Exploring Navaratri Golu Traditions: Temples of Tamil Nadu and Their Ancient Dolls

Spread India's Glorious Cultural & Spiritual Heritage


Navaratri, the vibrant festival celebrating the divine feminine, holds a special place in Tamil Nadu’s cultural fabric. The state is renowned for its grand Navaratri Golu displays, where temples play a significant role in showcasing exquisite arrangements of dolls. In this blog post, we embark on a journey through some of Tamil Nadu’s iconic temples known for their Navaratri Golu traditions. We also uncover the antiquity of the dolls displayed in these temple golus, delving into the timeless heritage preserved within.

  1. Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai: The Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madurai is a masterpiece of Dravidian architecture and an epitome of devotion. During Navaratri, the temple premises come alive with a spectacular Golu display. The dolls exhibited here range from traditional mythological characters to scenes from Tamil literature and cultural motifs. Some of these dolls are cherished heirlooms, passed down through generations, carrying the weight of centuries of tradition.
  2. Kapaleeshwarar Temple, Chennai: The Kapaleeshwarar Temple, located in the heart of Chennai, is renowned for its rich heritage and stunning Navaratri Golu arrangements. The dolls in this temple’s Golu display capture diverse themes, depicting tales from ancient scriptures, folk stories, and glimpses of traditional Tamil Nadu life. The dolls exhibited here are a mix of ancient heirlooms and new additions crafted by skilled artisans, combining the antiquity of tradition with contemporary artistic expressions.
  3. Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam: Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, situated in Srirangam, is one of the largest functioning Hindu temples in the world. During Navaratri, the temple showcases an elaborate Golu display that spans multiple halls and corridors. The dolls here represent various episodes from the Ramayana, Mahabharata, and Puranas, captivating devotees and visitors alike. Some of the dolls are treasured artifacts passed down through generations, adding a sense of antiquity and reverence to the display.
  4. Kamakshi Amman Temple, Kanchipuram: The Kamakshi Amman Temple in Kanchipuram is a revered center of worship and spirituality. The Navaratri Golu display in this temple is known for its intricate craftsmanship and attention to detail. The dolls exhibited here depict mythological tales, celestial beings, and cultural motifs, creating a visually captivating ambiance. The antique dolls showcased in this Golu carry the legacy of the temple’s history, evoking a sense of awe and admiration.
  5. Thillai Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram: The Thillai Nataraja Temple in Chidambaram is dedicated to Lord Shiva as Nataraja, the cosmic dancer. During Navaratri, the temple hosts a grand Golu display, showcasing dolls that depict various forms of the divine, including Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati, and other deities. Some of these dolls have been part of the temple’s collection for generations, preserving the cultural heritage of Chidambaram and adding a timeless aura to the Navaratri festivities.

Preserving Antiquity and Cultural Heritage:

The dolls displayed in the Navaratri Golu arrangements of these temples in Tamil Nadu hold immense historical and cultural significance. Many of them are ancient heirlooms, passed down through generations, reflecting the devotion and reverence of countless worshippers over the ages. These dolls serve as a link to the past, preserving the heritage, artistry, and mythology of Tamil Nadu.


The temples of Tamil Nadu are not just centers of religious worship but also guardians of the state’s cultural heritage. The Navaratri Golu displays in these temples offer a glimpse into the rich mythology, artistic excellence, and timeless traditions of Tamil Nadu. As you witness the grandeur of the dolls exhibited in these temple golus, immerse yourself in the antiquity and spiritual significance they hold, embracing the beauty and devotion of this ancient festival.

Tamil Nadu is home to numerous temples that showcase exquisite Navaratri Golu displays. Here are a few more notable temples renowned for their Navaratri Golu tradition:

  1. Brihadeeswarar Temple, Thanjavur: The Brihadeeswarar Temple, also known as the Big Temple, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most iconic temples in Tamil Nadu. During Navaratri, the temple showcases a mesmerizing Golu display, featuring an array of intricately crafted dolls and figurines. The dolls depict various deities, mythological characters, and cultural themes, showcasing the artistic brilliance of the region. Some of the dolls exhibited in this temple’s Golu hold historical and cultural significance, reflecting the grandeur of the Chola dynasty.
  2. Ramanathaswamy Temple, Rameswaram: The Ramanathaswamy Temple, situated in Rameswaram, holds immense religious importance for Hindus. During Navaratri, the temple premises come alive with the vibrant festivities and a captivating Golu display. The dolls exhibited here portray mythological scenes, divine incarnations, and episodes from the Ramayana. These dolls, with their antique charm and intricate craftsmanship, create a spiritual ambiance that resonates with devotees and visitors alike.
  3. Ekambareswarar Temple, Kanchipuram: The Ekambareswarar Temple, located in Kanchipuram, is one of the Pancha Bhoota Stalas dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple’s Navaratri Golu display is a visual spectacle, showcasing a diverse range of dolls and figurines. From mythological characters to depictions of traditional Tamil Nadu culture and rituals, the Golu arrangement in this temple reflects the region’s rich heritage. Some of the dolls exhibited here are treasured artifacts, passed down through generations, and celebrated for their antiquity and cultural significance.
  4. Koodal Azhagar Temple, Madurai: The Koodal Azhagar Temple, situated in Madurai, is renowned for its Navaratri Golu traditions. The Golu arrangement in this temple exhibits an array of dolls depicting gods, goddesses, saints, and cultural themes. The vibrant display captivates devotees and visitors, immersing them in the spiritual ambiance of the festival. The dolls showcased here, ranging from traditional to contemporary designs, represent the artistic finesse of the region and the devotion of the worshippers.
  5. Nellaiappar Temple, Tirunelveli: The Nellaiappar Temple, located in Tirunelveli, is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. During Navaratri, the temple adorns itself with a splendid Golu arrangement that attracts devotees from far and wide. The dolls showcased here depict mythological scenes, divine beings, and cultural themes, captivating visitors with their artistic brilliance. Some of the dolls exhibited in the Nellaiappar Temple’s Golu are ancient and cherished artifacts, adding a touch of antiquity to the vibrant festivities.

These temples, along with the previously mentioned ones, form a part of the diverse tapestry of Navaratri Golu traditions in Tamil Nadu. Each temple offers a unique experience, showcasing the rich cultural heritage, devotion, and artistic finesse of the region. Exploring these temples during Navaratri is a wonderful opportunity to immerse oneself in the vibrant celebrations and witness the timeless beauty of the Golu displays..

Spread India's Glorious Cultural & Spiritual Heritage

By Mala Chandrashekhar

Introducing Blogger Mala Chandrashekhar - a specialist academically trained in modern Western sciences, yet deeply enamored with India's timeless ethnic arts, crafts, and textiles. Her heart beats for the rich and glorious cultural and spiritual heritage of India, and she has dedicated her entire blog to spreading the immortal glories of ancient India worldwide. Through her simple yet impactful blog posts, Mala aims to reach every nook and corner of the globe, sharing India's beauty and wisdom with the world.

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