Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sapta Matrika - Seven Mother Goddesses

We relate more intimately to the divine if she is considered to be the ‘Mother’. Hence, worshiping the divine feminine, in nine forms of Devi (Nava Durga), is at the core of Dasara festivities in many parts of the country. In comparison, the tradition of Navaratri worship in Mysore is unique; seven mother goddesses or Sapta Matrika are propitiated here.

Historically too, the people of Mysore and neighbouring regions were known to venerate Sapta Matrika. The evidence for this is the fact that many a kings and rulers of this region had titles like ‘Sapta Matrika Varaprasada’ (boon of seven mother goddesses), ‘Sapta Matrika Sevaka’ (servant of seven mother goddesses), etc.

Young purohit Sri Ananta Bhat is performing Chandi Parayana at Ramsons. This worship started on the first day of Navaratri and will culminate on Vijayadashami day-after-tomorrow.
The silver idol of goddess Chamundeshwari (Shodasha Bhuja Mahisha Mardini) crafted in silver by young craftsman of Mysore Sri Dakshinamurthy. This beautiful devi is being worshipped at Ramsons' puja alcove.
The display above has been arranged at Bombe Mane depicting the seven mother goddesses. Since this is just for display, idols have not been consecrated. Seven clay figures have been lovingly draped (by Sri Srikanta Sharma of Srirangapatna, Mobile: 9972633977) with sarees and profusely decorated to present a glimpse of the glorious tradition of worship of sapta matrika. Special garlands made from Khus roots have formed a scented aura around each devi.

The seven bedecked devis clock-wise from left hand bottom corner are Braahmi rides a swan, Maaheshwari’s mount is a bull, Kaumaari rides a peacock, Vaishnavi with Garuda as the mount, Vaaraahi rides a buffalo, Indraani sits on elephant while Chandika is resplendent on a lion.
This is Chandika or Chamunda on lion.

This is Indrani, the shakti of Indra, with elephant as a mount.

This is boar headed mother goddess Varahi, shakti of Varaha, riding a male water-buffalo.

This is the shakti of Vishnu, Vaishnavi, riding the Garuda.

This is Kaumari, shakti of Kartikeya, with peacock as her mount.

This is Maaheshwari, shakti of Maheshwara, who rides a bull.

This is Braahmi, shakti of Brahma, seated on swan.

Kids of a montessori school enjoying their day-out at Bombe Mane.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Meaning of Bombe Mane

'Bombe Mane' is Kannada for 'Doll House'. Bombe means doll and Mane is house. The word 'Bombe' seems to have derived from the word 'Bimba' which means image or figure.

In Tamil doll is called as 'Bommai' while it is 'Bomma' or 'Bommalu' in Telugu.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dolls - The Tradition Endures

First it was recession, then price rise and the last straw seemed to be the global pandemic H1N1 - with all these the world seems to be in the dumps, everything looks gloomy and gray. Just when it felt like hopelessness finally spread its dark hood on us, bang! Festivals are around the corner to warm up our hearts and minds.

Yes, the season of great Indian festivals is knocking on our doors with its first offering - Navaratri or Dasara. Aptly Dasara denotes the triumph of good over evil, in the current scenario - victory of hope over hopelessness. All across the country this festival is celebrated over 10 days and nine nights. These celebrations differ from place to place with every geographical region celebrating different aspects of life. Durga Puja, Ram leela, Garba, Dandiya Raas, Golu, Gombe Habba, Danteshwari Utsava, Kullu Dasara, Sringeri Navaratri Utsava, Madikeri Dasara, etc., are various celebrations of the festival in different geographic entities of the country.

Gombe Habba or the festival of dolls is unique to south India, especially Mysore, Tanjavur and Madurai in Tamilnadu and several places in Andhra Pradesh. Notable is the fact that doll festival was largely celebrated in cities which were the seats of royalty, this association of the doll festival with royal cities reflects the princely tastes of its inhabitants.

The Gombe Habba at Mysore reached its zenith during the rule of last four kings of Wodeyar dynasty. Mysore was a huge producer of dolls in variety of media including clay, ivory, wood, china clay, glass, etc. The end of royalty put an abrupt stop to many craft forms which also included doll-making. The result - Mysoreans gradually scaled down the celebrations of this hoary tradition. Well, all hope is not lost.

Mysore based Ramsons Kala Pratishtana started 'Bombe Mane' a unique exhibition of dolls in Dasara of 2005. The main intention behind this exhibition was to bring the dolls from across the country and make available to Mysoreans at affordable prices and thus be proactive in the resurgence of Bombe Habba in Mysore. The intention has been successfully realised. The exhibition has become one stop shop for all the doll requirements of doll lovers. Apart from Mysoreans, hundreds of doll lovers flock from across the state to be at Bombe Mane every Dasara.

