Mysore Dasara doll festival or Mysore Bombe Dasara is a culture that started during the days of Vijayanagar. As a part of the doll festival, people used to arrange dolls at their houses. And they used to visit each other’s houses to see and appreciate doll arrangements. This article is an attempt to briefly introduce the Mysuru Dasara doll festival to the readers.
Introduction to Mysore Bombe Dasara
Every year, the historic city of Mysuru comes alive with its grandeur Dasara celebrations. The Mysuru Dasara celebrations, marked by various events, end with a royal procession on Vijayadashami day.
Another festival known as the Mysuru Dasara Doll Festival, also referred to as “Bombe Habba” or “Golu,” holds a special place in the cultural tapestry of the region.
The Mysore Dasara Doll or Bombe Dasara Festival traces its origins back to the period of the Vijayanagara Empire, which spanned the 14th to 17th centuries. People believe that the tradition began as a means to preserve and promote arts and handicrafts, which were flourishing under the patronage of the Vijayanagara rulers.
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How Mysore Bombe Dasara is Celebrated
The festival involves arranging dolls, predominantly of gods and goddesses, on a series of tiered steps. These steps, often an odd number ranging from 3 to 11, represent different worlds or cosmos. The topmost tier is usually reserved for figures of gods and goddesses, followed by representations of saints, scholars, and other prominent figures from Hindu mythology.
The practice is not merely about placing dolls on steps but involves creativity and themes. Families may recreate stories from the scriptures, scenes from epics like the Ramayana and Mahabharata, or even daily life vignettes.
In many households, it’s also customary to include the “Marapachi Bombe” – a pair of wooden dolls, traditionally received as a wedding gift to be passed down through generations.
Significance and Social Role
Beyond the religious and historical implications, the Mysuru Dasara Doll Festival also plays a significant social role. Homes are thrown open for neighbors, friends, and family to view the displays and engage in festive singing or music. Children are often engaged in setting up the display, providing them with a unique way to connect with their cultural heritage.
Furthermore, the festival promotes community bonding. Women in particular exchange visits, with the customary practice of exchanging betel leaves, betel nuts, turmeric, and coconut, symbolizing the sharing of goodwill and prosperity.
Economic and Artistic Impact
Local artisans see an annual surge in demand for handcrafted dolls during the Mysuru Dasara bombe festival leading to a boon for regional craftsmanship. The festival, therefore, not only serves as a platform for preserving traditional arts but also provides an economic boost to local artisans. One such group of passionate individuals who have brought modernity to traditional doll marketing is Ramsons Bombe Mane. They have two large-sized retail outlets at strategic locations in Mysuru, where they have stocked some of the best/ rarest hand-crafted dolls kept for sale. Thousand of artisans make and supply dolls to Ramsons.
The Mysuru Dasara Doll Festival, with its rich history and vibrant display, is more than just a festive event. It is a blend of cultural preservation, artistic expression, and community bonding. As the world becomes increasingly global, such traditions play an essential role in grounding communities, fostering understanding, and preserving the rich tapestry of regional cultures.