Navarathri 2008

For all of you folks who have been asking me for the past week or so about my Navarathri Kolu – Thank you for the encouragement.

This year my Kolu grew by 2 steps, we had 5 steps in all. One was allocated to my daughter for her to keep her toys. That way she got a little involved in it, and did’nt really care about interfering with the remaining 4 steps that had the official kolu.

I didn’t send an evite this time. Instead I sent this word document as an attachment.


Then we got down to building the steps. We used up our dining table, coffee table, and every book of reasonable size to build it. It is interesting to see how creative we get when we are forced to make 5 steps out of nothing. I also used up one saree and four of my f-i-l’s dhothis. In hindsight, I would have ironed them before putting them on. Step 1 was Dasavatharam, with a MahaVishu in between. The Mahavishnu was our new addition of the year, bought at the Aurora temple for $40. Step 2 was an assortment of all Gods that I had. Step 3 was miscellaneous dolls + my african animals. I tried to grow some vegetation for them, but I guess I overestimated the rate at which they actually sprout. So, they had to make do without any. Step 4 was Winter. I had a christmas town, and an assortment of snowglobes and other winter specific stuff. Step 5 was my daughter’s and she had a bunch of stuffed toys on them.


Yesterday, we had about 35 people over for Kolu (the 10 others either dropped out or re-scheduled). In usual Indian style, almost everyone who was supposed to come between 4 and 8 arrived at 7:30 p.m. So, the house was full with no place to even sit down for some.

I made the usual Channa sundal and Somasi (which is a semi-circular samosa) served with Ketchup. I decided not to spend too much time and effort on Gulab Jamun – instead I took Maami‘s idea and made Badam milk. All of them turned out very well. The Somasis were worth the effort because everyone was very appreciative of it.

Navarathri Snacks
Navarathri Snacks

Goody bags consisted of a jewellery box, bangalore style decorative manjal kumkumam, paaku and an apple. No vethalai here – way too expensive and no use.

Goody Bags
Goody Bags

In all, though Navarathri is not yet done, for all practical purposes it is, because almost everyone who was supposed to visit has already visited. In the process, I discovered the joy of being a mother of a daughter. For the first time, yesterday she was so excited about getting dressed up. She wore her pattu pavadai and all her jewellery and called it her “ballerina” dress, and was showing it off to everyone. That was fun. Made me wonder for the nth time, how boring it must be to have a son.

So to all you folks out there – Happy Navarathri, Dussera and Durga Puja!


34 thoughts on “Navarathri 2008

  1. Your golu looks utterly charming. Though my vote is for your daughter’s Pooh padi-the child must be happy no?
    As for the goody bags- nekku?

    Rekha: Yep. She was pretty proud of it. Called out each doll on her step to her pati on the phone. Goody bag.. here you go!

  2. Avva avvalku avva avva kavalai!^^^

    Neku sundal dhan theriyudhu….

    Rekha: Sundal dhaanae. Adhu enna problem. Pannika vendiyadhu dhaanae, else stop by any time and I can give you enough to give you a stomach upset!

  3. Pradeep

    Aal aalukku golu pramaadha padutharel…
    Irungo irungo, enakku kalyaanam aagattum. En aathukkaari ya vittu, golu vekka solli, unga ellar goluvayum beat panren. πŸ˜‰

    Rekha: Haha.. Idhu laam romba grand planaa irukku. Kalyanam aagatum, then you will know if your wife is interested or not.

  4. Awesome golu!!! I cant believe your daughter put her toys there for 10 days? My son looked at some golu pictures of friends and asked me if we could go visit.. when asked why.. he wanted to play with the cars in their golu. I tried explaining that once there they cant come out for 10 days.. why do they have them if they cant play with them was the question!! πŸ™‚ Why really?

    Rekha: Haha.. kids! My daughter suprisingly hasn’t been greatly interested in disturbing it. In fact it seemed like she was more interested last year when she was 1 and a half.

  5. Me

    maami golu looks awesome!!! & grand compared to the prev lam pottu kalakitel maami…photo looks good too…i can zoom in and nitpick….only arisi maav kolam? …why no maa kolam?…[we do the same…but off late when i look in to my pandigai photos ..asariri screams in my ears…]…from next panidigai onwards that will scream in your ears too…:p

    what is that maa illai like thingy near the lamp?

