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October 2010, last updated: October 2023

From North to South: Dusshera celebrations across India
By BIGBASKET, 17 Oct 2023

Deities to be worhipped on the 10 days - pooja, slokam for each day

Kolu steps procedure by Niranjana Sankaranarayanan

Shops selling dolls online

Golu display

(I am only featuring photographs of golus arranged during the Season. I do not sell dolls.)

In Tamilnadu, the Navaratri festival is celebrated usually in the month of October (the date is decided based on the lunar calendar and hence varies) dedicated to Goddesses Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati, begins on Mahalaya Amavasya - the New moon day. Sakthi as Goddess Durga slayed the demon Mahishasuran after a fierce battle that lasted 9 days. The victory over evil is celebrated as Navarathiri.

Nava means nine & rathiri means night. Dus is ten in Hindi. The festival that is celebrated for 9 nights (fight over evil) and the victory on the tenth days is called Navarathiri or Dussera.

Nava Durgas

Goddess Sakthi is worhipped on the first three days, Goddess Lakshmi on the 2nd three days & Goddess Saraswathi on the last three days. The 10th day is celebrated as Vijayadasami. (Vijaya means victory). Prayers and pooja are offered to the Goddess on all 10 days in temples and households. Chakkarapongal, payasam, vadai, sundal are the traditional offerings to the Goddess during Navarathiri. The 9th day is celebrated as "Saraswathi Pooja" or "Ayudha Pooja". The place is cleaned and all books, tools, art, craft materials are placed in front of the Goddess for her blessing. In factories and companies, all the machineries, tools and account books are placed in the pooja before the Goddess. The next day on "Vijayadasami", work is commenced, new ventures started, children are admitted to school or art classes. Students offer their respect & thanks to their teachers / gurus.

In the temples, special pooja is offered and the Goddess (urchava murti) is decorated differently each day and taken in procession. Music and dance events, discourses, etc are organised in temples and sabhas.

The Dussera function is very famous in Mysore and Kolkatta.

In Tamilnadu, another popular aspect of Navarathri is the "GOLU". This is the display of dolls, idols, kolams in steps (usually an odd no. of 5, 7, 9) depending on aailability of space. Mniature settings of parks, temples, scenes is very popular with the children in the family. Friends and neighbours are invited. Visitors often sing a song or recite slokams. They are given thamboolam (vethalai paaku, manjal, coconut or fruits like orange, apple, banana) and the sundal of the day and perhaps some small gift item.

On Vijayadasami day the golu is removed or atleast some of the dolls are laid flat to show the display is over.

I have provided a gallery of golus at the Parthasarathy temple and a few homes.

Deities to be worhipped on the 10 days - pooja, slokam for each day
(Source: Navarathri by Nirajana.S,, 24 Sep 2019 )

Navarathri Day 1

Devi: Maaheswari
Flower: Malligai
Neivedhyam: Ven pongal
Thithi: Pradhamai
Kolam: Arisi maavu (rice flour) pottu kolam. (Rangoli by using rice flour.)
Raagam: Thodi Raagam
Slokam: Om swethavarnaayai vidhmahe
soola hasthaayai dheemahi
thanno Maaheshwari Prachodayaath

Navarathri Day 2
Devi: Kowmaari
Flower: Sevvarali
Neivedhyam: Puliyodharai
Thithi: Dwitheeyai
Kolam: Maa kolam. (Rangoli by using wet flour.)
Raagam: Kalyaani
Slokam: Om Siki vaahanaaya vidhmahe
Sakthi Hasthaayai Dheemahi
Thanno kowmaari Prachodayaath

Navarathri Day 3
Devi: Vaaraahi
Flower: Champangi
Neivedhyam: Sakkarai pongal
Thithi: Thrutheeyai
Kolam: Malar/Poo kolam. (Rangoli by using flowers)
Slokam: Om Magishathvajaaya vidhmahe
Thanda Hasthaaya Dheemahi
Thanno Vaaraahi Prachodayaath

Navarathri Day 4
Devi: Lakshmi
Flower: Jaathi Malli
Neivedhyam: Kadhamba Saadham
Thithi: Chathurthi
Kolam: padikattu kolam with Atchadhai (Rangoli in shape of steps by using atchatai (mix of rice, turmeric, ghee.)
Raagam: Bhairavi
Slokam: Om Padma Vaasinyai cha Vidhmahe
Padmalochanee sa Dheemahi
Thanno Lakshmi prachodayaath

Navarathri Day 5
Devi: Vaishnavi
Flower: Paarijaatham & Mullai
Neivedhyam: Curd Rice
Thithi: Panchami
Kolam: paravai kolam using Kadalai maavu (Rangoli with bird designs using Bengal gram flour.)
Raagam: Bandhuvaraali Panchamaavaranai keerthanai.
Slokam: Om Syaamavarnaayai Vidhmahe
Chakra Hasthaayai Dheemahi
Thanno Vaishnavi Prachodayaath

