Tuesday December 19, 2017

Bombe Habba: The beautiful festival of Dolls

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By Nithin Sridhar

Mysore is famous all across the world for its celebration of Dasara festival (also called as Dussera, Dashahara in other parts of India) that includes various religious and cultural events such as the famous Dasara procession that happens on the day of Vijayadashami.

6Among various traditions that are associated with Dasara, one beautiful practice that is unique in its observation is the festival of dolls called as ‘Bombe Habba’.

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The Doll Festival is widely observed across South India. It is unique in the sense that it not only appeals to the people with spiritual or religious bent, but also those who are creative and with tastes for art and handicrafts.

DSC05701Traditionally, the celebration involves arranging the dolls on stepped platform that usually contains nine-steps signifying nine days of Nava-Ratri. The dolls are usually arranged based on themes from Hindu Puranas and Itihasas.

3A conventional manner of arranging the dolls is that on the lower most three steps, the idols of various Gods and Goddess are kept. The subsequent three steps are used to place icons of kings, queens, saints, and other leaders. The final three steps are used to showcase scenes from Hindu festivals and events from everyday life.

DSC05607This arrangement not only serves as a medium to explain various stories from these Puranas containing many moral and spiritual lessons to small children, but it also helps the children to connect with the religion in a creative and artistic manner.

2The central character in the Bombe Habba is the pair of wooden dolls who represent the King and Queen, may be as a reminiscence of olden days when kings used to rule Mysore, who are called as ‘Raja Rani Dolls’ or ‘Pattada Gombe’ (Royal Dolls). These wooden dolls are washed, cleaned, and adorned in new clothes and are usually placed in a prominent position during the display.

7The festival was once widely celebrated across Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and erstwhile Andhra Pradesh. But, the practice has dwindled over the last few decades especially in urban areas owing to pressures of modern urbanized life. Now, fewer households arrange and display dolls throughout Navaratri. Many families keep only the ‘Pattada Gombe’ as a customary gesture.

4But, all is not lost yet. With an intention to generate interest among people towards the Doll festival, Ramsons Kala Pratishtana has been organizing “Bombe Mane” (House of Dolls) – an exhibition of thousands of dolls with varied themes, every year since past decade in Mysore.

FeatureThis year, they have organized the 11th edition of ‘Bombe Mane’. The organization intends to not only rekindle the interest among people towards dolls, but also to support various artisans and doll makers.

1Every year, they put an exhibition cum sale of dolls procured from various states for around 50 days during the time of Dasara. One unique feature of this Doll exhibition is that, every year they design the exhibition around a central theme. This year the central theme is ‘Sapta-Matrikas’– the seven mother goddesses of Hinduism- Brahmi, Maheshwari, Kaumari, Vaishnavi, Varahi, Indrani, and Chandika.

IMG_20151010_142411Speaking to NewsGram, R.G.Singh, Secretary of Ramsons Kala Pratishtana, said that around 400-500 people on average are coming to the Bombe Mane each day. The exhibition began on 25th September and will end on 15th November. Singh added that he expects a sale of Rs. 20-25 lakh this year.

9Dolls made from different materials like clay, wood, terracotta, plaster of Paris, cloth, and metal were all on display. Singh said that at any time during exhibition around 8000 dolls and idols are displayed in public.

IMG_20151010_135603When asked about his involvement with Doll-making industry, Singh said that he has been in the industry since 1970, when he and some others started Ramsons Handicrafts Sales Emporium. Later, they started Ramsons Kala Pratishtana to support artisans.

8Singh said that lately people are preferring smaller dolls over larger ones, and dolls which are easier to handle like those made of wood than dolls made of clay that needs careful handling.

10He added that though a large number of people have begun to purchase dolls which do not have religious themes, yet the majority of sales happen from dolls that depict religious and mythological themes.

Bombe Mane’ is open for visitors between 10 AM and 7 PM till November 15.

  • Great Information.
    Checkout Exclusive Dasara idols, theme based sets, available online at discounted prices at readypooja dot

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Devotees Offer Prayers to Goddess Durga and Observe Fast for Nine Divine Nights, Starting Today

Navratri is a multiple days Hindu festival acknowledged during the autumn, every year. The festival holds immense importance in Hinduism as it is the festival of victory over evils

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Navratri
the nine-night Navratri Hindu festival

New Delhi, September 21, 2017: Millions of Hindus prayers in temples and observe a fast across India, as the nine-night Navratri Hindu festival begins on Thursday, September 21.

