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Kalash or Kalasha is a coconut circled by mango leaves on a pot. The pot for the Kalasha can be made of clay, brass or copper. A kalasha can be filled with water, rice or other grains. Mango leaves are arranged in the mouth of the pot. A coconut – outer green covering removed – is placed over the mouth of the pot. The neck of the pot is tied with a white, yellow or red colored thread or cloth. Some people draw a swastika on the side of the pot. Depending on their artistic skill, some draw various designs using natural products.
The Kalasha symbolically represents creation. The vacant pot, symbolizes earth, and the water filled symbolizes the primordial water from which life began on earth. Life began in water and nothing can exist in this world without water.
The mango leaves represent the life forms. And coconut a product from the life forms is again filled with water symbolically representing endless cycle and the single thread that runs in all of us.
You can buy Bhommais at Poompuhar or Ranganathan Street in Chennai. (http://divyaswords.sulekha.com/blog…)
You can also see these links
Please see http://www.hindu-blog.com/2008/09/m… to know about Marapachi Dolls
Marapachi Dolls are an indispensable part of Navaratri Bommai Kolu doll arrangements. Marapachi Bommai literally means wooden toys. Golu or Kolu is the display of dolls during Navratri in South India especially in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and parts of Kerala. Marapachi wooden dolls are figures that were made for children from dark wood. They were toys for children in ancient days. But today they are confined to the Golu display. In 2008, Navratri puja begins on September 30.
Marapachi Dolls are a pair of male and female dolls which forms the most important part of Navarathri Golu arrangements. They are sold as a couple – male and female. The dolls are mostly made of reddish wood. They are finely carved and are available in various sizes. During display, the wooden couple is beautifully adorned with colorful attires and jewellery.
Marapachi dolls are a proud possession for many people and are handed down generations.
The female doll in Marapachi dolls is displayed to the right of the male doll and is usually placed on the first step or after Lord Ganesh. Marapachi dolls are mainly made in Tirupati.
Please see http://www.hindu-blog.com/2007/10/b… to know How the Kolu Dolls are Traditionally arranged
Bommai Kolu :
Bommai Kolu or Bommala Koluvu is the artistic display of dolls by women during Navarathri and Dusshera in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and among certain communities in Kerala. In 2008, Navaratri begins on September 30. The dolls, called Kollu or Golu, represents the durbar or assembly of Goddess Durga. This assembly is held just before Mother Goddess ventures on her mission to slay Mahishasura, the buffalo-headed demon. Therefore when depicted along with the ‘kolu,’ Goddess Durga is also referred as Mahishasura-mardini.
Earlier, special artisans were invited to homes to create kolu dolls. But nowadays most people rely on readymade kolu dolls and ‘special Bommai kolu’ sets that hit the market during the period. The kolu arrangement is a forte of women and young girls. Creative women add new dolls to their collection each year. Some women collect dolls throughout the year keeping in mind the Navratri Kolu. It must be noted here that some of the dolls used in Navratri kolu are very old as they have been handed down to generations.
But sadly the Bommai Kolu ritual is no longer held as elaborately as they used to be in houses. Nowadays, people rarely find time to collect or make dolls and therefore the Bommai Kolu is slowly becoming a community affair. The huge collection of dolls from various households in an area makes the community Bommai Kolu a grand affair.
How the Kolu Dolls are Traditionally arranged?
The Navratri or Dasara kolu is displayed on stairs created from wood. The number of steps depends on the availability of the dolls. The maximum number is nine – representing the nine days of Navratri. Usually, the steps erected are even numbers – 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 or 11.
There are no hard and fast rules for arranging the dolls. Nowadays, the arrangement depends on the availability of dolls. In most places, the entire nine steps will be filled with statues of various gods and goddesses in Hindu pantheon. For some, the Navratri Kolu is a simple arrangement of various deities in three steps.
The topmost three steps are dedicated to various gods and goddesses. In some areas, people place a ‘Purna Kumbham’ on the topmost step.
The next three steps – 4, 5 and 6 – are dedicated to Gurus, saints, religious personalities and other highly respected figures in the country and world.
The seventh step is dedicated to various social activities and festivals. People depict marriages and important festivals in this step.
Business, crafts and other economic activities are depicted in the eighth step. Creative women depict a buzzing market place and other activities.
The ninth step is dedicated to dolls made of wood. Dolls of men, women, children, animals and birds are placed in this step.
During Bommai Kolu, the entire neighborhood, friends and relatives gather in a house and sing bhajans dedicated to Goddess Durga. Special sweets are prepared during the period.
On the Vijayadashami day (the tenth day), the dolls are taken out.
You can also see http://www.hindu-blog.com/2007/10/n…