Navarathri is a major festival across India and is celebrated in myriad ways among different communities. While most of North India fasts and prays, in Bengal this is the time young and old welcome Maa Durga home amidst a flurry of celebrations and feasting and in Gujarat it is Dandiya that dominates the nine-day festival. Down south in Tamil Nadu, people construct staircase shelves to arrange dolls of the gods and the goddesses they worship, which is referred to as ‘Golu’. Along with divine idols, many also add in dancer dolls, musician dolls, a mini landscape of a city, items found on sea shore, etc. Most of these dolls are handmade by artisans.
North Mada Street in Mylapore is famous for selling a wide range of Golu dolls. Artisans from across TN set up their temporary shops and sell their beautiful range of dolls. It is a beautiful sight and you might end up staring at these dolls for hours. The array of the dolls include the Sorga Vaasal, the Gateway to Heaven; Lord Vishnu’s Dashavataram; Lord Murugan’s six avatars; Lord Tirupati, Goddess Saraswati, Goddess Durga and many more.
You will find many religious doll sets on the streets too which include late president Abdul Kalam, a classroom scene with teachers and a bunch of students, sleeping Buddha, contemporary bike riding version of Lord Ganesha and Tanjore Dolls. There are also recreation of important events of human lives like marriages, baby showers, engagements and other festivals through dolls to light up the Golu shelves.
If you are good at bargaining then North Mada Street is the perfect place to shop for Golu Dolls. Depending on size and material used for creating the dolls, you can choose your best bet. The prices of the dolls vary from shop to shop. There are dolls starting from as low as Rs.10 and the price can go upto Rs 25,000.
The street is located near Kapaleeswarar temple and if you ask for North Mada Street or Golu Bazaar, you will be pointed in the right direction. These artisans will be selling Golu Dolls till the last day of Navarathri.