One step into North Mada Street in Mylapore and you get everything to put up a grand display of Kolu dolls. Close to some 100 small pavement and big shops have cropped up selling dolls in a variety of hues, shapes and sizes. Meticulously crafted and oil-painted with layers of bright tones, dolls are available both in terracotta and papier-mache. From tiny Ganesha idols, siva lingas to four-feet idols of lord Krishna and Vishnu, the shops have a range of idols and dolls to fit in for any theme at a price ranging from Rs 50 to Rs 12,000. Most of these shop keepers come from the the Southern part of the city and stay in the pavements next to their shops from Vinayaka Chathurthi till Navarathri.
This year, artisans have lined up with a new collection that includes Vaikundam or the Sorga Vaasal, the Vishwaroopam of Lord Vishnu and the grand entrance of the temple in Kanchipuram. “These dolls are made in many places like Kanchipuram, Cuddalore, Chengelpet, Krishnagiri and even here in Triplicane. Earlier it used to be only terracotta and the paints would fade over time. Now the large idols are made in papier-mache and they are all given a coat of oil paint, these last few years,” informed Shantha Kumar from Meenambakkam.
Idols depicting scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharatha, dolls in rural settings, birds, animals, vegetables, fruits and many more will be available for sale in these shops even a couple of days after the end of Navarathri. “Our new collection include a classroom set for `1,800 and the 18 ‘siddhars’, women standing around a water tap and a three-feet tall chariot for `4,000,” explained Manavalan of Urappakkam, who had been putting up shop every year during Navrathri for the past 15 years.
Khadi Bhavan and Poompuhar too have their collections. A Khadi official said they have about 12 new items this year including Ragu-Kethu set, Kanchi thanga palli set, Mahavishnu and Prahlad pattabishekam.