Navarathri Day 6
Devi: Indraani
Flower: Semparuthi
Neivedhyam: Coconut rice
Thithi: Sashti
Kolam: Devi naamam using Kadalai maavu (Name of the goddess using Bengal gram flour.)
Raagam: Neelaambari
Slokam: Om Kajathvajaayai vidhmahe
Vajra Hasthaaya Dheemahi
Thanno Iyndree Prachodayaath

Navarathri Day 7
Devi: Saraswathi
Flower: Malligai & Mullai
Neivedhyam: Lemon rice
Thithi: Sapthami
Kolam:Narumana malargal kolam (Rangoli by using fragrant flowers-pookolam.)
Raagam: Bilahari
Slokam: Om Vaakdevyai vidhmahe
Vrinji pathnyai sa Dheemahi
Thanno Vaani Prachodayaath

Navarathri Day 8
Devi: Durga
Flower: Roja
Neivedhyam: Paayasaannam
Thithi: Ashtami
Kolam: Padma kolam (Traditional lotus shaped rangoli)
Raagam: Punnagavaraali
Slokam: Om Magisha mardhinyai vidhmahe
Durga devyai Dheemahi
Thanno Devi Prachodayaath

Navarathri Day 9
Devi: Saamundaa
Flower: Thaamarai
Neivedhyam: Akaaravadisil
Thithi: Navami
Kolam: aayudham shapes using Vaasanai podi (Weapon shaped rangoli using fragrant powder.)
Raagam: Vasantha raagam
Slokam: Om Krishna varnaayai vidhmahe
Soola Hasthaayai Dheemahi
Thanno Saamundaa Prachodayaath

Vijaya dasami
Devi: Vijaya
Flower: Malligai, Roja
Neivedhyam: Sakkarai pongal, sweets
Thithi: Dasami
Slokam: Om Vijayaa devyai vidhmahe
Mahaa Nithyaayai Dheemahi
Thanno DEVI Prachodayaath

Golus 2020

Golus 2017

Srirangam Temple Golu - 2017
Photos by Aparna Rajagopalan

Temple Golu arranged by S. Surendranath, S. Amarnath and S. Aparna (known popularly as 'The Mylapore Trio') and M. Sugathan at the Aayiram Kaal Mandapam, Srirangam Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple with 35 3-step bays featuring over 1,000 dolls.
Theme: Bhakthiyum Mukthiyum Srimannarayananey.

Ms.Chandra, Texas, USA

Ms. Gomathy Mohan, USA

Ms. Krithika Iyer, USA

Ms. Lalitha Srinivasan, USA

Golus 2015
Ms.HimaBindu Darba, Minneapolis, USA

Golus 2013
Sumukhi Foundation - Shashtiaaptha Navarathri
Ms.Kavitha Ananth, Hyderabad

Golus 2012
Ms.Suchitra Subramanyam, USA
Ms.Kavitha Ananth, Hyderabad

Ms.Suchitra Subramanyam, USA
Photos: Gerald Jeyraj

Golus 2010
Sumukhi Foundation - The Mylapore Trio at the Parthasarathy temple, Chennai
Photos: Sumathi
Ms.Jaishree Venkat, Chennai
Photos: Lalitha Venkat
Ms.Jayalakshmi Balasubramaniam, Chennai
Photos: Lalitha Venkat
Ms.Lakshmi Vasan, Chennai
Photos: Lalitha Venkat
Ms.Meena Ramamurthy, Chennai
Photos: Lalitha Venkat
Ms.Suchitra Subramanyam, USA
Photos: Gerald Jeyraj
Ms.Usha Venkatramani, Chennai
Photos: Lalitha Venkat
Ms.Viji Vijayaraghavan, Michigan, USA
Photos: Janaki Vijayaraghavan

(I am only featuring photographs of golus arranged during the Season. I do not sell dolls.)

Related links
Kolu steps procedure by Niranjana Sankaranarayanan

Shops selling dolls online

Ganeshas and Gowris fashioned by traditional potters using fully soluble unbaked river or pond silt - various traditional poses such as the Peetha Ganesha or the Lotus seated Ganesha or Gowri or the Seyr Gowri. Each one of the Ganesha and Gowri idols is individually hand-painted by Deepika of Bimba The Art Ashram. Other pooja offerings include skilfully handcrafted and vibrantly handpainted small and large mantaps, peethams (stools), mini thottulus (swings), colourful vertical and horizontal (festoons) and a wide range of handmade Vastra (attire) and Aabharana (ornaments).

Deepak and Deepika ( tel 08041489354)
Bimba The Art Ashram 42 Ratna Vilas road Opp Canara Bank DVG rd branch Basavanagudi Bengaluru 560004