Golu, also known as Bommai Golu or Kolu, is a time-honored Hindu tradition celebrated during the festival of Navaratri in South India. It involves setting up an elaborate display of dolls and figurines on a tiered platform, symbolizing the triumph of good over evil and the victory of Goddess Durga over the demon Mahishasura. While Navarathri Golu is a beloved custom, there is often a common question that arises among enthusiasts – “How many steps should be in Navarathri Golu?” In this blog, we will delve into the significance of the number of steps in Navarathri Kolu and the various practices associated with this captivating festival.
The Symbolism of Golu Steps
The number of steps in a Navarathri Golu display holds significant meaning, representing the ascent towards spiritual enlightenment. Traditionally, a Navaratri Kolu arrangement consists of either 3, 5, 7, 9, or 11 steps, though some variations may have more. Each tier signifies a different realm of existence and is adorned with various dolls, idols, and miniatures representing deities, mythological characters, and everyday life scenes.
The Sacred Odd Numbers
The odd numbers (3, 5, 7, 9, 11) hold immense importance in Hindu culture. They are considered auspicious and are believed to bring prosperity, luck, and positive energy into the household. These numbers are closely associated with the divine feminine energy, especially during Navaratri, a festival dedicated to worshipping Goddess Durga and her different manifestations.
The Spiritual Significance
a. Three Steps: The representation of the trinity of gods – Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. This arrangement symbolizes the basic building blocks of existence – creation, preservation, and destruction.
b. Five Steps: This setup represents the five elements – Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Space. It signifies the harmony and interconnectedness of these elements in the universe.
c. Seven Steps: Often regarded as the most common Navaratri Golu arrangement, the seven steps represent the seven chakras or energy centers in the human body. It is believed that showcasing Navaratri Kolu in seven steps helps in spiritual awakening and balances the energies within oneself.
d. Nine Steps: The nine steps symbolize the Navadurga – the nine forms of Goddess Durga. It is a popular choice for those seeking blessings from the divine mother for strength and protection.
e. Eleven Steps: An elaborate Navarathri Golu setup with eleven steps signifies the ten avatars of Lord Vishnu (Dasavataram) along with an additional step dedicated to the goddess. This arrangement showcases the cosmic balance and the ultimate unity of all divine forms.
While the odd-numbered steps are prevalent in most Navarathri Kolu displays, there can be regional variations and personal preferences. Some households might create elaborate displays with multiple tiers, combining various odd numbers to include more deities and characters from mythology.