    ..did you use acchu for making those Somasi??

    .. adutha summer la you can grow vethalai chedi at your home…and give me me 1% of all the punniyam you get to me for suggesting this idea..

    Rekha: Haha.. typical “Me” review! Thank you thank you. Maa kolam forgot to soak and got a bit lazy, so freeya vitutaen. The maa ilai like thing is actually an agarbathi stand which I got as a gift at a Kolu 2 years ago. Somasi ku enna acchu? Make a circle, put the filling, fold in 2 and stick. Koncham uniform edges varathukku, I cut with a pizza cutter. Vethalai elaam romba kastam pa.. plus everyone will just let it wither, so no plans for vethalai – no punyam for u either.

  6. RT

    Great Kolu. This time yenga kolu-vum romba grand. 7 steps – Proper wooden steps and big big dolls. Romba nala eruku-nu everyone appreciated. I had around 45 people on friday. Yenoda menu – Puliyodharai, Lime Sevai, Curd Sevai, Sundal, Payasam. Your badam kheer is very tempting!

    Rekha: Wow.. 7 steps koluvaa? That must look really cool. You must be in India, inga big dolls kadaekarthu kastam. I also have the same qn – you actually made the sevai??

  7. yuvvrything wogay except for one line…

    Made me wonder for the nth time, how boring it must be to have a son.

    what kodumai saravana this? I am surprised that no one spotted this… I hurt, i dont want your sundal…

    @RT: sevai? wo gaad ganesha. yuvar great!

    Rekha: Hehe.. caught that line? It’s true.. really.. seriously.. how many times have you enjoyed getting dressed? Thiruppi thiruppi adhae pant shirt.. bore!

  8. Girish

    Ellaru vidha vidhamana palaharam pathi yezuthi ennaku India nyavagam hoo hoo 😦

    BTw…maami…super golu…:)

    one doubtu…is golu kept at the house where there are girls ?

    Rekha: Thank you. Kolu is followed in families that have the tradition. Even then, it is optional, but they say once you start, you cannot stop. Families that have daughters tend to take the option because it is more fun for girls.

  9. Raj

    Good collection.. Mahavishnu $40?? Avar kittaye kadan vangi than vanganum pola irukke….

    Rekha: Yep, aana face elaam azhaga irundhudhu, so not bad.

    Goody baggoda thatum unda? velli thatu thane?..

    Goody bag stuff was all in a normal brown paper bag. Thattu elaam kadayaadhu, plus it is 1$ thattu, not velli and all.

    >>>>It’s true.. really.. seriously.. how many times have you enjoyed getting dressed? Thiruppi thiruppi adhae pant shirt.. bore!
    Parava illai…vidungo… (a) shoppingnu solli kadai kadaiya eri iranga vendam (b) purse thappikum (c) reception ready aganumna ‘virathathu’ podhe dress panna arambika vendam…(d) etc etc. Yappa ippadi patta enjoyment vendamda samee..

    Hehe..andha sugam oru thani sugam thaan.

    Finally.. Kudos to you and all those who still follow these traditional stuff in ‘vellaikara nadu’ also….


    Btw 3rd step konjam slantinga illai? Mudincha sari pannalame??
    Oru velai unga ‘my african animals’oda seshtaya irukumo??

    Yes, I also realized only after taking the photo, which made me realize our dining table is getting old. It’s probably not able to take the wt of the coffee table and all those books on it.

  10. Hi. Beautiful golu. I am an American and I love Navarathri golu and celebrate in my house for past 5 years. It is a favorite festival. Your daughter’s toys reminded me of the time I had my niece participate (sister’s daughter) she put up her stuffed dolls and Brats barbie doll. IT was fun. i also give a gift bag. What is vethalai? See my blog some time with my stories of golu and photos too. Happy Navarathri.

    Rekha: Wow.. that is so cool. I scanned your blog briefly and am very surprised and impressed by the fact that you take the trouble to celebrate all these festivals in spite of not having had a background. Guess there is something for others to learn from you. Vethalai is betel leaf – Along with the areca nut, kumkum and turmeric, it is considered auspicious to give to ‘sumangalis’ or married women. But it’s very expensive here, and most people in our age-group don’t eat it (unlike the older generation).

