The Marubai Gavdevi Temple in Matunga has, for the past few days, witnessed young visitors coming to see an assemblage of dolls arranged at the temple. This is part of the nine-day Golu festival, where small dolls dressed to represent gods and goddesses are arranged on an odd number of stairs (padis).
“At least three schools have brought their pre-primary students to the temple to see the Golu dolls so far. This is the first time it has happened since we started keeping the dolls 12 years ago, and it is a heartening trend,” said Anil Gawand, managing trustee of the 300-year-old temple.
The tradition of celebrating the Golu festival at the Matunga temple started in 2000, when a group of south Indian women devotees began celebrating the festival there.
The Maharashtrian trustees of the temple also celebrate other festivals such as the Mata ki Chowki and Navratri.
The Golu festival, with the display of dolls and themes, is popular with the younger generation. At the Ramakrishnans’ residence in Sion, nine-year-old Karthik and 11-year-old Jahanve make arrangements every year.
“They are completely involved in preparing for the festival and are extremely keen to explain the concept to visitors,” said their mother Usha Ramakrishnan, who would encourage the siblings to have a social theme for the celebrations.
“Over the last few years, the children have based the themes on traffic rules, importance of forests, festivals of India, etc. However, they could not follow it this year,” she added.
“I help my mother arrange the dolls and get everything ready for the puja,” said Karthik, a Class four student.
Owing to school exams, the Golu decorations at the Krishnamurthys’ Goregaon residence have been restricted to three padis this year. “Both my children have their exams going on and we couldn’t manage to make the Golu arrangements up to five padis like we usually do,” said Sudha Krishnamurthy, who uses mud and wooden idols during the festival.