குமம், red powder), and
a small bag of gifts usually containing a mirror, a comb, a small box of kumkumam, and fruits. These are only given to girls and married women. This is
chiefly a woman's festival.
In the evenings, a lamp is lit, in the middle of a decorated ‘kolam’
(கோலம், Rangoli), before the Golu and devotional hymns and sloka-s are chanted.
On the 9th day (Saraswathi Pooja, சரஸ்வதி பூஜை), special pooja-s are offered to Goddess
Saraswathi - the divine source of wisdom and enlightenment. Books and musical
instruments are placed in the pooja and worshipped as a source of knowledge.
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have a look at the spcial issue on Ayutha pooja.