Skip to main content

Featured Post

The Vaishnodevi Experience 2023

My first trip to Vaishnodevi was unimpressive. Climbing was hard, and it only served to highlight how badly out of shape I was, while my in-laws managed to cope so much better. Further, I hadn’t quite realized that the cave experience wouldn’t be the same as I had imagined, since the original cave was only opened at certain times a year, and that we only entered a newly created tunnel, one far easier to access, and hence more manageable with the crowds that thronged the mountain shrine. The resulting experience at the shrine, for barely a fraction of a second, hardly compared to what I had expected / imagined / heard about. So, for me, Vaishnodevi was like any other temple, nothing to write home about, something that was reflected (though not explicitly mentioned) in the blog post I wrote then.

Navaratri Preparations

Its time for yet another festival - one which gives me the maximum opportunity to use my creativity - Navaratri - the festival of nine nights. 

These nine nights (and days) are dedicated to the goddess in her myriad forms, and this festival is a celebration of not just the mother goddess, but also her creations. For us, South-Indians, Navaratri is a time for the Bommai Kolu (or Golu), a series of steps with dolls placed on them, and also a time for socialization. The kolu represents the different stages and aspects of life. The bottom steps represent life as we know it - as humans. We therefore use them to depict scenes from life. The higher steps are meant to represent our quest for divinity - which is represented by dolls showing stories from mythology involving gods and demigods. The highest steps are used to show the Gods, who are, after all, believed to be above us all! Apart from the dolls placed on the steps, we also decorate an area around the steps, usually based on some theme. This is mainly meant for children, to give a free rein to their creativity. For me, this is Samhith's area, where he chooses the theme, and then I help him set it up! Yes, I do have to do bulk of the work at present, but he contributes in more ways than you can imagine! As usual, since the theme is of his choosing, our kolu revolves around Samhith's favourite train set! The last few days have been really hectic, preparing for the festival, so no wonder this blog hasnt seen any new posts since Ganesh Chaturthi! 

Over the next ten days, I hope to write everyday, and take you along with me as I enjoy different aspects of the celebrations around me. Meanwhile, here is a sneak peek at our preparations for the kolu!


  1. Oh! the preparations are in full swing. In the olden days we used to have wooden sculptures made of red sandalwood.(Marapacchi) which wewre kept to sleep after the Kolu. It would be interesting to go through your posts which I look forward t.

  2. Oh wow, looks like quite a preparation :D

    look fwd to your Golu..

  3. Thanks to your idea last year, this year we got a paper modelling kit of was fun doing it...waiting to see your golu this year

  4. Anu, I love your posts about festivals, I learn so much! I borrowed this one for this week's contributors' roundup.

  5. How nice. I am liking it to know about the festival, particularly how it is celebrated in other parts of the country. 

  6. wow! look forward to the posts ahead!

  7. We keep marapachi too.... and make them sleep on the last day....

  8. Yes, aarti! wait till u see the next one!

  9. Thanks so much, Ana! have been so busy havent had time to check out the site since the last few days! will head over asap!

  10. Such an elaborate preparation Anu! I am sure Samhith is enjoying the most.

  11. THanks Nisha! Samhith is having a blast! u shd come home for navaratri once!

  12. May this navratri bring happiness and Prosperity to all..Happy Navratri..Thanks for sharing.


Post a Comment

Thanks so much for stopping by. Please leave a comment for me so that I will know you have been here....

Popular posts from this blog

Gokarna Part II – The Five Lingams

We continued our Gokarna trip by visiting four other Shiva temples in the vicinity, all connected to the same story of Gokarna. The story of Gokarna mentions the Mahabaleshwara Lingam as the one brought from Kailas by Ravana, and kept at this place on the ground by Ganesha. (See my earlier post- Gokarna – Pilgrimage and Pleasure). However, the story does not end here. It is believed that, in his anger, Ravana flung aside the materials which covered the lingam- the casket, its lid, the string around the lingam, and the cloth covering it. All these items became lingams as soon as they touched the ground. These four lingams, along with the main Mahabaleshwara lingam are collectively called the ‘ Panchalingams’ . These are: Mahabaleshwara – the main lingam Sajjeshwar – the casket carrying the lingam. This temple is about 35 Kms from Karwar, and is a 2 hour drive from Gokarna. Dhareshwar – the string covering the lingam. This temple is on NH17, about 45 Kms south of Gokarna. Gunavanteshw

The Havelis of Bikaner - A Photo Post

The lanes are narrow , twisting and turning amidst buildings old and new. Crumbling old structures with intricate workmanship stand side by side with art deco buildings, and more modern constructions, which follow no particular style. Autos, bicycles, motorcycles and vans rush past, blowing their horns as loudly as possible, while cows saunter past peacefully, completely unaffected by the noise. In the midst of all this chaos, children play by the side, and women go about their chores, as we explore these by-lanes of Bikaner, and its beautiful Havelis. Facade of one of the Rampuria Havelis

The Power of 8 - The Ashta Dikpalas and Ashta Vasus at Khajuraho

The four cardinal directions form the axis on which a temple is built, and are thus the basis of temple architecture. Leading from them are the eight directions, which are believed to be guarded by the eight guardians, or Ashta Dikpalas . In the temples of Khajuraho, great care has been taken by the sculptors to carve the Ashta Dikpalas on the walls, both inside and outside. They not only guard the temple, but also look over us as we circumambulate the shrine, protecting us by their presence. They are augmented by the Ashta Vasus , celestial beings which represent natural phenomena. Together, they enhance the idea of the temple as cosmos, enfolding within it, all the aspects of nature, both, on earth, as well in space.