Mud Dolls Come Alive in Navratri


Firstly, Navratri literally means ‘nine nights’ in Sanskrit.Three forms of the goddess -Lakshmi , Saraswathi and Durga are worshipped during Navratri. In addition to the daily poojas for the goddess,the tradition also calls for a dolls’ display, or Kolu as it is called, at individual homes during this period. It is considered auspicious  and  a social occasion for welcoming friends & family home. The kolu is quite a remarkable tradition in the South of the country.

Dolls Display

The dolls, typically made of mud, are arranged on wooden steps. There are between 7 to 11 steps on which the dolls are laid out. The dolls have been typically handed down through generations, in most families . The earliest known person to have used them was always the grandmother in the family. What distinguishes the old dolls is the use of mineral colours. They are also distinct in their subject-matter: (a) a scene from Mount Kailash with Lord Shiva, his wife Parvati and their sons Lord Ganesh& Lord Kartikeya (b) Similarly , Lord Rama with his wife Sita , his brother Lakshmana, and his devotee ,the monkey God Hanuman.

As a result, everyone wants to buy mud dolls.

The Dolls can  probably be purchased  from  VTI, Poompuhar and Kalpa Druma.

Kolu Tradition

There has been a splurge of thematic kolu in the past 10 to 12 years leading to an explosion of revived interest in this tradition.

A park with children, a temple on a hill, a water body, houses and markets have all been depicted. The grandmothers wove stories around these themes. She never ever got tired of them and the children too never ever got bored with them!!

The display is planned a few months ahead of the kolu and families are extremely resourceful in creating the necessary backdrops (converting throw-away cardboard rolls into pillars; using pattamadai mats to create huts etc.)

The Kolu tradition brings alive the magic of Indian mythology and folklore. It is a great platform for social connectivity and keeps all family members in the house engaged and joyful.

Women are dresses in their best clothes during the Kolu festival.

Take a look at the video link:

Kolu Dolls are available at :-


T. Nagar

Kausalya Madhavan

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