So, who are you bringing home this year?

Thilagavathi is busy choosing vegetables. She throws in two cauliflowers, some avarakkai, beans, a couple of murungaikkais, carrots and banana flowers. All for the kolu to be set up at the Easwaran temple in Aravankuruchi near Karur! Helping her is Jayalakshmi, sales assistant at Poompuhar.

It’s kolu time once again and Poompuhar and North Sarvodaya Sangham Khadi Gramodyog Bhavan in Town Hall teem with people.

Like last year, the clay vegetables, brought all the way from Kolkata, are hot favourites at Poompuhar. They sell at Rs. 16 a piece.

This time around, the showroom has stalls that sell everything from Channapatna wooden toys and clay dolls to papier-mâché and plaster of Paris dolls. The wooden toys are a delight. A huge brown snake slithers life-like; so do a dragon and crocodile. These are priced from Rs. 135 to Rs. 1,000.

Inside the showroom, check out the section devoted to light-weight Kondapalli wooden toys from Andhra Pradesh. Village houses, carts, elephants and people come alive in the hands of talented artisans.

Elsewhere, someone is asking for “ponnu maapillai” sets. Made of wire and cloth, they are among the fast-movers this year. They are flexible and can be made to stand or sit depending on how you want to place them in the kolu.

Among the new dolls this year is the seven-piece Bheeshmar set, which shows the patriarch lying on a bed of arrows on the battlefield, surrounded by the warring family. There are three sets based on the Ramayana — Ashoka Vanam, Kanayaazhi Koduthal and Poi Maan; these are priced upwards of Rs. 700.

Kolkata dolls include an embellished figurine of a smiling Durga (Rs. 2,500) and a series on siddhars (Rs. 800). The finish is excellent — the matted hair and the adornments look very real. That’s why the steep price, explains a sales assistant.

Annapoorni’s stall has the famed marappachi bommais from Tirupathi, prices for which start at Rs. 600. Her husband Ravi, a driver, has made bright maatu vandis and classroom sets using foam and wooden ‘giant wheel’ sets. Simple yet sprightly additions to your kolu.

At Khadi Gramodyog Bhavan, the rock star is a magnificent 10-piece Bhramotsavam set (Rs. 7500), made in Puducherry. Next up is Vishwaroopa Darisanam, priced at Rs. 3,500. Just outside the kolu exhibition, an extravagant park set has been put up. This one costs Rs. 1,900.

The plaster of Paris dolls from Kolhapur are a huge hit, because of their glossy finish. Krishna and Vinayagar are favorites. S. Harshavadhani calls out to her grandmother; she’s fallen in love with a Krishna.

In a corner of the hall are richly embellished terracotta bells and hanging lamps, painted in bright hues. A nice ethnic touch to new-age kolus!

For a hint of the contemporary, pick the bright red Angry Birds hundis (Rs. 100). Place them next to the traditional Chettiar bommai and watch your kolu come alive.

Poompuhar’s kolu is open till September 12, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. On Sundays, it is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. There is a 10 per cent discount on all kolu bommais. For details, call: 0422-2391055. Khadi Gramodyog Bhavan is open from 9.30 a.m. to 8.30 p.m. on all days. Their sale is on till Vijayadasami. For details, call 0422-2390950 or 2398857