A ball with the dolls

A ball with the dolls

grand Dasara Procession by Shrinivas and Prabhavathi.

For most people in the City, Navaratri or Dasara is incomplete without Dasara gombe or bombe. It is a custom among many people of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala to decorate their houses with colourful dolls and worship them on all the nine days of Navaratri.

Regarded as the festival of arts, the nine day celebration gives a lot of scope for people to go creative in showcasing their doll collection. Young boys and girls go from one house to the other just to see the doll arrangements during the festival. A few Bangaloreans speak to Metrolife about their doll arrangements and themes for this year.
Usually, the dolls are arranged on 7, 9 or 11 steps and the main dolls are called   Pattada Gombe or the king and the queen.

A Kalasha is kept in front of the Pattada Gombe and lights are lit. Satyanarayana Iyer’s family in Tyagarajanagar is the tenth generation in the family to carry on this tradition.
This is the 311th year that they are decorating the house with dolls. “As a custom, we arrange dolls including big, small, tiny and nano ones, in 11 steps. Pattada Gombe comprises prominent dolls and they are placed along with a Kalasha. We have 350-year-old wooden Lakshmi and Venkateshwara dolls that were brought from Tirupathi by our ancestors,” he explains.

“With the help of my wife Vijayalakshmi and children, I start preparing for the festival a week in advance and this time, I have come out with themes like Vadyagoshti, Gajendra Moksha and marriage ceremony. Every year I come up with a different theme. Hence, visitors are always curious about our collection,” he says proudly.

Putting their heart and soul into the celebrations, K D Shrinivas and Prabhavathi in Katriguppe have been arranging dolls for nearly 45 years.

“It’s a tradition in our family to decorate the house with dolls during Dasara festival. We usually start our preparations once the Ganesha festival gets over. We keep the doll arrangements for three to four months as friends, neighbours and relatives pour in great number,” says Prabhavathi.

For this year, their theme is ‘Floodlight Cricket Match’. They have placed the dolls accordingly and made a special lighting arrangement for the cricket match. “Apart from that, we are also showcasing ‘Our Home’, ‘Karnataka Vaibhava’ and ‘Dasara Procession’,” she adds. Last year, they even won the Bombemane Competition wherein nearly 130 houses took part. One can see a huge collection of dolls in their house on other days also. Rashmi, a resident of Basavanagudi, is all set to adorn her home with ‘Jakkur Aerodrome Diorama’.

 “We used to arrange Channapatna dolls and mud dolls every year. This time, I thought of doing something different. Hence, with the help of my husband Pavan and sister-in-law Sowmya, I created the replica of ‘Jakkur Aerodrome’ using paper models,” she says.

The miniature models of aircraft, cars and jeeps look realistic as they are handmade with great care and attention. “We had started making these models two or three months back. I am very much excited this time and eagerly waiting for feedback from the visitors,” she quips.

Sujatha, a resident of Vidyaranyapura, has been involved in Dasara doll arrangements right from her childhood.

 “I have had a special passion for dolls since my childhood. Every time I go out, I keep looking out for attractive dolls that I can decorate and display during Dasara festivities. Though my decoration doesn’t have any theme as such, it definitely attracts people as my collection multiplies every year with fascinating things,” she reasons. 

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