Festival of idols fast losing popularity

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Mysore, Oct 1 (UNI) 'Gombe Habba' or festival of dolls started by rulers of Wadiyar dynasty, reflecting the skills of womenfolk associated with the famous Dasara festivities is fast losing its charm and disappearing from traditional homes.

The Gombe Habba is part of 'Navaratri' celebrated by almost all households and attract a large number of people particularly the children.

Palace Board sources told UNI that the festival of dolls, signifying the nine incarnation of Goddess Durga, and which children anxiously wait for, is slowly losing patronage among women and young children alike.

Artistically arranged dolls with intricate works showcasing the skills of women are fast disappearing from the traditional homes, Board sources said.

The festival dates back to the 16th century. Initially, the idol of Gowri was decorated in a special manner and worshipped for nine days and was limited to the palace. By the end of 18th century, the royalty introduced the festival to public domain by officials in the royal service and the practice of arranging dolls at home during the Navaratri began.

The tradition of gifting 'Pattada Bombe' to daughters during their marriage also contributed to the popularity of 'Gombe Habba.' Playing with the dolls was a favourite time pass among young married girls those days. The arrangement of dolls revolved around the ' Pattada Bombe' made out of Chandana wood (sandlwood), procured from Tirupati. In rural areas preparing ' Bombe Bagina' or sweets on all the nine days was a practice. It was a popular affair during the Dasara and children would invite their friends home to have a glimpse of the dolls arrangements, the sources said.

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