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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.

Yet another creative Kolu..

Some of you have been wondering where we get all the ideas for our kolus. The answer is actually quite simple - from each other! We keep looking out for ideas, and happily pick up others's ideas for our own kolu! Why else do you think Samhith is so eager to go and visit others' kolus? Besides, creativity does run in the family! Growing up, I kept hearing about the fantastic and innovative arrangements my uncles made when they were younger, and Shankar's uncles and aunts have a very creative streak too! No wonder Samhith is so enthusiastic about this!

My mom and aunt's kolus are among the best that I have ever seen. Having been deprived from keeping elaborate arrangements for so many years, they are making up with a vengeance, thinking up some beautiful ideas year after year. The house is filled with dolls, and at every corner you can see something interesting. This year, my mom is stuck in Delhi, and my aunt and uncle have been left to their own, and they have come up with some really wonderful ideas... So here we go on a photo-tour of their Kolu....

Here is a broad view of the main arrangement...

and here is a closer look at the steps....

These two dolls on the top step are special. They belonged to my grandmother, and are among the oldest dolls in the house!

There are musical instruments and vehicles galore....

I especially loved this bicycle-cart!

as to vessels, there are too many to count! There are vessels made out of mud, of wood, stone, even brass and silver (not in this pic, but in the main Kolu on the steps)...

There is a small park with a sandpit.... only, the sandpit is filled, not with sand, but with sawdust!!

But here is the piece de resistance....... Shivaji's fort!!!!!

And there is so much more to see.... like this Krishna and Meera.... and note the crochet doily with the swans!

Krishna is, of course a clay idol.... but Meera????

Meera has been made at home by my aunt!!

Then there are these Chennapatna toys....

Now for the decorations....

and this kolam..... is not made on the floor......

Can you guess what it is made on??? Old X-ray sheet!! Looks fantastic, doesn't it?

Now, that was a treat, wasn't it? That completes all the kolus I have seen so far. Hope to see a couple more in the last few days of the festival so that I can add something more to this series!


  1. Anu, who made the last one on x-ray sheet? And what all materials were used?
    Looks very interesting.

  2. my aunt made it, Nisha.. its actually quite simple.. just draw a pattern on the sheet, cut it out, and then decorate with glitter, gold and silver beads and sequins..

  3. wow!!!!!!!!!!!!! awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You made the golu even more beautiful by your writeups :)

  4. Hi Manni, truly this is one unique and innovative Golu - The fort was very authentic and mom was very happy to see Maharastrian dolls (Sivaji and co) on the fort. The saw dust simulated sand very well and the art out of the X-Ray film topped my admiration chart. Kudos in putting together one heck of a package!!!

  5. Oh yes, there is a small train here too!

  6. Wonderful doily. I have seen a few such swan doilies in the net before and even wanted to try one but I am not so sure that I would be able to do it.

  7. Thanks Pradeepa! I actually asked my aunt if she could provide instructions,, unfortunately, she learnt this on the train from a fellow crochet enthusiast, so she had nothing written down....


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