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GOLU AROUND THE GLOBE

Take a peek at Veena Krishnan's golu from Chennai, India

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We have been keeping Golu at home generations after generations. Ours is a very traditional golu, we adhere to culture and traditional values and use only themes in golu to spread the less known spiritual stories every year. This year we have kept 19 steps.

The theme is Prahalada Varadan - Narasimha Avatar - we have tried to depict the 4th avatar of Mahavishnu through 16 stories, many of the dolls are hand-made; we have customized the dolls to narrate the story with relevant back-drops. One lamp decorated as Lord Narasimha with Prahalad

Narasimha is the fourth avatar of the Lord Vishnu. He is believed to have taken the avatar to destroy the demon King Hiranyakashipu. Narasimha is visualised in a human-like body with a lion-like face and claws. In Bhagawat Purana, it is described that as Varaha, Lord Vishnu killed Hiraṇayakṣa. Hiranayaksa’s younger brother, Hiranyakashipu wanted revenge from Lord Vishnu for the death of his brother. After many years of his austere penance, Lord Brahma offered him the boon of immortality on conditions that he cannot be killed by man or beast or devil or god. He cannot die in day or night. Steel or stone or wood, indoors or outdoors, or on earth or sky, Hiranyakashipu can die nowhere and by no one. After securing his death wishes, Hiranyakashipu became a tyrant with his intent to conquer everything. Having obtained the wish he considered himself the supreme God and frobade all worship of gods by anyone. But his son Prahlada, was an ardent devotee of Vishnu. This enraged Hiranyakasyapa very much. He ordered numerous ways to kill Prahlada including asking his sister Holika to sit with Prahlada in the fire. But everytime Prahlada escaped unhurt. Enraged, once he asked Prahlad to show him the Lord Vishnu. Prahlad said, "He is everywhere". Further enraged, Hiranyakasyapa knocked down a pillar, and asked if Lord was present there. Lord Vishnu then emerged as a half lion, half man from the pillar which was neither inside the house nor outside, and the time was evening, neither night nor day. He then killed Hiranyakasyapa thus saving the life of his devotee Prahlada. This happened during twilight hours, which was neither day nor night. He sat on the threshold of the court room which is neither inside nor outside and pierced his nails into the body of Hiranyakashipu and opened his stomach.
We have also depicted the Srivari Brahmotsavam celebrated during navarathri at Sri Venkateswara Temple in Tirumala-Tirupati. During the festival, the Utsava-murti (processional deity) of the presiding deity Lord Venkateswara, along with his consorts Sridevi and Bhudevi, will be taken on a procession on different Vahanams on the streets surrounding the temple. Many of the vahanas displayed are hand-made; dolls have been customized to bring out the festival.
­ "Dwajarohana," the hoisting of the Garuda flag at the Dhvajastambham and the king bringing new vastram for the lord
­ Pedda Sesha Vahanam
­ Chinna Sesha Vahanam
­ Hamsa Vahanam
­ Simha Vahanam
­ Muthyala Pallaki Vahanam
­ Kalpa Vruksha Vahanam
­ Sarva Bhoopala Vahanam
­ Unjal uthsavam
­ Mohini Avatharam
­ Garuda Vahanam - during Garuda vahanam, Venkateswara will be decorated by garlands sent from Srivilliputhur Andal temple
­ Hanumantha Vahanam
­ Gaja Vahanam
­ Surya Prabha Vahanam
­ Chandra Prabha Vahanam
­ Rathostavam
­ Ashwa Vahanam
­ Chakra Snanam - The concluding day is the Janma Nakshatra of Sri Venkateswara, which is celebrated in a grand way

The other highlights are
­ Marapatchi dolls decorated as Bride & Groom
­ Weddings of Seetha, Rukmani, Meenakshi, Valli and Pillayar
­ Unique forms of Amman worshipped in India
­ Important Vishnu temples
­ Different types of the famous Tanjore dancing dolls
­ A section of the kolu is completely eco-friendly

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