Golu Celebrations in Tamil Nadu

Navaratri festival in Tamil Nadu is celebrated to praise and pray to the Goddesses Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati. The tenth day which is the tenth lunar day in Hindu calendar is celebrated as the “Vijayadashami” or Dussehra. For anyone who has never witnessed the fervour and celebrations of Dusshera down South, the entire experience of the Golu celebrations can leave you enchanted.

When Is Navaratri Celebrated In Tamil Nadu?

Navaratri is celebrated from the next day of the new-moon day (Mahalaya Ammavasai) in the Tamil month of Puratasi. It starts with puja for Goddess Durga, Lakshmi, and followed by Saraswati. After the Saraswati Puja Day, Navaratri ends with Ayudha Pooja and Vijayadashami.

Why Is It Celebrated?

Navaratri is celebrated to remember the victory of Goddess Parashakti over the evil King Mahishasura. The festival is a representation of victory of good over evil. The tenth day of Navaratri is celebrated to remember the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana.

How Is It Celebrated?

People in TN place a Kalash on the first step of the Golu as a representation of Goddess Parashakti. The Kalash is filled with rice and dal and a coconut coated with turmeric is placed above the Kalash. People place dolls of gods and goddesses in 3/5/7/9 steps arrangements along with the Kalash. It is believed that the dolls are the court of Goddess Shakti as well as the representation that everything is her creation. The Dolls are collected over many years and are often passed on through generations.

 Pujas and Offerings

During the nine days of the festival, women perform various pujas and fast during the day. It is believed that performing prayers during this period is stronger than any time of the year. Every day after the puja and aarti, people offer “Sundal” made from one of the Navadhanyams (9 grains) for the goddess and distribute the offerings to kids and women in the neighbourhood.

Celebrations

Evenings are the most pleasant part of the day during the “Golu” festival. Devotees dress up for the occasion and visit each other’s Golu decorations at home as well as in temples. They sing songs & bhajans and pray to the goddess. Visitors are offered with beetle leaves, banana, coconut, and Vermillion along with gifts during Navaratri. In order to make things creative, these days people decorate their houses with models of parks, zoo, cricket ground, hills, sometimes even flyovers and city structures.

Doll Arrangements (Golu)

Mylapore one of the prominent Hindu community localities in Chennai is known for its year-on-year Golu decoration competitions. People bring the best of their creativity with innovative ideas each year for these competitions. Some of the notable doll decorations that you can find in every household include the Dasavatara (10 incarnations of Lord Vishnu), Asta-Lakshmi (8 incarnations of Goddess Lakshmi),”Durga Lakshmi Saraswati”, Families of Lord Shiva, Vishnu, Rama, Raas Leela enchanted /Krishna Leela and more.

Other notable and most important doll arrangements include dolls of great saints, gurus, Alwars and Nayanmars (to praise humanity), dolls of birds and animals (to praise other creations), “Chettiyar Thatha and Paati” set along with pulses, vegetables, kitchen things (to praise the trading community), and other dolls that represent the Hindu culture.

Popular Beliefs

It is believed that worshipping Goddess Saraswati by placing books in front of her will help us gain good knowledge. During the Saraswati Puja day, people do not take their books out and read as it is considered inauspicious to take the books placed before the goddess.

Ayudha Pooja day is considered to be auspicious to start any new business, buy new vehicle or tools. During this day people perform puja of their cars, bikes, and instruments used at work by thanking them for being useful in their life and praying for a better future. During the Vijayadashami day, parents send their kids for the first day of school. It is considered as the best day to start any new learning activity.

Popular Temple Celebrations In TN

  • Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple
  • Kapaleeshwarar Temple, Mylapore
  • Mutharamman Temple, Kulasekharapattinam

These temples along with many other local temples in each town/city grandly celebrate the Navaratri festival. The temples are open throughout the day during all nine days.

Celebrate Durga Pujo in the Magnificent Kolkata

The Durga Pujo or Durgotsava or Durga Puja is celebrated with immense joy and magnificence by the Bengali community in India. Though it’s a predominantly Bengali festival, everyone joins the celebration without any restrictions on religion, caste, creed or age. The Durga Puja is celebrated to commemorate the victory of Goddess Durga over the evil King Mahishasura. It is also celebrated to welcome the union of the Goddess with her sons, Ganesh & Kartikeya and husband, Lord Shiva.

Why is Durga Puja Celebrated?

According to historical scriptures, Mahishasura engulfed in the arrogance of his boon of invincibility, used to trouble all humans as well as Gods. To put an end to this evil, all gods created Goddess Durga with ten hands from clay and offered her each of their most powerful weapons. Goddess Durga, on her Lion (Simhavahini), defeated Mahishasura on the tenth day of the Bengali month Asvin. Hence, Durga Puja is rejoiced for ten days, from the day of creation of Goddess Durga (Panchami) to the day of slaying Mahishasura (Vijayadashami). It is also said that Lord Rama worshipped Goddess Durga before going to war with Ravana.

Preparations and Grandeur of Durga Puja

Preparations for the festival start 2-3 months before the Durga Puja. Sculptors start making idols of Goddess Durga with her sons using Clay and Straw. Painting the eye of the Goddess (Chokkhudaan) is considered very auspicious, and it is done in the dark, alone by the sculptor. The whole arrangement is called Chala. The Chala is placed in huge decorated pavilions called the Pandals. Carpenters in the city construct these magnificent Pandals with bamboo and cloth. “Pandal-hopping” is a common practice, where people go to different Pandals to check out its grandeur and worship the goddess. People also join the celebrations at home. If you’re looking to experience pandal-hopping first hand in Kolkata, we recommend you book a cab so you can explore celebrations across the city.

Puja Bhog and New Dresses

Other specialities of Durga Puja include new dresses and mouth-watering delicious food varieties. One can witness the craftsmanship and weaving in the authentic Bengali silk and jute dresses that go for sale during Durga Puja. When it comes to food, Durga Puja is the best time of the year to taste authentic Bengali dishes. All through the six days of the festival, afternoon meal called puja bhog is served to everyone. The puja bhog is a pure vegetarian offering consisting of delicious dishes like Khichuri, Labdah, Beguni, Chutney, and Payesh or Mishti for dessert. Although most Bengalis refrain from consuming onions, non-vegetarian foods, wheat, grains and alcohol, during the last four days of Durga Pooja, you can still get the best seafood in town during these days. If you’re planning to go on a shopping spree in Kolkata, book a Savaari cab and explore the city.

Fish, Kathi Rolls, and Sweets

Stalls in the Pandals offer delightful fish delicacies like fish fry, fish chops, pabda, fish orly, chingri, Ilish Mach, Macher Jhal and more. One must try the chicken, mutton, fish and egg Kathi rolls of popular brands like Bijoli Grill and Dilli Haat in Kolkata. Vegetarian food lovers can relish the street foods like Kolkata chaat, puchkas, luchi, jhaal muri, Aloo Tikki, Mughlai Parantha and more. When in Kolkata, you cannot miss the mouth-watering Bengali sweets. You can binge on Malpoa, Mishti Doi, Payesh and Sandesh during Durga Puja celebrations.

 Rituals and Practices during Durga Puja

It is an incredible sight to witness the evening aarti during the six days of celebrations. Some important rituals include the Ashtami Pushpanjali, Kumari Puja, Sindhur Khela and Finally Vijayadashami Visarjan. People pray with diyas, collars, flowers, loud music and fragrance on all days. The Dhunuchi dance is so mesmerising that you would not know when you became a part of it. On the tenth day of Vijayadashami, the idols are taken from the Pandals and immersed in the local rivers marking the end of the festivities.