Themed doll displays for Dasara
Bangalore homes ring in the Dasara festivities with displays of colorful dolls. The displays include century-old dolls and life-size figurines.
Visitors enter and leave many of these homes and some leave with gift bags when they leave.
Veena Ravi, deputy principal of CB Bhandari Jain College and resident of Gandhi Bazaar, Basavanagudi, owns more than 5,000 dolls.
“This year we only exhibited 2,500 dolls on two floors because we didn’t know if people would want to visit them now. This season, we’re bringing Andal’s stories to the screen. Our collection includes dolls over 60 years old that were passed down from my mother, ”she says.
Part of the collection are dolls of Vishnu with his wives, similar to those on display at Srirangam temple, Krishna and his wife, Kali, stories from the Ramayana and huge dolls of Shiva and Parvathi sitting together.
Her own doll collection includes clay, papier-mâché, wood and porcelain dolls and comes from Tamil Nadu, Mathura, Maharashtra and across the country.
Likewise, Lalitha Parameshwari MR, resident of Chikkalasandra, exhibited only part of her collection of dolls.
“Scenes like Krishna Leela, Dashavatharam, Ashtalakshmi, Mysuru Dasara procession, village life and children playing are displayed,” she said.
Each year, she adds a few sets to her collection. “My grandmother loved setting up the displays, passed down from generation to generation,” she says.
Passing on the tradition
For Ranjani Srinivasan, a human resources professional and resident of HBR layout, Dasara doll displays are about passing the tradition on to her children Samhitha and Advitha, and to her niece Anarghya.
“The theme for this year is Mahavishnu. I have dolls of him on Garuda vahana, Dashavataram, Tirupathi Brahmotsavam (also happening now), Alwar dolls who sang praise of the lord, among others. I also bought a set of 18 sithar dolls this season, which symbolizes the achievement of self-realization. My dolls come from all over India, from Malleswaram in the city to Kolkata, Krishnagiri and Madurai, ”she says.
Parameswaran R, his wife Sireesha and son Avaneesh, residents of JP Nagar, exhibited dolls on a seven-stage setup.
“Our collection includes hundred-year-old Thanjavur dolls, which were given to my grandmother by her brother. Dasavatharam which talks about Lord Vishnu and is also related to human evolution, Vaikuntam, Ashtalakshmi, Lord Venkateswara and Padmavathi dolls are other highlights of our collection ”, explains Parameswaran.
Marriage decors that evoke family and human relationships and those featuring different professions are also in the spotlight.
Gift bags for visitors
Anand BK, resident of Sundarnagar, Gokula Extension, Mathikare, exhibits around 800 dolls. His collection began almost 30 years ago and today spans two rooms in his house.
“Dolls on Durga, avatars of Vishnu and traditional toys dominate the collection. We also have wooden toys, ”he says. His wife Ranjani and son Pradyumn helped him set up the exhibition. Anand’s house is bustling with visitors who come to see the exhibition. “We distribute gift bags to women but also to young boys and girls during the season,” he adds.
Shwetha BC, professor in the Department of Psychology, BMS College For Women, likens the art of displaying dolls to emotional therapy. “For me, Navaratri is a festival that renews the love and passion for life. Doll Display is a learning tool for adults and children to instill life skills through concept display. For example, Sundarakanda from Ramayana tells of Hanuman’s journey to meet Sita in Lanka, which teaches us self-determination and self-confidence, ”she explains. The doll shows impart knowledge about culture, science, the arts and also spirituality, she says.