Marapachi Dolls, also known as Marapachi Bommais are traditional wooden dolls which are displayed during the Golu festival in South India as part of Dassara or Navaratri celebrations.
These dolls are traditionally gifted from mother to daughter and are carried on, thus becoming a legacy. These dolls are regarded as an avatar of Lord Vishnu and his consort Goddess Lakshmi.
These dolls are carved by our expert local artisans. These dolls are dressed in traditional sarees by traditional ladies who specialize in the artwork.
Material - These dolls are carved from wood by our expert artisans. They are clothed by technicians specialising in handicrafts.
Note - We endeavor to provide you with the same color as the fabric as in the picture. However, in some situations, the colour of the fabric may change, without affecting the quality of the product.
The colour of the wood can be black or Dark red, depending on availability.
Colours of Fabrics - Pink, Red, Blue, Green. After purchase, please mention any 2 colours of your preference. We shall try and provide you with the colors you choose.
MARAPACHI BOMMAIH (Raja – Rani dolls)
The tradition of displaying dolls was an age-old tradition practiced in few parts of south India. This became a widely celebrated tradition around 1336 B.C. The then King of the Vijayanagar kingdom had two wives. His second wife was from the town of Srirangapatna where they had the practice of displaying dolls in the Ashwayuja Padya. When she married, she bought the tradition over to The Vijayanagar Kingdom, where it was embraced by the people at large. The Kingdom of Mysore was under the Vijayanagar Kingdom and both had friendly relations. Hence Mysore also embraced this tradition and added the Jambu savari (elephant procession) also as part of the celebrations.
The king and queen held a special place in the hearts of the people and to honor them every household displayed a pair of richly attired Marapachi Bommai in each of their homes.
Navaratri is a festival celebrated all over India as diversely as the country is. The display of dolls is a time-honored tradition that is passed on from mother to daughter as part of her wedding trousseau when she is married. This is done to encourage her to start her own collection of dolls and carry on the tradition. The Marapachi Bommai i.e., a male doll and a female doll (a bridal pair) dressed in festive attire or as King and Queen and traditionally made of red sandalwood (now the use of red sandal is banned and hence they are made of different types of wood) was gifted to the daughter to start her own golu collection. The children were encouraged to play with these dolls and while playing if they put these dolls in their mouth the medicinal properties of the red sandal would be imparted to the child.
These Marapachi Bommai are carved by local artisans in the traditional manner and design, the art of which has been passed on from generations who have retained its authenticity to date!!
The doll collection is displayed for 9 days of Navaratri, where the dolls have to be taken out of storage on Mahalaya Amayasa. A small symbolic marriage ceremony is carried out for the Marapachi Bommai on the first day of Navaratri. The children of the household are encouraged to dress up the dolls. The collection and arrangement of dolls during this time introduces them to the concept of marriage, family, history, culture, and the functioning of society as the themes for the displays are around traditions followed by puranic stories and social issues.
Different states celebrate this festival on different occasions, but every one of them has a pair of Marapachi Bommai included. The different occasions are,
Dussehra – Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra & Kerala
Deepavali – Madhya Pradesh, Gujrat & Rajasthan
Sankranti – Telangana & A.P.
Gokalashtami – Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar & Orissa.
Start YOUR very own Golu / Kolu /Dussehra gombee collection this Dussehra with our AUTHENTIC Marapachi Bommai, as the Marapachi Bommai is supposed to be the FIRST dolls you place in your displays. These are available in various sizes and colorfully and richly attired.
In these stressful times (covid pandemic) get all the generations in your household together this Dussehra and connect with your inner child to play dress up, turn into a storyteller, and let your imagination give life to the dolls of Dussehra.
*Care of Marapachi Bommai: At the conclusion of the display, wipe the dolls thoroughly and gently with a dry soft cloth. Place them in a cover along with a few silica gel packets (to remove excess moisture) and place it in a sturdy box.