Navaratri or Navarathri, is a multiple days Hindu festival acknowledged during the autumn, every year. The festival holds immense importance in Hinduism.

Whereas, theoretically Navratri falls twice a year; the autumn Navratri also called as the Sharada Navaratri is the most popular.

Sharada Navaratri is celebrated during the lunar month of Ashvin which is post-monsoon (September–October).

Navratri
Durga puja is observed in the honor of divine Goddess Durga Maa

It is observed that the festival is celebrated for a different reason in the different part of the country.

  • Durga puja is observed in the honor of divine Goddess Durga Maa in the eastern and northeastern part of India, apposite to Navratri. It resembles the battle to restore Dharma and peace, Goddess Durga battles and emerges victory over Narkasur, the buffalo demon.
  • Dussehra is celebrated in the northern and western parts of India. ‘Rama Lila’ and Dussehra is a celebration of the triumph of Lord Ram over the demon king Ravana.
  • Similarly, in the southern part, the victory of Lord Rama or Saraswati is observed.

The victory of good over evil is the main cause of this celebration, sharing a famous epic like the Ramayana or the Devi Mahatmya.

It is believed that during Navratri, Goddess Durga or Lord Rama descends on earth to rid of demons and bless their devotees with happiness and prosperity.

Devotees believe that by controlling physical needs like hunger, a person can gain spiritually and that fasting helps create harmony between the body and soul. People fast for nine days to make their wishes come true.

The chanting of spiritual slokas, decorative pandals, new clothes, enacting stories of the legends is everything that happens in this multi-day Hindu festival. It is among the rich culture of the Hindus where public celebration of theatres, music, and dance be a part of this festivity.

The festival comes to an end with the final day, Dussehra or Vijaya Dashami, where the idols of the evil are burnt and alternatively the idols of the Gods and Goddess from the festival are immersed in the water body.

– Prepared by Abhishek Biswas of NewsGram twitter: @Writing_desire

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24 years after Converting his Faith to Islam, 52-year-old Sheshadri from Mysore Returns to Hinduism

What was the reason for his conversion from Islam to back to his original religion Hinduism?

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Sheshadri originally belonged to a Brahmin family
(Representative image) Sheshadri originally belonged to a Brahmin family. Wikimedia
  • Sheshadri lost his mother when he was only 2 years old and he also lost his father while he was studying in class 10
  • No one from his community came to help him and to survive he had to take odd jobs at hotels in Mysore and Bengaluru 
  • He adopted Islam religion as he developed a liking for that religion

 Mysore, Karnataka, August 25, 2017:  Sheshadri, an old man from Mysore who is  59 yrs old and earlier belonged to a Brahmin family and Shree Vaishnava Pantha Brahmin community. He later adopted Islam religion. Now, after a long duration of time, Sheshadri and his 20-year-old son Syed Ateek have converted back to Hinduism.

Here’s how a Brahmin man who first converted to Islam and later came back to his own religion- Hinduism:

  • Sheshadri is a resident of Jakkanahalli (a small village which falls in Mandya district) town Shree Ranga Pattana in Karnataka. His profession is that of a lorry driver in Mandya.
  • His father’s name was late B Govindaraju, who was a priest and follower of Ramanujacharya, a Hindu theologian and held a belief in Vishishtadvaita (non-dualistic school of Vedanta philosophy).
  • His mother’s name was Kamalamma, who was a Shaiva Brahmin and follower of Adi Shankara’s Advaita Vedanta (a type of Hindu philosophy and religious practice, they believe that their soul is not really different from God). 
  • But his parents didn’t have an easy life as they had to leave the town as the community opposed their marriage.

ALSO READ: Tamil Brahmin’s transformation to urban middle class 

  • Sheshadri didn’t have a normal childhood. He lost his mother when he was only 2 years old and he also lost his father while he was studying in class 10.
  • During those tough days no one from his community came to help him, to survive he had to take odd jobs at hotels in Mysore and Bengaluru.
  • In 1993, he started working as a lorry driver with Syed Keezer from Kollegala. At that time, Sheshadri adopted Islam religion as he developed a liking for that religion.
  • Sheshadri married Fahmida, who was a relative of Syed Keezer and with her, he had two sons- Syed Ateek and Syed Siddiq.
  • But even his marriage didn’t last long as Fahmida left Sheshadri 2 years ago because of some conflict and after it, she started living with her parents and took her younger son Syed Siddiq along with her.
  • This event affected him in a huge way, leaving him frustrated and thus he decided to convert back to the religion he originally belonged to that is Hinduism.
  • His elder son Syed Ateeq joined him in conversion and changed his name to Harshal.
  • Sheshadri talked about the reason for conversion from Islam to Hinduism. According to Banglore Mirror report, he said “I embraced Islam and married a Muslim woman due to restrictions from our community. I was always eager to come back to Hinduism. I will now persuade my wife and the other son to convert to Hinduism.”
  • There was a Ghar Waapsi (homecoming) programme held for Sheshadri, conducted by Pramod Mutalik, Sri Ram Sene chief at the Arya Samaj Mandir, Mysore.

