In the Southern states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and some communities of Kerala, special tradition of Navratri Kolu is practiced during nine days of Navrarti. Also referred as Navratri Golu, basically it is the tradition of displaying dolls/ kolus / golus in odd numbered (7, 9) tiers. Women and unmarried girls at home decorate the dolls and set these dolls on planks in corner of the house.

Even some people invite special artists for exhibiting dolls in eye-catching manner while at some places, the communal kolu is organized at the grand level in the centre of society or apartments. In such communal affairs, huge collection of dolls is made by collecting dolls from different houses in that particular area. These dolls are passed on from generations to generations and even new dolls are also added on each navratri.


There is a custom to visit relatives and friend’s houses in order to see their kolu during navratris. Host family give them Prasad (offering presented before god) and kumkum. Married and unmarried women also exchange gifts like coconut, clothes and sweets. In the evenings, whole family sit together before Goddess and lit a "kuthuvilakku" (small lamp) in centre of Rangoli and chant devotional hymns and shlokas. After that food items prepared on that particular day are presented before Goddess and distributed as prasad.


Devotees strongly believe that dolls or kolu represents the assembly of Goddess Durga. As per belief the idea of arranging these dolls on different tiers symbolizes that Goddess Mahishasura Mardini is sitting in her Kolu, prior to the assassination of the demon Mahishasura.

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