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Dasara is a major festival in India and more so in Karnataka in South India where it is celebrated as "Naada Habba" or "State festival". Dasara was fun when we were kids when dolls were displayed in every home and we went around to see what was new. There was also another incentive to do these rounds - to savour snacks given during this time! The tradition still continue and we do display dolls at home, albeit on a small scale during Dasara. However, the number of houses displaying dolls in the city of Bangalore has declined. Of late, there seems to be enthusiasm among young to continue the tradition which augurs well for the future.
I am not sure how, when and where the practice of displaying dolls during Dasara started in Karnataka.....or rather in South Indian states of Tamil Nadu (it is known as "Golu" in Tamil Nadu) and Andhra Pradesh (in Andhra Pradesh the display is during Sankranti time). Was the tradition started during Vijayanagar empire and then spread across the three states? It is definitely possible.
Anyone who has read about or visited Hampi knows that Dasara or Navaratri was celebrated as "Nada Habba" or "State festival" in a grand manner in Vijayanagar empire. The huge pedestal from where the King used to watch the colourful procession in Hampi can still be seen and is known as "Mahanavami Dibba". Later the tradition must have continued under Wodeyars of Mysore. In the 18th century Mysore, the royal family had what was called the "Gombe thotti" or the "Dolls pavilion" at which can still be seen when you visit the palace.
|Display of Dolls in our house|
|Dolls displayed in Dolls pavilion in palace|
Dasara itself is close to be called as national festival along with Dipavali - the festival of lights. It is amazing how many types of Dasaras are celebrated in the country. More about it later in India Scrapbook.
In the meantime, if you happen to visit Mysore during Dasara festival don't miss visiting "Bombe Mane" or "House of Dolls" by Ramsons. The details are in the link below. Of course, you can drop in any Mysorean's home to see lovely display of dolls!!
These dolls definitely liven up our lives and lift festive spirits.
Best wishes to everyone on this auspicious occasion of Navaratri/Dasara!!
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