Eleventh man broken or missing? Get a replacement at the Khadi Kraft outlet at Kuralagam complex on NSC Bose Road.

The kolu dolls exhibition at the khadi outlet has dedicated counters that sell individual dolls needed to complete theme-based sets. Dolls meant for kolus resembling cricket grounds, weddings, zoos and villages can be picked up here.

“My husband and I have been making such dolls for over 20 years now. Artisans don’t normally make small dolls as it is far more profitable to make bigger idols in the same time. But since there is a section of customers that wants such dolls, we make them,” said Jayashree Sudhakar, an idol maker from Puducherry.

Also available are dolls of Chettiyar, Thulasi madam, houses, flats, banana leaves, rishis, fruits and vegetables. Such dolls are in demand for school projects too.

Mathematics teacher R. Srinivasan of Vivekananda School in Thirunindravur was at the exhibition, clutching a basketful of dolls.

“Every year, during Navaratri celebrations, we are given a theme and this year, our class has to design a kolu on the Uchi Pillaiyar temple in Tiruchi and the Cauvery river,” he said, as he went about scouting for the perfect doll. “A colleague wanted a doll of Lord Rama but there are none in stock, I have been told,” he said.

Then there are those who make new sets out of individual dolls. M. Karthik, a resident of Villivakkam, said his family planned to make 15 kolu steps this year.

“It is fun making your own sets with individual dolls. It involves more creativity,” he said.

The dolls are priced at Rs. 30 apiece. P. Suresh, a doll maker from Puducherry, said that just like other dolls, the prices of individual pieces, too, had gone up. “About 20 years ago, dolls were sold at Rs. 4 or Rs. 5. How can customers expect to buy them at the same rates today?” he said.

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