30 September 2017

2017 Navaratri Kolu Display at a Tiruvannamalai Home

The below photographs are of a Kolu (i.e. Divine Presence) display taken in the home of Dr. K. Shanthi, Assistant Professor in the Department of Botany, Arts College, Tiruvannamalai. 

Dr. Shanthi’s native place is Cuddalore but she settled in Tiruvannamalai after marriage and now has two children of school-age. Well done to Professor Shanthi that in spite of a multitude of work and family duties, to have taken the time to create such a beautiful Kolu display. 

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Preparations for Kolu begin well in advance. Many families have dolls dating back from several generations and between each year’s celebration, the dolls are carefully wrapped and packed in large trunks. The figurines can be simple or very complicated and based upon marriage occasions, musical instruments, shops, current affairs, Gods and Saints, or depictions of the Epics and Puranas (i.e. Mahabharata, Ramayana, Krishna Leelas etc.). 

Kolu had a significant connection with the agricultural economy of Ancient India. In order to encourage de-silting of irrigation canals the Kolu celebration was aimed at providing demand for clay that was needed for the celebratory dolls. It is believed that the tradition of Kolu has been in existence from the reign of the Vijayanagara kings. 

For more information about Kolus visit my earlier posting at this link here.

Traditionally in the evening of the conclusion of Navaratri i.e. Vijayadasami (the day of Victory) the dolls from the ‘Kolu’ are symbolically put to sleep by laying them horizontally and Kalash (a small pot made up of silver or brass containing rice, sticks of turmeric, toor dal and a rupee coin—with coconut and mango leaves at the mouth of the pot) is moved towards the direction of the North to mark the end of that year’s Kolu Festival. 

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