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Find out the significance of Gupt Navratri Festival in Hinduism!

Gupt Navratris are meant for sadhaks who perform specialized tantric rituals, vashikarans, uchatans, stambhan, videshan and maran rituals

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Image Source: pinterest.com
  • Four Navratris are celebrated in a year-the Ashwin, Vasanth, Magh and Asadh Navratri
  • Gupt Navratri is being celebrated in different parts of the country from July 5th, and will end on July 13th
  • Gupt Navratris are meant for sadhaks who perform specialized tantric rituals, vashikarans, uchatans, stambhan, videshan and maran rituals

With nine glorious days of divine worship, divine dance and with divine music with the night illuminated by the gleaming stars and flickering lights, the Navaratri festival honours Goddess Durga. The Ambience created by the Durga Pooja is extraordinary. Idols are worshipped for nine days in  beautifully tinted tents or pandals and everyone unites and taps their dandiya to the music. But it is not common knowledge that there are four Navratris in a year. While of these, the Ashwin and Vasanth Navratri are famous and celebrated with much pomp and grandeur, the lesser known Navratris are Magh and Asadh Navratri.

The Ashwin and Vasanth Navratri are known as Gupt Navratri, simply because not many have heard of them. The word ‘Gupt’ means hidden or secret. Of the two Gupt Navratri, Magh Navratri is celebrated in the northern region of India –Uttar Pradesh, Himachal, Uttarakhand, Haryana, and Punjab. Ashadh Navratri is celebrated prominently in Southern states of India. Ashad Navratri or Gupt Navratri is being celebrated in different parts of the country from July 5, and will end on July 13.

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Gupt Navratri is meant for sadhaks who perform specialised tantric rituals, vashikarans, uchatans, stambhan, videshan and maran rituals, says the Speakingtree. Unlike the grand and extravagant celebration of the Ashwin and Vasanth Navratri, the prayers for Gupt Navratri are done secretly or simply without much grandeur. This period is considered the best time to reflect upon one’s actions and get rid of the negative thoughts and gain riddhi-siddhi, which is wisdom and wealth.

Gupt Navatri and its significance
Gupt Navratri. Image Source : speaking tree.com

During Gupt Navratri, Hindus worship Goddess Durga and her 9 forms seeking protection against any sort of danger or injury. During the Gupt Navratras, texts like Shrimad Devi Bhagwat, Devi Mahatmya and  the sanctified “Durga Saptashati” mantras which are mentioned in Markayandeya Purana are chanted. The “Durga Saptashati” mantras explain the story of Goddess Durga and the powers and  divine weapons, given by the Trimurthis (Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva), to demolish demon king, Mahishasura.

Gupt Navratri festival is attributed by fasts, dhyan (meditation) and recitation of shlokas. It is said that during these nine days whatever the devotee wishes for earnestly, will be granted by Ma promptly. She is worshipped as the remover of vices, as the bestower of wealth and prosperity, and as the goddess of wisdom. On this last day, a grand fire or homam is conducted at the place of worship with a belief that the puja, when done in the proper manner, can fulfil all the desires.

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Like all other rituals or festivals, there are certain things that are prohibited during this course of time. It is believed that any work initiated during this time will never reach completion and produce the desired results. Cutting one’s nail or hair is prohibited. The lamp is to not burn out and glow continuously for the nine days. After the puja, the Agni or sacrificial flame which stood as the witness to your puja and offering should be put out using flowers.

-by Ajay Krishna, an intern at NewsGram.

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3 responses to “Find out the significance of Gupt Navratri Festival in Hinduism!”

  1. There are so many festivals in the Hindu religion. Each of them have their own aithihyam or legend stating how the festival came into being.

  2. Navratri is a festival in which we worship 9 forms of Goddess Durga and Gupt Navratri are for tantrics and others. But there is no hard and fast rule that others cannot celebrate Gupt Navratri.

  3. Mind boggling Article . I Like the way you stated these ‘Navratris’ in facile and uncomplicated way.
    This Article has everything a reader wants. Keep me updating with such easy articles.