Come Dussehra, the houses of many Telugu families in this silk city in south Odisha are decorated with dolls and dazzling lights.
Known as the ‘Bommala Kolluv’, the display of dolls is an integral part of the celebration of Dussehra by a section of Telugu people, mainly the Kammas. The community members living in Berhampur also continue this age-old tradition.
NS Bal Krishna Rao of Bank Colony and G V Raghaban at PWD Colony here perform the pujas displaying varieties of dolls — animals, birds, and tribal people — along with different idols were displayed.
"It is our tradition and we display all varieties of dolls for at least five days of the Durga Puja festival every year," said Bal Krishna, a retired employee.
The dolls of various sizes and models are collected from different states for display during the puja.
"We add some new dolls every year," added G. Indira, wife of Raghaban, a government employee. Sree Vidya, a student of B.Pharma, has taken two days to make the arrangement, she said.
"We are celebrating Dussehra with Bommala Kolluv for several years. We tried to give new concept in decoration every year. This year, we tried to spread a message of protection of environment with display of mountains, spring and saints," Krishna said.
People of the nearby areas throng every evening to these houses to witness the Bommala Kolluv.
"The decorative and innovative display of the toys and dolls has improved the artistic skills of the children," added P. Chitti Babu, President of Arya Vasya Sangam, an organisation of Telugu-speaking people in the town.
Kamma or Brahmins in Berhampur earlier celebrated the ‘Bommala Kolluv’ for nine days beginning from Nava Ratri puja.
Gradually, the days of Bommla Kolluv were cut short to five or three days, said Santosh Rout, a resident of Military Line here.
Since children of these families are out of their homes for study or job, they cut short the number of days, added K.Nageswar Rao, a lecturer.