Skip to main content

Featured Post

The Elephanta Caves

The Elephanta Caves , located on Elephanta Island, or Gharapuri, about 11 Km off the coast of the Gateway of India, Mumbai, are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A visit to these caves, excavated probably in the 6 th century CE, is awe-inspiring, and also thought-provoking. Over the years, I have visited the caves a number of times, and also attended a number of talks by experts in the fields of art, history and archaeology on the caves. Together, they help me understand these caves, their art, and the people they were created for, just a little bit better. Every new visit, every new talk, every new article I read about the caves, fleshes out the image of what the island and the caves would have been like, at their peak. I last wrote about the caves on this blog, in 2011, almost exactly 11 years ago. Since then, my understanding of the caves has, I would like to think, marginally improved. Hence this attempt to write a new and updated post, trying to bring to life, the caves of Elephan

A much - awaited golu

He is a person, who, when he travels, looks, not just at sights, but at houses, temples, roads, pavements, streetlights, roofs, walls... you get the idea! He notices details which escape most of us, and, also unlike most of us, he remembers, and uses, most of what he notices. He comes back from a trip filled with ideas, which he then proceeds to re-create, in his own special way - for the year's Golu. 

He is Mr. P.E.P. Swamy, of Garodia Nagar. We happen to be distantly related, and it was a mutual relative who first introduced me to his creations. Since then, our mutual interest in Golus has taken us to his home each year, eager to see his new creations. His is one house to which Samhith comes along, happily, without the least bit of argument. His is also probably the one house where Samhith stands quietly and notices details, without running around, touching everything in sight. The reason is of, course, Mr.Swamy's meticulous work and his attention to detail, which make his Golu such an interesting sight. 

This year, the focus of his golu is on a Sabha in our locality. He has created a replica of their building, among other things.

The building is deceptively simple. It is only when you look in that you realize how perfectly he has replicated it! That is something I can not show you with my camera. You have to see it for yourself! 

Also on display are a couple of other buildings - his masterpieces, I should say! 

This see through house is so perfect in every detail. He made it some years back, but we never tire of looking at it. Whether it is the bathrooms or the wall paper, or the bookshelf or the puja section; whether it is the lights or the fans, he has taken every detail into account. It makes us wish we had a house like that to live in! 

And then there is this.... at the risk of repeating myself, I cant find a better word than 'masterpiece'!

While it is Mr. Swamy who makes these beautiful works of art, his wife is an equal and enthusiastic participant. She is in charge of the lower section of the golu, which is the more traditional kind. Here is the main golu - the steps. 

And here is the side-arrangement

The central set up here is of Jala-Krida, or Ras Leela in the water with Krishna and the gopis. 

Surrounding it is a typical Indian village.... and village scenes......

One of the reasons which draws Samhith again and again to their house are the conversations he has with Mrs. Swamy. She is able to explain in a manner he understands, the methods used to create these beautiful works of art, which makes her one of a kind! He enthusiasm is infectious, and we come back, bursting with ideas! 

I usually visit their house later during the festival, since that is when I am free. However, each year, after I write about it, I get loads of mails from readers asking me for their contact details, and if I can take them along to see this golu for themselves. Usually, it doesn't work out, mostly due to lack of time, which is the reason I am writing this post earlier this year. If you want to visit, please drop me a line, either on email, Facebook, or Twitter, and I will send you their contact details. For obvious reasons, I cannot post the details here. 

I have posted photos of Mr.Swamy's golus earlier.... in 2012, 2011 and 2010. Click on the years to see the individual posts. 


  1. Amazing. Will share this with Varun today. He is getting hooked on to golus and Varsha guides me and Varun with information that she pickes up from everywhere and then we start work on it. The tradition of keeping golu at home is a university by itself, It kindles curiosity, enhances observation power, engages your creativity and builds a team spirit.
    Wow Anu, People like Mr.Swamy deserve more recognition. Hats off to him and thanks to you for giving cyber visibility to such people.

