Basavanagudi family has 5,000 dolls for 'Gombe Habba'

Basavanagudi family has 5,000 dolls for 'Gombe Habba'

A house at Kalappa Block in Basavanagudi has been decked up with various kinds of dolls for display during Navarathri.

Veena Ravindranath’s passion is to ensure the tradition of celebrating the ‘Gombe Habba’ does not go away. She never misses a chance to display her huge array of dolls during Dasara. Ravindranath, who is vice principal of C B Bhandari Jain College, told Deccan Herald, “It’s an age-old practice to display the dolls at our house.

The preparation for the festival begins six months in advance. Every year we choose a mythological theme which is divided into scenes and the dolls are displayed accordingly. Every scene is written and the required dolls are listed out. Hence, the long process.”

According to Ravindranath, just showcasing the dolls would not suffice. The scenery and the setting for each scene are done with utmost care. The setting of forest, palace, waterfalls and many other things require a lot of time and planning, she said.
Ravindranath’s daughter, Shrisha, can’t conceal her excitement.

“We have a collection of 4,000-5,000 dolls in all shapes and sizes. This year, we have selected Ramayana as the theme and have 56 scenes from the mythological story. We displayed the scenes from Mahabharata, the story of Shiva Parvath and several other mythological tales in the previous years.”

A proud owner of a huge collection of dolls, Ravindranath said, “We have been collecting the dolls for the last 20 years. We pick them whenever we go on tours.”
According to Ravindranath, the majority of dolls are brought from Puducherry, Cuddalore, Kanchipuram and Chennai.

“But when we don’t find what we want, we place orders with craftsmen who make the dolls as per our description. Many dolls have been gifted by friends and relatives who took cue from our hobby. The costliest doll we have is of Shiva and Parvati which is priced at about Rs 35,000.”

But once the festival concludes, the family finds it cumbersome to pack and store the dolls. “Every doll is carefully wrapped in a paper, then in a piece of cloth and tied with a thread. Even a minor damage or a crack will make the doll useless.” The best part of the festival, according to the family, is that it helps them strike everlasting friendship with total strangers.

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