The Significance of Navratri Golu

Navratri Golu is also known as Kolu Bommai, Kolu meaning display and Bommai meaning doll.

What is Golu?

It is a festive tiered display of dolls and figurines of people, gods and goddesses in South Indian -- specifically Tamil, Kannada and Telugu -- families during Navratri. (Sorta similar to the Nativity scene we often see during Christmas).

Typically, these dolls are passed down generations, collected over many years, with one new doll added each year. They are set up in a series of odd numbers (typically 3, 5, 7, or 11), and are placed on these steps to symbolize the spiritual progression of people over time and the evolution of divinity.

The Hierarchy

Across each level of the display, there are many stories and activities from daily life acted out through the dolls.

Over the years, the steps can't hold everything so some families also create "side stories" with the dolls.

For example:

• A cricket game
• A marriage scene
• Raas leela with Krishna and gopis
• The story of Krishna and Govardhan
• A procession of a God around a temple
• A mountain with a God sitting on top, that shows devotees climbing up towards it

Families invite others to take in their displays and share food, stories and life with each other during Navratri.


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Modi Toys is a children's brand of toys and books inspired by ancient Hindu culture. We exist to spread joy and to spark curiosity in the next generation through our innovative soft plush toys, illustrated children's books and free learning resources. Our weekly Theology Thursday series covers a wide range of topics rooted in Hinduism to help us better understand the origins of traditions, the symbolic meaning of rituals, and the stories behind Hindu holidays and festivals. The more we can understand "the why" behind this 4,000 year ancient religion, and make sense of it in this modern age, the greater we can appreciate and preserve our rich Hindu culture. While we take great care in thoroughly researching the information presented, we may occasionally get some things wrong. We encourage a healthy and open dialogue so we can learn together. Please leave a comment below or email us directly at to address any concerns. 

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