Navratri season

As we are edging closer to October, there’s a palpable mood of festivity in the air. Navaratri denotes the nine nights of this autumn festival, which celebrates the triumph of good over evil. In Chennai, deities of Goddesses Lakshmi, Saraswati and Durga assume importance among believers. Here’s a quick Navratri guide to make the best of the celebrations in your city.

1. Golu galore

Chettiyar bobble heads, animals, birds, and miniature folklore settings of varying sizes, sit amongst Gods and Godesses on the Golu Padi. It is a curious arrangement of revering the everyday and the divine by placing these dolls on anywhere between 3 to even 11 ‘steps’ or horizontal structures meant for display. This is a fun way to involve kids in making the festival fun and, maybe even creating your own miniature ‘park’ with mustard and coriander seeds. Oh did we mention, there are Golu competitions in the city, notably in Express Avenue Mall. You can buy Golu bommais (dolls) online from here

2. Of Sarees and Sundals

The arrangement of Golu in individual houses leads to a celebration of this act by inviting friends and family home to share cups of sundal (chickpea), over musings and appreciate of the Golu setting. It is common sight to see overworked tailors in the days running up to the festival. Women can be seen wearing their sartorial best and bedecked in pretty jewellery. If you happen to get invited to a Golu, be prepared to be cajoled into singing a little something.

3. Culture Quotient

The city comes alive with spectacles of singing, dancing and drama. Make sure you catch the ongoing ‘Navaratri Music Festival’ at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in East Mada Street, Mylapore which is on till the end of this month. Watch out for events that may happen in the Music Academy on TTK road and other auditoriums, details of which are published in the events section of the daily paper.

4. Exhibitions and Dandiya nights

If you are looking to experience a little flavour of the North Indian merrymaking of this festival. Head to any one of the many Garbha dance events that are happening in the city A pair of Dandiya sticks never hurt anybody, or have they! For details on pop up exhibitions and shopping click here
We can’t wait for the Navaratri revelry, and we’re sure you can’t either. There is something special for everyone. The believers, the ones with a penchant for exploring the local culture and of course, the Chennaiite who is time and again surprised by what the city has to offer. Do let us know how you think we should celebrate the festival!

The Hindu newspaper 18/9/2017 (Events Section)

10 Dec 2021


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