  11. OOps forgot to mention.. Love your invite.. Fantastic creativity there!! You are fortunate to have a full house on Navarathri. God /Goddess has indeed blessed you!

    Rekha: Thank you. I was wondering if anybody even noticed the invite – glad to see you did.

  12. RT

    45 peruku seva naazhi-la seva puzhinja yena aagardhu? it is Idiyappam / lakshmi brand rice sevai that we get in indian store. but that reminds me i have to add sevai naazhi to my “to get list” from India.

    Big dolls USA-la NJ-la kadaikume! Infact. this time yenga veetula Navarathiri -ku lunch-ku vandhavaaluku “Vazha elai” sapadu!

    It’s NJ – anything south indian is possible here πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    BTW, enum navarathiri mudiyala, but I have started thinking about deepavali. Mami, bakshanam yenna yenna pana porel decide panitela?

    Rekha: NJ lae vaazha ilai elaam kadaekuma? Malli poo, kalyana bakshanam adhulaam kadaekkumnu theriyum.. but vaazha illai?? Chicago has a long way to go I guess. I’ve heard abt the dolls in NJ, next time I should take a look.

  13. g3diary

    Hey nice golu i am amazed how much you can do even when you are not in india…..being in india working guys do miss out doing many things…

    In fact this year, for our golu I called all of my team at work for lunch but no one turned up owing to rains (which just started late noon) and mainly because they didn’t want to travel from one end of city to another on a weekend…I was sad…but your blog lighted my spirits..

    I will post my golu snaps too…soon..

    Rekha: Yes, I find people in India have stopped socializing a lot, probably stressful lives and too much traffic on the roads. That way, things are probably a little better here. I had some colleague who visited all the way from 1 and half hours away with husband and kids who had dozed off on the way.

  14. Me


    don’t get the press type naazhi…romba kashtam…get this kind …idhu ungulakkay therinji irukkum…

    engendhu golu bommai vangarel? South Indian Specialties laya? vera yedhana kadai la vikkarala?


    we get vazhai elai too..that too in walmart….but usually it comes in a huge pack…oru maasam saapadra alavukku irukkum..

    try some mexican grocery stores they might carry it…

    Rekha: Ohh.. I never found it. When I was pregnant I had a major craving for full saapadu on vaazha ilai, but never got a chance to eat like that. Also checked out sevaimagic – semma coolaa irukku. When I go to India, I am going to take a look and see if it’s worth bring back here. NRI Maama is going to fume!

  15. RT

    SIS kadai dhan. I think no one else does that anywhere in USA, even if they do, am sure it is not as large as what SIS does.

    Vazhai ella walmart -laiya? Are you talking about fresh ones? Am not talking about frozen. The ones i bought are fresh. Also long back I had brought “Dhonnai” from India. So adhula dhan payasam server panen – Edhu yepadi eruku? πŸ™‚

    Forgot, malli poo-vom undu – poojai-ku vandhavaluku I gave malli poo.

    Yelame India-la festival celebrate panara feel kondu varanum-nu oru aaval dhan!

    Rekha: Cool.. Malli pooo.. Hmmmm

  16. Me


    Bay area la Komala Vilas la kadaikardhamey…

    yes we used to get fresh vazhai elai in walmart…but nuni elai kidaikadhu…only the middle portion…we got that couple of times once for pillayar chuthurthi …and other times summa elai la saapada aasai nrathukaaga…

    ennadhu dhonnai la payasam aaaa….RT neenga yengayoo poiteenga…

    Malli veetla poothadha? please don’t tell me malli poo is available every evening at store…oru manushan evalo dhan thaangikaradhu…

    NRI Maami:

    adutha goluku ..dining table lam pottu kashtapadadheenga use Golu padi from home depot

    Rekha: Ayyo.. Home depot Golu Padiya? Inga table vechi arrange pannarthukke enga aathu maama mookala azhuvaar. If he knows I am going to spend money and buy something like that he will get really mad, but I would love a good kolu padi. I am not too impressed with this hotch-potch Kolu padi I’ve made.