    1. Thanks, Aparna!!! You have hit the nail on the head, as usual! there are so many advantages to keeping a golu... and most of all, it makes the festival so much more fun! would love to hear Varun's thoughts on this golu.... thats another thing he and samhith have in common, i guess... i can so imagine varsha picking up info! so like her!

  2. This is amazing, I would love to visit this golu too. Wil send you a request mail for the contact detail..

  3. Asia Explore Adventure & Travel is founded by the dedicated explorers and professional Team to operate the luxurious holiday tour and explore the incredible attractions to the various country of Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet and India.We are operating, classic tours, cultural &historical tours, leisure holiday tours,MICE,training& conference tours, Mercedes Benz terrain coach tours, outdoor adventure tours (trekking, hiking, outdoor camping, jungle safari, white water rafting, paragliding etc.), air/helicopter charters, special custom made itinerary tours for outbound travel agencies and provide “one time shop” services to our customers.
    Trekking in Nepal
    Annapurna Base Camp Trek
    Everest Base Camp Trek
    Langtang Valley Trek
    Mount Kailash Tours
    Kanchenjunga Trek

  4. Yeah give me the details and the price i mean if anyone wants to plan budget for diwali vacation so please share the details of this place.

    translator | translation service

  5. wow this week will be a feast in ur blog :) i been waiting to read all the posts :)

    I loved his details, reminds me of amsterdam, miniature town. I feel the park is bit crowded. Some of the dolls were intersting from the village scene but there is just too much happening at the same place.

    Otherwise I find the golu very intersting and well done :)

  6. Thanks Sri. Unfortunately, thanks to Samhiths exams, there isnt really going to be a feast everyday :( only as often as i actually go out and see some golus :D as to this one, yes, the village scene is cluttered, because the aunty had less space this time to make her stuff :( space crunch, as usual!

  7. OMG...hats off to his passion. How meticulously these are created. I'm stunned! Thanks for sharing.Loved that see through house.

  8. Amazing! Would be nice to learn how he makes them!!


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

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

Ladakh - Planning The Trip

Over 2000 Km by road, in around 10 days. Stunning landscapes, wonderful people. That sums up our Ladakh trip. But how did it actually work? How did we make it happen? Read on to find out!  Leh, the capital of Ladakh , is accessible by air and road. Flying into Leh is the easiest, and time-saving option, while the road is the time consuming one, but with the added advantage of driving past some of the most beautiful landscapes in our country. Each option has much to recommend it, and we chose the road for just one reason – altitude sickness. Altitude sickness was one of my biggest concerns, since I suffer from motion-sickness. Yes, I do travel a lot, but that is despite my condition, and, over the years, have learnt how to handle it. I struggled with it when we visited Nathu-La in Sikkim, and wondered if I would be able to manage a week at the even higher altitudes that we would encounter in Ladakh. This was the reason we stuck to a basic plan, of only 9 days in Ladakh, though we

Bhedaghat - Home of the 81 Yoginis

The Narmada flows down the mountains , carving out a path for herself as she makes her way down to the plains of Central India. She cascades from the rocks, her fine spray making it appear as if billows of smoke (dhuan) arise from the flowing streams of water (dhaar), giving it the name Dhuandhar. Dhuandhar Falls The force of her flow creates a gorge , smoothening and carving out the rocks into fantastic shapes, the pure white of the rocks standing starkly against the shades of the water. It is a joy to cruise down the river in a boat, seeing the natural contours created by the river, now famous as the Marble Rocks. We are at Bhedaghat, located on the banks of the Narmada near Jabalpur, where thousands of visitors turn up to see these natural landscapes, creations of the sacred Narmada, and pay obeisance to her. However, to me, the most interesting thing about Bhedaghat, isn’t the falls or the rocks, or even the river. What makes Bhedaghat special is t