The Significance of Navratri Golu

The Significance of Navratri Golu

Navratri Golu is also known as Kolu Bommai, Kolu meaning Doll and Bommai meaning Dance.

What is Golu?

It is a festive tiered display of dolls and figurines of people, gods and goddesses in South Indian -- specifically Tamil, Kannada and Telugu -- families during Navratri. (Sorta similar to the Nativity scene we often see during Christmas).

Typically, these dolls are passed down generations, collected over many years, with one new doll added each year. They are set up in a series of odd numbers (typically 3, 5, 7, or 11), and are placed on these steps to symbolize the spiritual progression of people over time and the evolution of divinity.

The Hierarchy

Across each level of the display, there are many stories and activities from daily life acted out through the dolls.

Over the years, the steps can't hold everything so some families also create "side stories" with the dolls.

For example:

• A cricket game
• A marriage scene
• Raas leela with Krishna and gopis
• The story of Krishna and Govardhan
• A procession of a God around a temple
• A mountain with a God sitting on top, that shows devotees climbing up towards it

Families invite others to take in their displays and share food, stories and life with each other during Navratri.