  17. RT

    Yes, as @Me said, next time try Golu Padi using Stair Risers from home depot – we did that. I can give you more info on that for next time. you can do it dismantle and keep it – doesnt occupy much space.

    I dont know about Komala Vilas. But Kadhi Kraft / Poompuhar range-ku display … big big dolls [more than 2 feet ht dolls yelam eruku] – South Indian specialities -sa adichuka mudiyadhu. Malli poo from there only – 1 week varaikum fresh-sha eruku pa!

    I have been a slilent blog hopper for more than a year now. Endha Navarathiri-ku romba hyper aaiten. Comment-ta pani thalaren – not anywhere, this is the first blog am commenting on comments!

    Rekha: Checked out the SIS website.. quite impressive, but NJ lae irundhirundha I could’ve bought.

  18. Me


    yes saw that on their website.. but am not buying anything this time…carried a bunch of dolls from India last feb but no golu this time…so aduthu yearku ellam ready… πŸ™‚

    ..reading blogs, commenting on blogs, commenting on comments …adutha step writing a post dhan…koodiyaka seekaramey oru blog aarambichidungo..

  19. prem

    err…u had dasavatharam on step 1? did u had a computer playing the movie? or did u keep the dvd there?i knew you and MR maami were great fans of the movie…but didnt know you were SUCH great fans!


    for illiterates such as i…whats dasavatharam? all i know it was a dumb movie made by kamal….

    Rekha: You are indeed illiterate on the subject of dasavatharam. Next time you come home, look to your right as soon as you enter, and on the wall you will see what we mean by dasavatharam. You’ve walked past it a 100 times, and you’re asking now? πŸ˜€

  20. Ayyo, this maami convo is making me worry. Idhu enode first golu. Aana vonnum pannale πŸ™‚ Kalyanathile kudtha rendu Marapachi bommai vacchutom.

    Very nice golu πŸ™‚ Reminds me of home. And the convo is very worrying – that I haven’t even thought of these things. Sigh.

    Rekha: Relax.. First Kolu is always like that. I also ignored the first kolu, I started only the year after that.

  21. wow cool…. two things that I found surprising… LED’s instead of velakus? inflation of GOLDWINNER hits US also?? and no vethalai?? integral part ya. usually amma jus brings them home allows them to wilt… afterall i get 20 for a 2rs!!

    Rekha: LED ones are much more convenient, because otherwise I am always worried that my daughter will go near it or topple it. Gold winner option inga illavae illai – only Idhayam nalla yennai or Olive oil. Inga 20 for 20 rs kadaechaa.. naangalum ponaa potamnu kudupom.. Here it sells for yaanai vilai.

  22. padmajav

    wow! That was awesome!! These are the times I miss having a daughter…

    Rekha: Well.. at least you are lucky to have a Momma’s boy.. I have a Daddy’s girl.. so not much support.

  23. Me

    Maami happy deepavali!!!

    looking fwd to bakshanam photos..:)

    Rekha: Happy Deepavali to you too. Photos ready. No time to upload and write – will do it soon!

  24. Veda Desikan

    Hello Mammi, Your looks very impressive. I am more than delighted to see it. Can you help me by suggesting where can I buy the pre made steps. I understand some people are making in NJ and NY. I do not have contact information. Can someone help me on that?

  25. ramya

    Hello mami,
    I wanted to share some information that all the people looking forward to decorating their golu will like.

    I bought a good number of dolls from
    They import the dolls from the artisans in india and ship it to anywhere in USA. They have a good collection of dolls and sets like the village set, brahmosavam, kaadukuthu set even saapadu set. Even some dolls depicting stories like the gajendra motcham… thats a good way to make kids learn some traditional stories too.

    I mailed them for information and they gave discount coupon codes for 2010 purchase. Hope u guys enjoy and have a great navarathiri this year.

  26. Nali

    Your Golu & your efforts are all good. Do you have any idea how much fun it is to have a son…It is just Naive on your part to say “how boring it must be to have a son”….. I have 2 little boys & they just love and appreciate Indian culture….having a child is a blessing it a boy or a girl. Just appreciate that blessing

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