Of dolls, stories, & a unique Dasara: The tradition of Bommala Koluvu is still alive

Not just in Andhra Pradesh, there are many families from Andhra Pradesh, who got settled in Hyderabad observing this religiously, keeping koluvu at their home.

By Sri Lakshmi Muttevi  Published on  2 Oct 2022 9:30 AM GMT
Of dolls, stories, & a unique Dasara: The tradition of Bommala Koluvu is still alive

Visakhapatnam: Dasara festival is all about dandiya, dressing up in red and white attire, and cooking delicious food at home. But how many of us still remember our childhood days when our grandmothers were busy preparing for Bommala Koluvu, the festival of dolls? Not just in Andhra Pradesh, there are many families from Andhra Pradesh, who got settled in Hyderabad observing this religiously, keeping koluvu at their home. Many of the families living in the apartments gather at one home and make bommala koluvu in a grand way.

What is Bommala Koluvu?

Bommala Koluvu also known as Golu is the traditional practice of displaying dolls that depict mythological stories, festivals of Andhra Pradesh, animals, water parks, cultural activities, and several other stories.

Goddess Bala Tripura Sundari who likes toys and children is worshipped every Dasara through Bommala Koluvu. A Golu, with five or nine levels, is set up at home during the Navaratri festival. Neighbours and family members are invited to see the Golu. Many of them also bring a new toy which is then displayed in the Golu.


The Golu starts with displaying the idols of god and goddess and the other levels depict mythological stories from Ramayana, Mahabharata, Dasavataram, and scenes from temples, marriage scenes, railway stations, schools, parks, shopping malls, villages, cities, and beaches. Bommala Koluvu depicts our culture which is explained through stories for children.

Keeping the tradition alive

Many households still follow the tradition and continue to celebrate Bommala Koluvu. For Usha Sri, who is gearing up for Bommala Koluvu this Dasara, has been busy planning for the day for a week, making sure she has all the stories that are to be included in her Bommala Koluvu. "My grandmother used to keep a Golu every year, and I am now keeping the tradition alive every Dasara. I collect toys and keep them safe. Whenever I visit any place, I make sure I get a doll made by the local artisan. Most of the toys I brought are from Etikoppaka, Kondapalli," said Usha.

"I still remember my grandmother arranging idols for Bommala Koluvu and for years she used to safely keep all the idols wrapped in boxes after Navaratri and use them every year," she recalls.


Another woman, Rama, who is also an artist, prepares her toys and makes miniature dolls for her Golu. The dolls and stories in her Golu have become a special attraction in the neighborhood.

Festival of dolls

The Koluvu is kept for nine/five/three days during Navaratri, and the households perform puja every morning and evening. Evenings are busy with children and neighbors arriving to listen to stories from the elderly, reciting shlokas, dancing, and singing before the Koluvu.



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