Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Navaratri - The Indian Festival

From the title, you may have found that this post is something different from the usual DIYs. Yes, Today I am going to be sharing about the Indian Festival "Navaratri" which means "Nine(Nava) Nights(Ratri)". It is celebrated in a variety of ways in various parts of the country. In Southern India(Where I am from), we celebrate by displaying different kinds of dolls in an odd number of steps  called as "Bommai golu".Varieties of dolls vary from various avatars of Hindu gods, scenes from Hindu Scriptures, Mini statues of Indian leaders to day-to-day scenes like parks, temples, etc. Today I am going to show you how I have displayed "Bommai golu" in my house.

It all starts with assembly of steps. Usually, the steps are made of wood but nowadays there are 2 in 1 steel shelves available which ranges from 3 to 9 steps. Due to space constraint, I decided to make my golu as a mini version. So I made my steps using cardboard and decided to source the dolls which are 4 to 5 inches. My mom has a big closet especially to store these dolls but I just fit all these in a small box inside a drawer(Easy peasy!). Last year was the first time I set up this "Bommai golu" all by myself in New york and I couldn't find enough dolls to fit my mini 5 steps.  So I asked my dad to source me some dolls saying him the specifications as the dolls should only be 4 inches in height.

These golu dolls are typically made from earthen clay and painted but are available in paper mache and wood nowadays. The dolls I have purchased are usually the ones which are sold as dolls for display in houses(Inside Showcases) all year around.My dad purchased some mini dolls but they were huge compared to the dolls I have(Won't fit) for the steps I have designed and also don't go well with the other dolls. But I decided to bring two dolls back to the USA for this year golu. They are called as " Chettiyar(The man) and chettiyar amma(The women). Chettiyar is a caste in the Hindu religion who are coined as business people. (There is a lot of story behind it which we will not go deep into) So in those days these dolls are kept in the golu and as a kid, I used to fill my kitchen play toy utensils with rice, dal , etc and keep it in front of these dolls to create a scene like Chettiyar is selling those items.

As things have changed a lot, I thought I should make a supermarket scene to replace the traditional scene of Chettiyar selling goods from small utensils. So, I came up with an idea to make a supermarket scene and named it as "C-mart".

I used foam board to make the walls, refrigerator, and the POS table. I used Cardboard and bamboo skewers to make the middle shelves and covered the cardboard shelves & POS table with White duct tape.

Made the vegetables, products in the shelves, utensils using polymer clay. To mimic the burlap rice bags, I printed a burlap wallpaper onto a sticker paper and sandwich a piece of foam board into it to make burlap bags. Also, I used some Perler beads and clear shipping tape to mimic various lentils. 

Most of these are Indian products but some of them all available everywhere. Can you spot any?

Can you identify any products??

I really love how the toilet cleaninf brush turned out ;) Made them using pip cleaners and silver washi tape . 

To make the refrigerator door and exit door, I used acetate sheets which were the left over from DIY Pendant lamp project and used black electrical tape to create the borders.

Also made a mini POS device, bill generator and credit card swiping machine using polymer clay.

On the other side, I made a scene from Mahabharata called "Krishna Leela or Ras Leela" where people mostly girls dance around Lord Krishna.

I also made a rangoli using my silhouette cutting machine. Rangoli is considered as an auspicious sign in Hindu culture and it is usually drawn using rice flour or rice flour mixed with a stone powder. As we live in an apartment where the floors are fully carpet I thought I will stick with the paper version of rangoli.

Hope you enjoyed my display of "Bommai Golu". C-mart was a last minute idea. I had only 2 to 3 days to complete the project before setting up this display. So I have decided to add the improvisations  for the next year like people shopping around pushing the cart, parking lot with cart station and cars, items in the freezer, naming the Aisle, etc.

Share with me what you think in the comments below. As always I will be happy to hear from you.



  1. Love hearing about this Indian Festival tradition. All the details you put into the dioramas are amazing. Thanks for sharing at the #InspirationSpotlight Pinned & shared.

  2. That is amazing! You are so talented! #HomeMattersParty

  3. Wow, amazing! The amount of detail is incredible! Very beautiful! #HomeMattersParty

  4. Wow, your attention to detail and working on such a small scale is amazing. It will be fun to see how you add to it each year. I think that's a great idea! #HomeMattersParty

    1. Thank you, Nicole :) I should do this every year :)

  5. Great idea of building up steps with the boxes! #HomeMattersParty

    1. Thank you, Crystal :) They are so easy to disassemble and maintain. Also, they occupy less space :)

  6. This is such beautiful artwork!!! It reminds me of our Mexican pottery, very similar! I love it!! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Just beautiful! Love having you as a co-host of #HomeMattersParty

  8. This is so pretty. I love the details you put into all of these pieces too.



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