Visual delight of Navarathri

Navarathri triggers colourful and vibrant memories of one’s childhood. Visit Anupama’s Navarathri setting at Banashankari II Stage, and you can be sure of being stunned. Elaborate arrangements of dolls, depicting particular stories from the epics are a treat for the eyes. This year the themes are 14th day of the Mahabharata war, Rama and Lakshmana protecting Vishwamitra’s ‘yagna’, Krishnaleela, scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata.

Each scene is meticulously laid out and care is taken to get every small detail right. Dolls are of varying sizes, from Snow White to Gograhana, you can find dolls across cultures, epics and history. One can see that adults enjoy this doll-viewing as much as children do. The entire basement of their house is filled with dolls, some of them handed down from four generations – about 150-200 years old! New dolls are added every year to suit the theme.

Navarathri Dolls
Navarathri dolls (Pic: Divya Sharma)

What made Anupama do this? "I started this for my kids. Usually it is vacation time and they really enjoy helping and setting up the dolls. As they grew up, I came up with newer ideas and the setting became bigger and elaborate. The elders would keep telling that it was good during their times and sadly it was not so now. This disturbed me a lot and I was determined to change that. I have been doing this for the past thirteen years now and frankly, I am reliving my childhood memories." The preparations for the setting begin as early as six-seven weeks prior to the first day of Navarathri.

Navrathri Dolls
Navarathri dolls (Pic: Divya Sharma)

"Lot of research goes into the correctness of the settings. Last year we had the theme of ‘Karnmataka –the abode of rasarushis’. I consult regularly with people who are well versed in this field, and try to make the setting as truthful to the epic/theme as possible" Anupama says passionately. Viewing is open for public, well after the navarathri festival, till 30th October.

Navarathri Dolls
Navarathri dolls (Pic: Divya Sharma)

Visit the display at
3944/F, 17th D Cross
4th Main, Banashankari II Stage
Bangalore 560070
65683396, 9886444593

Anupama also has a puppetry school running in the premises. Do the students make the dolls? "Mostly, yes. We also think of a theme and then make dolls accordingly" she replies. They also have regular epic-learning workshop and story telling sessions at some schools. “The response by the public is encouraging”, she adds.

Though the festival is officially over, one can still go and look at the colourful display at Dhatu.

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