Handicrafts of Tamil Nadu

Navratri festival is celebrated for 9 days in Tamil Nadu and other southern states of India by displaying golu dolls and distributing prasad for people who visit golu. Children are more fond of dolls and they become more excited and happy to visit golu and look for dolls at every house and Temples. The dolls are displayed and arranged in step by step manner on a temporary stairs created specially for Navratri Golu Dolls. The stairs face either east or west direction of the house and always odd number steps is maintained on the set up. Navratri is celebrated as a victory of devi durga over mahishasuran to restore dharma and peace on earth. During the period of war, all God and Goddess offered their power to durga to kill mahishasuran and they were all powerless (Idol) for 9 days which is the reason for dolls being used for celebrating this festival. On the 10th day Devi Durga attains the victory and on the 10th day of Golu dolls are packed to celebrate next year’s Navratri. Kanchipuram which is well known for its handloom sarees, is also famous for Golu dolls.These golu dolls are made out of clay or paper.Let’s see in detail the making of Golu dolls.

Required material:

For making Clay Golu Dolls:

  1. Mould
  2. Wet Clay
  3. Oil Paint

Preparing Process:

Clay Golu doll making:

The procedure of making dolls is a biannual process where first 6 months (Mainly during the rainy season) are for 1.Preparation of mould/die of the dolls, 2. Making wet clay dolls out of mould and 3.Drying the extracted doll in normal room temperature. The next six months is assigned for firing the dolls in kiln, colouring and selling them to the customers.

Clay procured from local village is spread and pressed over the die/mould. Leaving it for a few minutes, the shaped clay is taken out of the mould. Front mould and back mould of the doll are then joined using wet semi solid clay on the sides. The open bottom of the doll is filled with clay.Each mould can produce up to 100 dolls. Then the dolls are let dry in room temperature.These dried dolls are fired in kiln specially made to fire these dolls. To read about kiln process click here. The fired dolls are then coated with gondhu (Gum), chalk powder and water mixture.

Traditional handmade craftChalk mixture coated clay dolls

Handmade traditional Craft of Tamil NaduChalk mixture coated golu clay dolls

Kanchipuram HandicraftTraditional handicrafts-Chalk mixture coated golu clay dolls

The dolls are then painted in different shades having base colour as white.

handmade craft of Tamil NaduClay dolls of Tamil Nadu

Navratri Dolls of Tamil NaduWhite Base coated clay dolls of Golu

Clay dolls of Tamil NaduWhite Base coated Golu Dolls

Finally eyes, flowers, clothing features are drawn and highlighted. 

golu dolls painting

Golu Doll of Navratri

Clay handicrafts

Tamil Nadu Crafts

End product:

Navratri dolls are called set dolls where majority of the dolls are sold as sets. The following dolls are very common during navratri seasons.These dolls are on demand only during the festive seasons like vinayagar chathurthi, navratri pooja, etc.

Golu Dolls of Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu handicrafts

Tamil Nadu handicrafts

  1. Dhasa Avatharam Set (10 dolls)
  2. Ashtalaxmi (8 dolls)
  3. Garuda Seva (40 dolls)
  4. Navagraha Nayagi (9 dolls)
  5. Arupadai veedu
  6. Krishna Leelai
  7. Brahma Utsavam
  8. Kalyana Set
  9. Thirupathi Set
  10. Car oorvalam
  11. Seemantham Set
  12. Annamalai
  13. Mupperum Devi
  14. Paandu Ranga perumal
  15. Settiyar Kadai Set
  16. Marapachi Bommai