Dolls as playthings is a universal phenomenon. But in some ancient cultures, across the globe, they are also venerated and propitiated for different reasons. In India, several regions have unique traditions associated with doll worship like - Bhutaradhane of coastal areas of Karnataka, Rati Manmatha worship of Hubli-Dharwad, Bombe Masti worship and Koggatthi dolls of North Kanara and Ayyanar worship prevalent in Tamilnadu.
Tulu speaking people of coastal Karnataka worship Bhutas, or spirits in the form of brightly coloured wooden dolls. The object of their worship are animals, folk heroes, demi gods and gods. Tall figures of bhutas or daivas hewn out of jackfruit wood (Artocarpus heterophyllus), painted bright red all over and having huge unblinking eyes captivate the imagination of onlookers. These massive idols stand guard in sanctified sanctuaries or 'daivasthanas'. Believers celebrate the ideals like innocence, honesty, sacrifice and courage of common men and women whom these figures represent, and hence are venerated.
This year Ramsons Kala Pratishtana has brought a slice of South Canara to Bombe Mane. Navadurgas in the form of wooden daiva figures of Tulu folk art have adorned the display section in divine majesty. These nine goddesses - Shailaputri, Brahmacharini, Chandra Ghanta (Chanda Khanda), Kushmanda, Skandamata, Katyayini, Kalaratri, Maha Gauri and Siddhidatri (Siddhidayini) - manifested on nine successive nights of Sharannavaratri to defeat the devious Mahisha and scores of his commanders; they are worshiped across India. In Tuluva tradition, the lore associated with the origin of these goddesses is different. According to it, nine manifestations of goddess Durga Parameshwari are called Jumadi (Dhumavati), Lekkasiri (Rakteshwari), Chandi, Chamundi, Kanneshwari, Durgi, Mari, Mahankali and Komala Kumari.
Artists, Pradeep Gudigar of Kundapura, Rajesh Acharya and Purushotham Adve of Udupi, and Venkataramana Kamath of Palimar have brought alive the dolls and other accessories for this unique display. Padmanabha Pambada of Palimar and Srikanth Sharma of Srirangapatna have inricately decorated the display area in authentic 'daivasthana' style.
Apart from this special display, Bombe Mane has the choicest dolls lovingly selected from across India. Traditional clay dolls, wooden Ambari procession sets, Mahishasura dolls, miniature kitchen sets in brass, wood and clay, doll sets of Ramayana and Mahabharata, miniature animals, birds and fish in wood, Raja Rani dolls in brass, wooden doll house, doll house furniture in wood, papier machie dolls, costume dolls, lathe turned lacquerware dolls and toys, plaster of paris dolls of various deities and saints, etc., are among thousands of dolls on display.
Each one of these dolls are waiting to tell you their story and fire the imagination of you and your little ones. Come, take home the innocence of dolls and their loving embrace.
Welcome to Bombe Mane.
- Dr. C.R. Dileep Kumar