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Temple gears up for ‘kolu' festival

R. Sairam
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Dolls to be displayed during Navarathri at the Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple in Madurai being checked on Wednesday. Photo: S.James
Dolls to be displayed during Navarathri at the Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple in Madurai being checked on Wednesday. Photo: S.James

Navaratri promises to be a grand affair at the Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple here as a special ‘kolu' team from Chennai has been invited for setting up the dolls.

Sri Sumukhi Rajasekharan Memorial Foundation, established by S. Amarnath, S. Surendranath and S. Aparna or ‘The Mylapore Trio' as they are popularly known, are famous in ‘kolu' circles of Chennai for their numerous awards and rich experience that dates back to 52 years.

Impressed by their dedication and attention for detail when they put up kolu at Triplicane Parthasarathy Temple last year, the Meenakshi temple Executive Officer P. Jayaraman, who had worked at the temple, has requested them to come over here this year. The kolu commences on September 28.

Says Mr. Surendranath, who is a creative director and heads the foundation: “The theme of kolu at Meenakshi temple is Adi Sankara's ‘Shanmadha Vazhipadu' – which shows the six aspects of Hinduism: Ganesh, Murugan, Shakthi, Shiva, Vishnu and Surya.”

A lot of extensive design and preparation are going into the show, he says, adding that total preparation would take nearly 10 days. Special structures are being erected on both sides of the second corridor of the sanctum sanctorum of Goddess Meenakshi. On both sides, the kolu would be ‘six-sided' with a replica of the Golden Lotus Tank with the deity Meenakshi occupying, literally and figuratively, the centre stage.

A total of 800 dolls from various districts, some from the foundation and others from various contributors, would be put on display at the Meenakshi temple. Many dolls would be coming from Kolkata and they would exhibit rich intricate works, he adds. The Mylapore trio's kolu features value-based themes such as various festivals at home, vivahas, Shanmathas, kalyana vaibogame, four yugas, four lokas, pancha bhootha sthalas, musical trinity and secularism, besides national integration. The foundation also conducted a ‘Navaratri Kolu Paddhathi,' a first of its kind workshop for setting up kolu.

The Meenakshi temple is the first temple outside Chennai and third ever temple – after Kapaleeswarar temple in Mylapore and Triplicane Parthasarathy Temple – where the foundation is setting up kolu, adds Mr. Amarnath, a professor of history and vice-president of the Sumukhi Rajasekharan Memorial Foundation.

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