My favourite festival is the Navratri Golu or Dussehra and its the time that I am the most sociable and don the role of a hostess. The last ten days have been the busiest phase and I have had friends and family visit me virtually everyday. It started with me walking down North Mada Street in Mylapore, Madras (Chennai) with my mother for a couple of hours and picking up seven bags of golu bommais or dolls from all over the country.
Kalingavadanam – Krishna defeating the poisonous snake Kalinga that was spreading venom in the Yamuna. Running away from Garuda, Kalinga made Vrindavan his home, knowing only too well that Garuda could not come here. Krishna jumped into the river while playing and the huge snake wrapped itself around his body. He immediately subdued the snake by dancing on its head, crushing it with his weight. The snake, recognising the power of Krishna agreed to leave to its original home, Ramanaka Dwipa, which some people refer to as Fiji .
Govardhanagiri – The symbolic lifting of the Govardhan Giri or hillock by Krishna refers to his defeating the ego and wrath of Indra, the King of the Devas and the Lord of rains . Krishna requested the villagers to stop special rituals for Indra who in turn flooded the entire village. Krishna lifted the mountain with his little finger, protecting the entire village from the rains.
Ural Krishna – Yashoda , angry with Krishna tied him up to a grinding stone . The boy effortlessly dragged himself towards the trees in the courtyard , while the grindstone gets stuck in the gap between two trees. He strikes down the trees and releases Nalakubera and Manigreeva, the sons of Kubera who were cursed by Narada.
Andaal singing Thiruppavai – Andaal or Kodhai as she was called was so devoted to Lord Vishnu that she wanted to marry him. She offered garlands to the Lord only after wearing it first herself to see if it was suitable for him. In her fifteen years of life, Andaal composed the Thiruppavai in praise of Krishna , where she picturises herself as a Gopika.
The collection further increased with a gift from my mother – a beautiful idol of Sringeri Sharada and I picked up a Durga idol from Mysore, besides a few more dolls from Malleswaram in Bangalore.
The golu will be dismantled tomorrow and all the dolls will be packed for next year. As per tradition, one of them is already lying asleep, signifying the end of the festival.
For details on Golu, you can read my previous blog post, Come Home to my Golu and my article in Yahoo . I also made a quick visit to Mysore and here is my diary portrayed in vignettes. I leave you with a video of a concert in Mysore, during the Dussehra festivities.