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Navaratri, the festival for worshipping goddess Durga, culminates on the tenth day, Dasara. Usually, this festival falls in the month of September-October and is celebrated with high devotion across India.
Dussehra is considered as the success of goodness over evil. As India has different states with varied culture and tradition, the festival is also celebrated in different ways.
Each state has its own customs and beliefs. Southern part of India commemorates Dasara with dolls or kolu or bommai kolu.
Dasara doll festival in Karnataka is very famous and every house displays different dolls. Actually it is a festival of toys, where it is arranged as per the custom. Dolls of gods, goddesses, kings, queens, animals and birds are often displayed with other decorations in the house.
Also Read: Significance Of Each Day In Navratri
Karnataka follows the doll festival to express its unique culture and tradition. This helps the family bond as one, as they get involved by making various preparations. During the dasara festival, the whole state of Karnataka looks spectacular and colourful.
The history of Dussehra doll festival in Karnataka is said to be initiated from the Vijayanagar kingdom. Legend says that Goddess Durga had a battle with demon Mahishasura and after nine days of conflict, Goddess Durga defeated the demon.
During the bloodshed, all gods and goddesses gave their powers to Durga and they stood still. This is a festival to mark the respect for their sacrifice.
Traditionally, the festival dolls or Dasara dolls are made of wood and they are decorated with colourful papers or even with silk. During this festival, the state looks very colourful and attractive with miniature idols of gods and goddesses that you can find in most houses.
Pattada Bommai or Dolls:
These are the main set of dolls kept during the Dasara doll festival in Karnataka. Pattada bommai are pair of dolls that represent husband and wife. Every new bride takes a set of Pattada bommai from her parent's house.
Arranging the dolls for Dussehra doll festival in Karnataka is according to the tradition. People arrange the dolls according to a specific order on the steps or tiers. Usually, there are nine tiers or steps that are arranged to keep the dolls.
Nine Steps or Tiers:
Nine tiers or steps have to be arranged for displaying the Dasara dolls. The first 3 tiers are used for gods and goddesses. While the tiers 4 to 6 are used for kings, queens, demi-gods, great saints, etc. After this, the 7th step is used to keep dolls that display the Hindu tradition and celebrations. The 8th step usually showcases daily life scenes like shops, houses, parks and more. The last 9th step represents living things and so dolls symbolising that are placed there.
Usually, people follow some themes to arrange the dolls during the Dussehra doll festival. Some use the traditional themes while some others use new themes with lots of dolls. Nowadays, you can see themes like Ramayana or Mahabharata, Mysore history, save Earth, save water or stop pollution.
Add Dolls to the Collection:
Every year new dolls are added to the collection. It is common that the dolls are passed on to the next generation of the family. In Karnataka, there are families that own dolls that are even more than hundred years old.