In South India, especially in Tamil Nadu, the Navaratri is called Golu/Kolu. Every year women arrange Navaratri dolls collected over years as per their tastes. While idols of different Gods and Goddesses like Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswathi, Ganesha, Venkateswara, Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, Hanuman, Radha Krishna, Sai Baba, Dasavatarams, etc., are a must, some arrange play parks, temple set, marriage set, cricket ground, zoo, city, village, etc., according to their tastes. Often these idols/dolls are sold in the street side shops by handcrafters just before Navaratri begins.
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The dolls are usually displayed in the hall with decorated plank steps consisting from 3 steps to 9 steps. The mouth of the kumbham jar with fresh water is covered with a silk cloth, mango leaves are placed on top of it with coconut in the center. This is kept on the first step. In the first three steps, Gods idols are arranged, the next three steps are meant for saints like Sai Baba, great men like Vivekananda, devotees like Meera Bhai, national leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, etc. The seventh step is for marriage set, temple set, dancing dolls, etc., the eighth step is for businessman and his wife, also called as Chettiar dolls which are placed along with commodities like rice, pulses, vegetables, etc., and the ninth step is for traditional wooden dolls dressed in colorful shining clothes, dolls of animals, birds and other forms.
The pooja is performed every evening on all nine days. Neighbours, friends and other relatives are invited to view the decorated Kolu. Married women exchange bags containing a small mirror, haldi, kum kum, comb, beetle leaves with supari and a fruit along with a small pack of gift. After the ceremonial aarti and prayers on the 10th night, the dolls are put to sleep and are packed carefully the next day and preserved it for the next year.
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