Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Bombe Habba of Navaratri

It's the festive season here in India. Dussera or Navratri is one which is celebrated all over India, many states celebrating in a different way for nine days, the tenth day being Vijaya Dashami. In south it's the Gombe(dolls) Habba or Bommai Kolu(Golu), which is displaying various dolls in a systematic fashion. This tradition is popular in the southern states of Andhra, Tamilnadu and Karnataka.

These dolls are kept on the first day of Navaratri beginning with Ganapathi pooja followed by Kalasha Pooja. The female deities Laxmi, Parvati and Saraswati are also kept in front of the rack of dolls.
Laxmi idol
These wooden planks or racks are odd numbered and at times dolls are displayed randomly or  they would be arranged according to themes from the Indian epics like Ramayana.

Scenes from Ramayana
Dashavathara of Vishnu, Kondapalli Wooden Toys.

The Procession

Sri Ranganatha
Most of the dolls are made from clay but people also keep hand made dolls, POP dolls and also wooden dolls.

Basic plastic doll decorated depicting the Brahopadesham to a son by father
One common doll that we find in the display is the 'Pattada Bombe' or 'Marapachhi'. This is the husband and wife dolls that are gifted to the daughter by the parents during her wedding. These dolls are usually dressed as the bride and the groom and find the center place in the display. It symbolizes the beginning of daughter's collection of dolls, and continuing the tradition of Gombe Habba.
Pattada Bombe or Marapacchi
Each evening of the nine days there would be offering(Naivaidya) to the God.

During the evening there is house hopping among the children and the women folk to view the dolls. Many places there would be awards for the best display. The ladies of the community come together for the Arashina Kumkuma where host lady invites other women offering vermilion, sweets, gifts them.
At the end of Navaratri, that is the tenth day, the God is thanked and worshiped for the successful completion of the festival.  All the dolls are wrapped up carefully for the next year.
This year I got to see many display and it's a visual, colorful treat. One house where I was invited was mind blowing. She has a whole room dedicated to dolls and created various scenes from Ramayana, few mythological scenes.

Linking this interesting story to Our World Tuesday


  1. That is amazing !! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I have learned something new today! Thank you for sharing these very beautiful traditions!

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