Right from dolls of every possible medium to its accessories, doll houses, miniature kitchen utensils, faux fruits-vegetables, doll house furniture, miniature replicas of Mysore palace and other architectural features of the city, doll ornaments, apparel, etc., are available under one roof.

The exhibition features a special display of dolls based on a theme which changes every year. Last year a mini replica of the old wooden palace stood as the back drop to the dolls of musicians and courtiers of Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar's court. Another scene depicted Krishna, Radha and their friends celebrating Navaratri in Vrindavana.

This year's feature is indeed special. Beautiful painted wooden dolls have been created of the Dasara procession. In front of a scaled down version of an imposing Amba Vilas palace, majestic elephants carrying howdahs, attendants and soldiers carrying assortment of regal standards while durbaris in court regalia walk the procession from a respectable distance. It is certain to take your breathe away with its sheer magnificence and beauty.

Bombe Mane has its usual fare of stunning potpourri of dolls from Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Orissa. Along with the regular ones, dolls created with the design inputs from Ramsons Kala Pratishtana are in much demand because of the local flavour attached to it.

The fairy land of dolls, Bombe Mane, has descended at Pratima Gallery, in front of Zoo, Mysore, from 11-28 September 2009. A sea of charming dolls, toys and accessories are flaunting their finest. Come, get charmed this Dasara and take back a slice of your childhood with you.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Doll Rush of Mysore

Today being Sunday, the crowd at Bombe Mane was huge. It seemed like a doll-rush. The heavy rush, especially in the evening, was crazy. I have posted 3 photographs and a video clip which I shot from the steps that lead into the Gallery; they might give you a fair idea of the doll-rush. Here they are...

Bombe Mane 2009 - Inauguration

Sri B.R. Jayaramaraje Urs I.A.S., Secretary, Kannada, Culture and Information Department, Government of Karnataka, Bangalore, inaugurated the doll extravaganza, 'Bombe Mane 2009' at Pratima Gallery at 11.30 am on 10 September 2009.
From left to right: Smt. Kaladevi, Trustee, RKP; Smt. Harinita Singh; Sri B.R. Jayaramaraje Urs; Govt. Officer; Govt. Officer; Sri D. Ram Singh, Chairman, RKP.

He later addressed the gathering and praised Ramsons Kala Pratishtana and the people behind the exhibition.

He is seen here looking at the miniature replica of mysore palace in front of which are the dolls of mysore dasara procession.

Sri M.B. Singh, Executive Trustee, RKP (and former editor of Prajavani, Sudha and Mayura) explaining the details of the dolls.

Going around the exhibition Sri Urs is seen here looking at the village scene.

Dr. Dileep Kumar, his mother and sister in front of the doll dasara procession.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Bombe Mane 2009 Invitation

Secretary of Kannada, Culture and Information Department, Sri B.R. Jayaramaraje Urs will inaugurate 'Bombe Mane 2009' on Thursday 29 September 2009 at 11.30 am. Venue: Pratima Gallery, In front of Zoo, Mysore.
A very warm welcome to one and all.

Bombe Mane 2009 - Brochure

The very mention of Mysore Dasara evokes memories of the grand procession on Vijayadashami day. Numerous caparisoned elephants, hundreds of horses, medley of colourful folk performers, innumerable bands - student, military and police, scores of tableaus and a majestic tusker carrying the golden howdah. This carnival of pomp and pageantry treads an illuminated pathway from the palace to Bannimantap.

Veneration of the mother goddess Chamundeshwari is the important component of the festivities. Doll festival (Bombe Habba), celebrated at homes, is an integral part of the 10 day Dasara. Dolls collected over the years, nay, generations, are displayed on a seven stepped platform in houses across the city.

Ramsons at Mysore has brought these two traditions - Dasara procession anddoll festival - together.

Beautiful dolls of dasara procession have been lovingly crafted in wood by artisans based on designs given by Ramsons. 110 dolls out of a total 500 will be unveiled this Bombe Mane. A reproduction of Mysore palace which stands 6 ft tall and 12 ft wide provides the grand background to the procession.

That’s not all! Brightly painted wooden dolls of Varanasi will charm old and young alike. The clay doll of Mahishasura crafted by the Krishnanagar artisans is the answer to many years’ wait of doll lovers of Mysore.

Terracotta kitchen set by the master potters of Velar community of Tamilnadu will be the darling of young girls. Traditional clay dolls depicting deities, immortals and mortals alike are cynosure of doll lovers. The procession sets of wooden dolls from Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh are hot favourites.

Reproductions of the majestic Mysore palace, the multi pillared old wooden palace, grand palace gates, exhibition gate, etc., from Mysore will lend authenticity to the doll arrangement based on Mysore theme.

Many a dream of doll collectors will come true this Bombe Mane. Drop in to the largest doll extravaganza in the city and get charmed by the innocent beauty of dolls.